Retail Week unveils its Digital Leaders 2017 list this afternoon. We take a look at those with the potential to make an impression over the next 12 months.

Entrepreneurs have a prominent role in the Digital Leaders’ ones to watch list. Qasim Akhlaq, founder of footwear etailer Public Desire, makes the cut following its astronomic growth over the past three years.

The fast-fashion retailer’s primary customer is a 16- to 25-year-old female, to whom it aims to appeal with competitive pricing and a savvy use of social media.

The retailer has tapped into the popularity of social media platforms to drive sales – its Instagram account has more than one million followers.

Another entrepreneur using social to build his business is In The Style founder Adam Frisby. In The Style combines fast fashion, social media and celebrity, and clothing collaborations with stars including Geordie Shore’s Charlotte Crosby and Made In Chelsea’s Binky Felstead are heavily pushed to their social media following.

Frisby has built a £30m business in just a few years through this model and this May attracted investment from private equity firm Livingbridge.

Jas Bagniewski, co-founder and chief executive of mattress etailer Eve, has also attracted investment into his business. Eve listed on Aim with a valuation of £140m earlier this year.

Eve is one of a slew of direct-to-consumer mattress firms that are disrupting the market for traditional bed retailers. Bagniewski, who previously launched Zalando in the UK, founded Eve in February 2015 and achieved £12m in sales in 2016.

The retailer, which is loss-making, is building its brand awareness and has pop-up concessions at stores including Debenhams, Fenwick and Next. Bagniewski is also focusing on growing the brand in Europe.

See the full ones to watch list below:

NameJob titleCompany
Qasim Akhlaq Managing director Public Desire
Luke Jensen Chief executive Ocado Smart Platform
Adam Frisby Founder In The Style
Josie Cartridge Customer director River Island
Ma Huateng Chairman Tencent
Ben Francis Founder Gymshark
Ankur Shah Founder Mahabis
Jas Bagniewski Chief executive Eve
Maddie Melson Chief customer officer Amara
Lucy Ward Creative Brand Director Trouva

The Digital Leaders 2017 list, which ranks the most influential people in online retail, will be revealed this afternoon at 5.30pm. Visit to find out who has made the cut.

Digital Leaders 2017: The 50 most influential people in etail