Quentin Griffiths - Co-founder, Achica.com and Asos.com

What was your first job in retailing?

I was a part-time store assistant at Debenhams in Bournemouth.

Which retail company do you admire most and why?

Gilt, which is an online private member sales company set up by Kevin Ryan, the ex-chief executive of DoubleClick. Ryan has propelled the business forward internationally while still retaining the quality of customer experience.

What is the trait you least like in yourself and why?

Impatience. I can get frustrated if things don’t happen quickly.

Who have you learnt most from in your retail career?

In the early days of Asos I learned a lot from Amazon. On the high street, I admire Sir Philip Green’s entrepreneurial approach to retailing.

What advice would you give someone starting out in retail?

Understand your customer, who he/she is and give them what you think they want. You can find this out by surveying and hiring talented buyers who understand the customers.

What keeps you awake at night?


What job would you have done if you hadn’t become a retailer?

Creative marketing or something entrepreneurial.

What’s the most satisfying part of your job?

It is building something different from scratch. For me, the most challenging time for a business is proof of concept, particularly in an area that’s not been proven before. So identifying a differentiated retail proposition and making it happen is very satisfying.

What’s your proudest achievement?

In business, setting up Asos and Achica. Both businesses were new concepts and both seem to be working very well, although at different stages of development. Personal achievements are my three boys who I am very proud of.

What’s your favourite shop and why?

Selfridges. It’s a great retail experience.

What was your last purchase?

An iPad 2.