BIO: Diane Richardson

Diane is a seasoned apparel product strategist and one of the original founders of SSEAMS, launched at the beginning of 2019, who recognised an opportunity to build a multidisciplinary apparel specialist team to support players in the apparel industry.

DR: “At this time, pre-pandemic, many brand startups were emerging with relative ease. The industry to this day, has little regulatory control and experienced an influx of founders launching branded products, gaining a foothold in the marketplace, mainly driven by the growth of digital E-commerce. However, those same brands are young, and by the time years 3 to 5 arrive, can be challenged by an underdeveloped infrastructure and Diane saw the opportunity to build teams as an extension to the brand to support all corners of the product creation process. SSEAMS also counts established industry players in their portfolio.

The SSEAMS founding team came together in 2020, including Ruth Kelly, Matthew Abbott and Julian Ritchie with an aim to ‘do right‘ for this industry and put a support system in place to collaborate with key partners who were at a pinnacle stage of change and/or growth. (Read the rest of the teams bio’s and upcoming features via the In Residence section)

Prior to this, Diane had a 20 year in-house career in product management working across international retail, wholesale and licensing. Known for strong business acumen, she understands the balancing act of the art and science surrounding market requirements, product creation and ‘go to market’ activity. That experience equipped her to set up independently and consult with brand owners navigating their early years success (and failures) and implemented strategies to get them back on the right path, or supported them with their scale up programmes.

I was constantly asked by the startup brand clients, what happens next in the process after defining the brand strategy? I recognised then that no matter what the size of the brand was, a multidisciplinary team was required for; raw materials, product design, development and sourcing & planning. Fundamentals to execute the product strategy may be, but highly complex and skilled implementation not to be defined by, ‘it’s only a t-shirt…”.

Diane richardson

DR: “Starting work in the industry fresh out of Glasgow Caledonian University in 1995, I have seen huge changes within the industry. In theory, I stay up to date with who the players are but even I can’t keep up which begs the question, is there space for all of those apparel brands to exist in the marketplace?” We shall wait and see but one thing I am passionate about is building brands for the long term. I’ve grown up appreciating the heritage of product companies who over time came into their own right to be named a brand. That recipe for success is something I study and brand & product life cycles intrigue me.”

Our aim at SSEAMS is to work collaboratively and bring brand, maker & mill closer together like never before.

Diane Richardson, Co-Founder of SSEAMS

Diane moved from London back to Scotland 7 years ago and now champions onshore Scottish garment manufacturing. “It’s time for the makers and mills to take centre stage and add the science part back into the process. It calls for smart action to ensure the mills are speaking to the makers and vice versa if we wish to fully address environmental impact.”

Aside from consulting work, Diane is Co-Editor of SSEAMS magazine and works alongside Robin Clementson, a seasoned journalist who also works in brand communications. The magazine is a place to celebrate all the good things going on in the industry and put a face to the talented people behind the scenes.

Past experience: MUJI, Nike, Timberland

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