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Fashion

Gemma Noble Tayroc Founder

Written by: Michael Daks

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An Interview with Tayroc owner Gemma Noble By Michael Daks

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Daks: Hi Gemma! I am really excited to do this interview even if it is socially distanced via a video link. Since I first came across your brand, and from looking at your website, social media output, and your blog, you really seem to represent the ethically forward-thinking and ecologically aware company that we are looking to promote at Rare Magazine. Plus, I really like your watches.
Noble: Thanks, Michael! It’s really nice to meet you, even though I am a little bit nervous. I don’t know why, because I could talk about Tayroc until the cows come home.
Daks: Well, why don’t we start at the beginning, because I am always curious about people’s career paths. You studied at Nottingham Trent University?
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Noble: Yes, I did, but I didn’t stay long. I went off to do fashion marketing and visual communication at University, but I was very frustrated and felt that I wanted to get on and get into a head office and do the kind of things that we had been talking about at Uni. So, I packed up the Peugeot 206, drove home, and emptied it on my parents’ drive. They knew nothing about me leaving until they came out and saw my clutter on their driveway. They were furious. So then, I was on a mission to prove everybody wrong.

Two weeks later I started working for the John Lewis website styling team based in Sloane Square in Chelsea. I was the website coordinator, so I was folding a hundred and fifty scarfs ready for them to be photographed, picking up props for shoots, etcetera. I skipped around a few different jobs until I settled at a Danish fashion company called Bestseller as a visual merchandiser.
Daks: I don’t know them, but my girlfriend is Swedish so she knows all the Scandinavian brands.  
Noble: Yes, she will, they are an absolute beast. I was going back and forth to Denmark to do the buying and selling and then I moved to Superdry. I wanted to be a key account manager, but there were already a lot of talented people at Bestseller who had been there for longer than me and I wasn’t getting the promotion that I wanted. I was getting a bit impatient. A headhunter got in touch and asked if I wanted to move to Superdry for a key account role, and the day I got the job I was told by the Danish company that I wasn’t ready for key accounts.
Daks: Ha-ha! I’ll show you!
Noble: Yes! Within three months I was international Sales Manager for Superdry, managing a £26 million budget. I was winging it to be honest, at the beginning, but I loved it. Then I moved to Juicy Couture after Superdry.
Daks: Excellent. And you’ve recently bought Tayroc, but before that, you had another company, which was your own business consultancy?
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Noble: It’s called LID Project, which I still run, with my partner Danny. It’s a sales and business development agency. I met Dan back in 2014 when I was at Juicy and he was running the LID Project as an independent consultant and specializing in the events world. I joined him, except I was doing the same thing for fashion and retail. That’s how we came to know Tayroc. They were one of our clients.
Daks: So what was it about Tayroc that made you think that this is the next step in your career?
Noble: Tayroc was set up by two sets of brothers with two different management styles.
Daks: I think I can see where this is going.
Noble: Two of the brothers left, and then the other brothers decided they wanted to do something else. So in January 2020, they asked us if we could help them find a buyer. We had a bit of a soft spot for the brand, and after looking at the figures, we said, why don’t we have a go at this ourselves? So now LID Projects owns the majority shareholding in Tayroc.
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Daks: So that brings us nicely on to talk about Tayroc the brand. You have only been working on the company for a short period of time, but it looks like there are already a lot of new things happening. It was a watch company originally, but you are already bringing a lot of new products onto the market.
Noble: Yes, they had predominantly sold watches, menswear styles, although women were buying them as well. We obviously established that there was an opportunity to expand in the women’s watch market, so we are bringing new designs out in Spring 2021. We are also keen to launch Tayroc as a lifestyle brand so we just brought out a range of fragrances in October and we are also launching a range of jewelry, facemasks, leather goods, and sunglasses.
Daks: Did you employ a professional nose for the fragrances?
Noble: Well, I have no experience at all with that, but again through LID Projects we had been in contact with someone who has connections with two different perfume companies, Quintessence and The Perfume Studio. I sent them a mood board. We wanted some Middle-Eastern inspiration, and we wanted them to be unisex, a rich woody earthy kind of feel. They sent us some samples and we whittled it down to our favourite six. Quintessence came up with the original oils and then those were sent off to The Perfume Studio to be blended with water and alcohol. Then we designed all the packaging ourselves.
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Daks: I am always interested in the packaging of products and how they are designed and marketed. My favourite designer is Fabien Baron who I met when he was the Art Director on Italian Vogue in the late 1980s. He designed the first iconic unisex fragrance bottle and the advertising campaign for Calvin Klein’s CK One, which turned twenty-five last year. At its peak, it sold twenty bottles a minute, and even now it is still at fifteen.
Noble: I can’t take the credit for the design of my packaging, which was done by my brother Stuart. He went to Bournemouth Arts University and he did finish his degree.
Daks: I was really interested in reading on your blog about the company going plastic-free, donating to environmental charities, your student ambassador program, and you even gave away free sessions with councilors during mental health week, which fell right in the middle of lockdown.
Noble: Yes, in terms of the fragrance for instance we are now completely plastic-free. We are even trying to get the customs forms put into paper envelopes instead of the clear plastic sheaths. We spoke to all our suppliers when they sent us samples in plastic—what is your alternative to this?—Now we have everything wrapped in tissue paper and scrunched up paper to fill the voids.
Daks: I really applaud that! If everybody made a little bit of a difference, then it would add up to a big difference! I also really liked your summer initiative ‘DO GOOD AND DONATE’.
Noble: We set this up in August and asked our team to nominate charities that meant something to them, and then we made a selection from those to donate to each quarter.
Daks: Which I applaud because a lot of charities are really struggling right now due to the pandemic and lack of contributions and the charity shops being closed and governments cutting back on donations. And you also have a student ambassador program?
Noble: This is a bit of a personal thing for me, given my background with leaving University early. I was super lucky to land in the right places, and I worked hard once I got those opportunities. But I am really grateful for people making introductions for me. But most universities don’t teach how to network. How can you not? Tayroc has such a massive audience and we know that that audience is quite young, eighteen to twenty-four-year olds internationally, so we are launching a program to give students real-life work experiences and support. Obviously, under normal circumstances, we could invite students to come to the office, but we can do this virtually on calls, and I put time aside to answer their questions.
Daks: That’s great Gemma. I am really looking forward to seeing your new ranges and how you develop and expand the company in 2021. I was talking to my brother earlier today and he said something that I completely agree with and I think is reflected in your brand—You need to have an emotional attachment with your customer for it to be successful. I think that really comes across when I look at your brand. There is a personality that comes across from you and from Danny. I can see that you really care about your customers, and they love the brand.
Gemma Noble  
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