Name: Philip Rooke
Was: Director at Tesco.com
Now: CEO of Spreadshirt
Career background: Before joining Spreadshirt - the personalised T-shirt design website - in 2009 as VP for marketing and product management, Rooke spent 12 years in new media and e-commerce. His roles included COO & EU MD of Skinstore.com, director at Tesco.com, CEO of iVillage UK, and MD of Carlton Online. He began his career in advertising sales at The Guardian and the National Magazine/Hearst UK portfolio of women’s magazines. Rooke became Spreadshirt CEO in May 2011.
What did you take from your four years at Tesco?“At Tesco the work/life balance is: Tesco, Tesco and Tesco. Everybody works at an incredible level to get things done. At Tesco, in an average quarter you do more than most companies do in a year. Everyone I’ve spoken to who has left Tesco say they feel they are running at two-thirds ‘Tesco-speed’ at their new companies. You learn to be completely customer-orientated.”
So what are you doing now? “Spreadshirt has become the leading platform in the customisable clothing industry. We now market in 17 countries and nine languages, with factories in the US and EU. This year we will be up some 60% year-on-year. We will be a €67m company by the end of this year - in 2009 we were €28m. I have just been to our new factory on the east coast of America and then I’m off to Las Vegas to open another factory that will service the west coast of America, Latin America and Asia. Our business is 50:50 business-to-consumer and business-to-business.”
Do you still dabble in grocery? “We have in the pipeline a couple of deals with supermarkets. In the US we are doing a campaign with Dr Pepper and we are doing a similar thing with Newcastle Brown ale, too.”