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It was back in 2006 that I first met Karen. Back then I’d joined LK Bennett from John Lewis and was Head of Merchandising before becoming B&M Director.

Karen was the Head of Technical, covering everything within the technical and production part of the creative process. Karen was a great Head of and as well as the usual day to day dramas (there were always dramas with Design and Buying!) she launched a variety of projects to improve the process as well as the garments. One in particular I remember was a sizing project. Karen decided (rightly) we needed to get a better fit and a consistent fit, plus to benchmark where our sizing was in comparison to the competition. So..her and her team visited multiple brands – trying things on and secretly measuring in changing rooms. We then had every measurement of all our competitors’ garments and made decisions about the LK Bennett fit and ensured consistency now we had a template to work from.

Karen in a true professional with a great sense of humour. I remember the day she bought her Lady title…And wrote about a life experience for a women’s magazine. A day with Karen is never a dull day.

Wherever I go I call on Karen for her services and her team and the group of people she has on her books. She provides a first class service and only sends some people she knows I would work well with. The brands have been varied – Animal surf wear to Thomas Pink menswear, as well as womeswear.

Karen has been through a lot personally but kept on going throughout gruelling treatments whilst setting up a support service for women going through similar treatments. She had so many questions about what would happen to her physically as well as mentally and now has published a set of questions and answers, as well as recommendations. A truly amazing thing to do whilst going through treatments and continuing to run her business with her supportive husband. Karen is truly inspirational

I can’t rate Karen highly enough and hope to keep working with her wherever I end up…

Erica Vilkauls