Meet Tony King
What is your name and where are you from?
Tony King, I’m from a small village in Dorset which is a beautiful part of the south coast of England but I’ve been in NYC for 20 yrs so I consider myself a NYer.
You are known as the pioneer in brining the luxury scene to eCommerce. Can you tell us a little about that experience and how it all happened?
Well I was an art director, and got into digital in the late 90’s. When I moved to NYC in 97 most of my circle of friends were working in fashion of luxury. So I started doing digital projects for model agencies, fashion brands etc. One day I got a call from Gucci Group who asked me to come and talk to them about digital and eCommerce, and I ended up as the Design Director of the Gucci Group. It was an amazing role, I got to work with some amazing brands and people - Tom Ford on Gucci and YSL, Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney, Tomas Maier on Bottega Veneta amongst others. I managed to get a budget to try ecommerce for Gucci and we launched it to great success in around 2001.
I then realized that there was a need for an agency to help the entire industry get online in an appropriate manner. I started a company called CreateThe Group in 2003 and along with my partner grew it to a team of over 200 in three offices. I eventually sold my half in 2009 and started King & Partners in 2010.
What is King & Partners and what led you to start it?
K&P is an agency that was started in digital but has now evolved to a full branding, advertising, creative and technology agency. I wanted to create something more creative, and more strategic than create the group and I’m really pleased with what we’ve done so far. I’m 7 years in and it still feels fresh and almost like a start-up in some ways. We work with brands across many categories, not just fashion and luxury, and to me that makes it modern and interesting. We are helping brands tell a story about themselves and their products in many interesting and cool ways. Most of what we do is branding, content and eCommerce - so we have long term partnerships with some really cool brands.
What is Sellect?
So as you just read I’ve been in the world of eCommerce for a long time and I’ve always been very frustrated at the eCommerce platforms and companies. I felt I could design a better piece of software that was more applicable to my work and my clients. I launched Sellect eCommerce platform in 2012. It was a very challenging start, getting brands to trust you with their online revenue is not an easy task. We’ve grown slowly and steadily and now the platform is powering around 20 great brands. I enjoy working on a product, helping shape it based upon the users , and we are constantly innovating and launching new features and technology. I feel like Sellect is the secret sauce to K&P in some ways, it enables us to create better digital experiences for our clients.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Lately it’s been nature. Maybe i’m just getting old but most of the time I’m surrounded by the city and by technology so I find myself gravitating to nature and the outdoors so I have room to think. I think the countryside is good for your soul, its good to slow down for a bit and treat yourself to some time away from a screen. I come up with most of my ideas when I’ve outside of the city, either walking or driving and thinking.
What do you do when you're not at the office?
I spent many years focussed on building both of my agencies where I didn’t get to have much time off or time to myself. So I’ve been catching up on travel, I’m in love with South America, especially Uruguay. I’m very lucky that my co founder at K&P, Inii Kim, is also my partner in life (for ten years now!) so we can go away and still be working to some degree.
I’m also quite active in the car scene so I take part in quite a few road rallies and go to the track up at Monticello Motor Club. Driving has been a passion of my since I was a teenager, my absolute favorite thing to do is take a road trip or a rally over a few days with a good bunch of people.
Great question… and really who knows. I’d love to grow the Sellect side of the business into more a 360 eCommerce offering and actually take over some brand sites. I’d like K&P to grow a little larger and take on some larger more mainstream brands. Personally I want to continue to love what I do every day, I’m incredibly lucky - I LOVE what I do which makes me feel like I haven’t worked a day in my life.