"You wear heels to a client meeting, and you can’t go wearing that… Here’s 30 quid, get some shoes, tights and a cheap dress. Something sensible. And keep the receipt."
My first job in advertising. And I was going to sell my first big campaign to a client. They’d asked to meet the team. But it turns out I didn’t look right.
I hadn’t been to ad college; I’d come from a fashion background. I’d worked for Paul Smith, Westwood, Ted Baker and more, and although they’d had problems with the quality of my output ("Vicki, you can’t draw"), they’d never had a problem with the way I’d presented myself.
That day, I was wearing a black Viv jacket with a sweetheart collar, white shirt, black trousers, loafers. Nice ones – Patrick Cox, I think. I didn’t know the rules. Did they have classes on "presenting to clients"?
Here’s 30 quid, get some shoes, tights and a cheap dress. Something sensible. And keep the receipt
So off I went to Dorothy Perkins. Sure enough, I went to my first client meeting wearing sensible shoes, tan tights and a shift dress. Bemused, uncomfortable and humiliated. I presented my first ever campaign dressed as Susan fucking Boyle.
I may have missed that class at ad school but that day I learned a huge fucking lesson: you get the best out of people if you allow them to be themselves.
Oh, and I had to return the clothes and get the money back the next day. Not the tights – they let me keep those.
Vicki Maguire was a junior creative at Butterfield Day Devito Hockney. She is chief creative officer at Grey London.