Five Minutes with ….. James Donkin, Head of Retail & Operations, Luca Faloni

The Harley Street Medical Area is made up of an array of fantastic businesses, organisations and practices. Each month, we spend some time getting to know one of the people that call Harley Street home. We were delighted to speak with James, please read below for our "five minutes with …." feature.

Can you tell us a little bit about your work at Luca Faloni?

Luca Faloni was established in 2014 as an online Italian menswear brand. We focus on creating luxury staples using only the finest textiles. In 2018 the brand launched its first retail store in Marylebone High Street and has since then, opened other stores in St. James’s, New York City and Stockholm. I am responsible for each of the stores and their teams as well as the operations of our e-commerce.

Describe your average day

Working with a number of teams in different time zones, across different areas of the business offers me a great deal of variation in my workday. They are often filled with interactions with team members from the office, stores and warehouses, and I’m frequently in conversation with our clients gathering feedback to see what they like about our products and service and how we can continue to improve. When the London stores are open it’s not unusual for me to visit once or twice a week to catch up with the teams and see how things are going.

How did you get to where you are today?

I have mostly worked in luxury fashion and contemporary art for the past 12 years in Australia and London. I’ve always had a great appreciation for craftsmanship, quality and fine materials so it is a very natural fit for me to be able to do what I do and reflect what the brand offers. In the past I have worked with some of the best names in luxury fashion but working for a brand with a truly unique quality statement is special.

How has Covid-19 impacted your organisation?

We are fortunate that we are a digitally native brand and our online stores have remained in constant operation throughout the pandemic. Of course, our retail stores in London have, like other brands, closed during the lockdown periods but we have used the time to reassess how we work, what we offer and how we can best connect and engage with our clients. We continue to expand our collection with new designs and are grateful for our team members who have contributed their work, energy and effort, especially over the past 12 months.

What do you like most about being based on Marylebone High Street?

Marylebone High Street is the location of our first store and the essence of the area nicely reflects our brand’s aesthetic, so it was a natural choice for us to open there. Marylebone High Street is unique because it offers a village feel but with visitors from all over the world who come for the shops, restaurants, hotels and medical practices. Our team in-store enjoy receiving visitors who are out for the day shopping, are in London for business or because they are receiving treatment on Harley Street- it’s always so varied.

What are your thoughts on the future of the Harley Street Area?

From what I know of HSMAP’s plans for the area, I am keen to see them succeed. There is much potential for them to create more awareness and unity for the Harley Street and High Street locals.

How does the Harley Street Medical Area Partnership support your business?

The Partnership offers another way for us to connect with businesses in the area, whether that be for partnerships or events. The more active the partnership, the greater and more attractive the area will become.

How could a visitor to the area spend their time here?

There are many wonderful restaurants, stores, bars and parks in the area. Whether you are visiting for business or leisure there is much to enjoy.

Any particular recommendations or hidden gems?

I would suggest starting with a coffee at Daylesford Organic on Blandford Street, wandering up the High street, enjoying the architecture, before popping in to experience the linen and cashmere collections at Luca Faloni. Going further up the Street I would recommend a pit-stop at Daunt Books before picking up some wine and cheese from La Fromagerie, then finishing up admiring the furniture by Paulo Mendes da Rocha in the Conran Store.

If you could describe the Harley Street area in three words, what would they be? 

Quaint, characterful, community.