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Drapers 30 under 30 2018: Clare Nesbitt, CEO, Footasylum

Age: 30 

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What I’ve learned: “Definitely don’t burn bridges. And don’t expect results without blood, sweat and tears.”

At just 30 years old, Nesbitt is at the helm of trend-focused footwear and clothing retailer Footasylum. She was born into retail royalty – her father David Makin started the business in 2005 after previously co-founding JD Sports, in 1981. Fellow JD Sports founder John Wardle also joined Footasylum in 2008.

Under Nesbitt’s stewardship, Footasylum was admitted to the London Stock Exchange’s Aim last November and was valued at £171m, which she describes as a career highlight. Footasylum also has ambitious plans to open eight to 10 new stores a year, as well as expanding its women’s and kids’ clothing and footwear ranges.

Nesbitt started her career at Footasylum after graduating from the University of Manchester in 2009, when then-chief executive Wardle (now executive chairman) offered her a role as his assistant. She explains there was an ‘unspoken agreement’ that she would eventually replace him as chief executive when the time was right, becoming deputy CEO in 2012 and taking the reins as CEO in 2015.

Career path:

2015: CEO, Footasylum

2012: Deputy CEO, Footasylum

2010: Assistant to the CEO, Footasylum



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