Womenswear brand Day Birger et Mikkelsen’s UK and Irish retail buyer enjoys the variety of her role.
Retail is such a crazy, fast-paced environment, and my week can really vary because I’m normally in the office two days a week, and the rest of the time I’m travelling to our concessions nationwide. However, if I’m in the office then I’ll get up at about 7am to have breakfast – which is normally some tea (very English I know) and some yoghurt.
I like to take my time to wake up, so I’ll check work emails with the TV on in the background and get myself ready. I’m pretty lucky because I have a wardrobe stocked full of Day Birger et Mikkelsen. It’s like being a walking mannequin.
I leave my apartment at 8am to catch the DLR from East India Quay. The commute isn’t too bad and I get to our offices by the canal in Little Venice by 9am. The first thing I do when I get in is run upstairs to my little office and check my emails before I’ve even taken my jacket off. You’d be surprised what can happen in an hour.
If there’s nothing urgent then I’ll make a coffee, catch up with the team, then sit down to go through the sales reports emailed in by our concessions, summarising the previous week’s performance. I then produce my own reports, looking at what’s selling, what’s not, which stores are overstocked, if we need to do any stock-swaps, or if we need to do any reorders. It’s important to react quickly and get product to where it’s needed most.
Buying isn’t just about looking at amazing clothes, day-to-day it’s very analytical. I buy for both the mainline and [diffusion range] 2nd Day, selecting from the full collection at the brand’s headquarters in Denmark twice a year. This involves looking at what sold well last year, by location, how many categories you can fit in, while always considering budgets. There’s a lot of number-crunching, but it’s so satisfying.
We’re like a little bohemian island here, but sometimes I wander along the canal to the more corporate Sheldon Square for lunch, and I have to admit I do have a sweet tooth. During lunch I’ll also check out what the competition is doing online, and look at our press, which can really influence sales.
Being a successful buyer is about knowing what the trends are, what the competition is doing, and listening to feedback. Trends are often regional, and our customer who shops at Brown Thomas in Dublin is completely different from the woman shopping at Liberty in London.
I really love my job and I’m really proud of how the brand has grown since I joined in 2007.
My role is still growing, too, and unlike at other companies where what you do is quite defined, my job is really varied, which I love.
When I’m office-based I normally leave at around 6pm, but it does vary. I’m really trying to be healthy at the moment, so once or twice a week I’ll do bikram yoga.
I tend to go out with friends at the weekend, but I don’t go crazy during the week.
I love books and I’m often reading four at once, depending on my mood. When I go to bed at 11.30pm I find it just helps me to unwind and switch off, and means I’m ready to hit the ground running the next day.
2010 Retail buyer UK/Ireland, Day Birger et Mikkelsen
2009 Retail co-ordinator/retail buying assistant, Day Birger et Mikkelsen
2007 Visual merchandiser, Day Birger et Mikkelsen
Salaries for this position range from £40,000 to £50,000 (estimate provided by Freedom Recruitment)
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