Dune International’s senior assistant buyer on the challenge of selling footwear in different countries.
My day begins at 7am when my radio alarm gets me up. That’s followed by a mad Dash around the house getting ready, grabbing a cereal bar for breakfast and deciding what to wear, which is normally a mixture of Topshop, American Apparel and shoes from Bertie, Dune or Pied A Terre.
I live in Kensal Rise and every morning I jump on the tube at Kensal Green just before 8am, getting off at Warwick Avenue where, if the weather is nice, I’ll walk down the canal at Little Venice to our offices on Edgware Road.
I grab a mocha from the cafe here when I get to work at 8.45am to kick-start the day, before checking my emails and catching up with my team. Four people report directly to me, including an assistant buyer, buyer’s assistant and admin, and we’re part of a wider team of seven. We work with suppliers in Italy, Spain, Brazil, India and the Far East, so a lot of my work is done via email or Skype, liaising with suppliers, placing orders and agreeing terms. I select the product for our 27 franchise stores internationally, in Russia and Dubai, working very closely with our franchise partners there.
I buy 75% from the UK range, then tailor the remaining 25% to the individual needs of those markets, working very closely with our in-house design team and our suppliers on product development.
Those markets are very different from each other. If I’m buying for an autumn range in Russia, then I have to keep in mind that it can be very cold with temperatures below 30°C, so customers there want fur-lined boots in the range.
Whereas Dubai can still be sunny during the same period, so the women there want open court shoes, sandals and summery, dressy shoes. We also look at key international events in those markets too – such as Eid in Dubai and International Women’s Day in Russia – and make sure we have the right product for those occasions.
I take a 20-minute lunch, either catching up with the team or talking about trading.
I’m in communication with the UK buying team and the different departments here to ensure I know exactly what’s happening.
The challenge in buying for international is that I can’t just pop down to the stores to see what’s selling, and I only get out to visit them once or twice a season. So we rely on feedback from our franchise partners, and I keep an eye on the local fashion magazines.
It’s exciting when a product you’ve developed sells well. Recently, a dressy flat sandal with a chunky jewel trim in a metallic rose gold snake that I worked on has been popular in the Middle East, so that was a good feeling.
I love working on the international side of the business, which is a massive growth area for Dune. In the four years since I started I’ve seen the international team grow from five to 13. Overseas now accounts for approximately 15% of the business, and we are now looking at markets such as India.
I finish work at 6.30pm and normally go to yoga before heading home, where two out of my three housemates work in the industry, so fashion is never far off the agenda.
2007 Senior assistant buyer, Dune International
2004 Buyer’s assistant, Moda In Pelle
2003 Trainee assistant merchandiser, Stylo
2003 Graduated with BA (Hons) Retail Management (with Fashion), Merchandising and Buying Operations