Watching product progress from concept to sell-out style gives the buyer for Office-owned Offspring and Poste a buzz.
What does your typical week involve?
It varies but generally Monday is our trading day when we analyse sales from the week before across the product lines. Then, depending on the time of year, I have buying appointments where we view a prospective range or work on product development for brands such as Converse, Vans and Timberland, which design exclusive collections for the Office group. I also work on building up the ranges we sell in store from other brands and attend trend meetings. I do a lot of travelling, in particular to Paris and Milan for meetings with designer showrooms, as well as inspiration trips to Tokyo, New York and Boston.
Which task or meeting are you most looking forward to today?
I’m developing our exclusive collaborations for spring 15 with the likes of Converse, Adidas, Vans, Timberland, Saucony and New Balance, so I’m looking forward to brainstorming with the team and visualising these ideas as line drawings. We then submit these drawings to the brands and await the samples. Once approved by us, we place the orders. We are also in the thick of the buying season so I get to see the exciting new products at a designer level for our brand Poste, as well as sports brands for our other fascia Offspring.
Which task do you wish you could postpone?
I’m lucky enough to travel to some amazing places, but keeping up to date with my travel expenses in the buying season can be a nightmare.
How did you get to where you are today?
I was always into sneakers from a young age so I got a part-time job at the Offspring store in Covent Garden in 2006 during university. While at Offspring, I participated in work experience at Office’s headquarters, helping out in the men’s and sports buying departments. Once I graduated, the position of buying administrative assistant came up. It was a foot in the door. As the company grew, so did my responsibilities. I was working for the Office group sports department and tasked with growing the children’s section, which I did by increasing the number of styles per brand from existing names such as Adidas and Nike, as well as introducing new labels like Toms, Clarks Originals and New Balance. I also started to work on special make-ups (SMUs) across the sports brands, which involved creating exclusive styles and colours for Office. I took over buying for our Poste stores across the group in 2011. Today, my responsibilities are buying for Poste and Offspring stores and putting together designs and colours exclusive to our company.
What has been your career highlight?
Seeing product that you’ve worked on from a conceptual stage being delivered into stores and selling out in a single weekend, like our collaborations with New Balance or Saucony.
If you could change one thing about your career path, what would it be?
I would have liked to have studied a design course as I think it would have broadened my options, but I’m happy that I’ve been able to work my way up and get involved in all aspects of the business.
How do you see your career progressing?
Now that I look after two of our three fascias (the other being Office), I’d like to take Poste and Offspring further by increasing the store base nationwide, perhaps even internationally, and expanding the brands we carry. We have always prided ourselves on bringing new brands to the UK. I’d like to see the growth in Offspring and Poste come to fruition. I still want to develop the design aspect of my role and maybe move into product development. What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow in your footsteps? Don’t be scared to take the plunge into something you really want. If you work hard and put the hours in it will get noticed and your aspirations will be realised. If you could work in another area of fashion, what would it be? I’d have to say design or product development. I would gladly sit using Photoshop and Illustrator all day. Salaries for this type of position range between £40,000 and £55,000 (estimate provided by
2014 Buyer, Offspring and Poste, SMU development
2011 Junior buyer, Office sports department and Poste
2009 Sports and children’s assistant buyer, Office and Offspring
2007 Buying administrative assistant, Office
2006 Customer assistant, Offspring store in Covent Garden
2006 Graduated BA (Hons) Economics & Politics, Westminster University