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A day in the life - Stephen Parker

Kickers UK’s head of sales starts with a coffee before tackling a packed schedule of meetings and visits.

I’m up at 6am to commute in from my home in Horsham, West Sussex, to the Pentland office in Finchley, north London, three days a week [Kickers UK is owned by Pentland Brands], and fortunately there is always a seat on the train so I work through the bulk of my emails on the way in. I’m usually in the office by 8.45am, at which point I go visit Lesley, who is in charge of coffee. He’s a very important man as he knows what drinks everyone likes first thing in the morning.

That coffee sets me up for the day and then I like to get stuck into the figures - what have we shipped this month, where we are year on year, where we are against this year’s target, and how this is affecting overall business.

I spend my days in a variety of strategic meetings, but I try to use my time as effectively as possible. Often I’ll be involved in discussing future projects for Kickers, or new sales launches, making sure we have our message right.

I meet with the other heads of departments regularly, including the marketing, finance and product teams, to ensure we are all doing the best we can for our own teams and each other. I also get involved in the collaborations, which have recently included teaming up with designer Christopher Shannon, and an exclusive link-up with [York premium] indie Coggles to reintroduce the original 1969 Legend Kickers boot. I used to work in the beer industry and it was these kinds of exciting projects which made me want to be involved with fashion.

We have a great canteen for lunch, and I try to make the most of its good quality, healthy food.

I often take my break with another team member so I can discuss how they are getting on and offer my support.

In the afternoon I’ll have one-on-ones with different people; for example I meet with our managing director Duncan Adams once a week. He has created such a great culture here which has resulted in the brand moving forward and growing in sales at a fantastic rate. I also like to visit the showroom in the afternoon, and check out the product and meet the customers - I believe in leading from the front.

I spend a lot of time going out to meet our customers across the UK and Republic of Ireland. Sales are the cutting edge of our business and I love to be client-facing. It puts you at the forefront of what’s happening, and it’s so important to listen to the customers as they are the ones who really know what’s going on out there. I also like to make sure I visit the retail in whatever city I’m in, usually for half a day, to see what competitor brands might be doing - you pick up insightful information from doing that. You should never be satisfied or rest on your laurels in our economic climate, and I try to pass that attitude on to my team.

When I’m in the office I aim to finish by 6pm. I’ve recently moved out of central London, where I’d lived for 13 years, and have found a local squash court where I play two to three times a week.

  • Salaries for this position usually command in excess of £100,000, subject to performance (estimate provided by Michael Page)


2012 Head of sales, Kickers UK
2008 Senior national account manager, Levi Strauss
2008 Sponsorship and brand relations director, Fabric nightclub
2001 Various account manager roles at drinks firm Anheuser-Busch InBev
1999 Graduate sales development executive, Anheuser-Busch InBev

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