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Beate Sykes

UK area manager, retail and wholesale, Eileen Fisher UK

What does your job involve?

To ensure the optimal presence of the brand [US classic womenswear retailer Eileen Fisher], the product, our culture, our mission and leadership practices in the London stores. I’m responsible for guiding the UK leadership team in developing the business and customer base. This includes outreach on the sales floor as well as grassroots marketing.

What skills do you need?

To succeed at this type of role an entrepreneurial outlook is essential, as are strong communication skills, an understanding of the brand’s philosophy, product flow, operational standards, marketing and merchandising.

What do you like and dislike about your job?

I like living in London, which has truly been a dream. Professionally I love how I get to meet new people and introduce them to the brand on an almost daily basis. It’s just a shame I live so far from my in-laws, who adore my four-year-old twin girls. 

How did you get to where you are today?

I was introduced to Eileen Fisher 14 years ago, while working for Macy’s in the US. As the company grew new roles opened up and eventually I accepted a position as the West Coast merchandise co-ordinator, enabling me to live out a dream role I’d wanted for years. Five years later our first California store was due to open.

I switched roles to explore the retail side of the business, and moved from wholesale to become our first retail store manager in California. Eileen Fisher encourages and supports your passions. While overseeing my first store in San Francisco, I was given the chance to manage another. Not long after that I became the San Francisco area manager, overseeing a total of four stores. Our company had been exploring London for several years, and although I’d only been in my San Francisco area managerial role for a few months I couldn’t help but be excited by the London expansion. With the support of family and friends I felt I had to apply and was luckily given the opportunity. I feel so fortunate to be living this new chapter in my life in London, so close to my birth country of Poland. 

What is your proudest career achievement to date?

Having the opportunity to be the area manager for the UK and establishing the brand’s growth internationally.

What is your ambition?

To help build brand awareness in the UK. I feel dedicated to Eileen Fisher for helping my dreams come true.

How do you intend to get there?

With the support of my family, though in all honesty I feel I’m already living out my ambitions.

What three words sum you up?

Determined, faithful and appreciative.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?

Never look back at your mistakes but keep moving forward. You can plan your life in any direction you wish, but it’s your own destiny that will get you to where you want to be. Last but not least, practice ‘listening’, as it will get you further than you ever imagined possible. 

CV

2011       Area manager, London, Eileen Fisher UK

2010       Area manager, San Francisco, Eileen Fisher

2010       Store manager, San Francisco and Mill Valley, Eileen Fisher

2006       Store manager, San Francisco, Eileen Fisher

2003       Store manager, Palo Alto, Eileen Fisher

1998       West coast merchandise co-ordinator, Eileen Fisher

1992       Sales specialist, Macy’s West

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