Merchandising manager, Jacques Vert Group.
A background in maths, coupled with a love of fashion, meant merchandising was the perfect route for Kelly Varenkesh. Graduating from Durham University in 2009, Varenkesh joined Jaeger as an allocator in October 2009. Gaining exposure to senior management early in her career helped her learn quicker, progressing to junior merchandiser on accessories within 18 months.
Eager to experience life at another retailer, in 2011 Varenkesh moved to the Jacques Vert Group as assistant merchandiser on contemporary womenswear brand Planet, before being promoted five months later to junior merchandiser for petite range Precis Petite.
“For the first time I felt I was really trading my own department,” Varenkesh recalls. “To work across a whole brand is a really great experience as you get involved in the entire range and you feel that you’re building something complete.”
Following the merger with Irisa Group in 2012, Varenkesh became merchandising manager on both Precis Petite and Kaliko in May 2013. During the 2012-13 financial year, Varenkesh and the Precis Petite team delivered the brand’s highest-ever cash sales, up 6% year on year and up 9% in margin.
Excellent people and leadership qualities, combined with technical ability, set Kelly apart, says Jacques Vert Group merchandising director Mike Halliday: “Kelly balances dynamism and technical expertise with an incredible maturity and a fantastic work ethic. She works at pace and always delivers, while at the same time manages to inspire, nurture and fully support her team.”