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A day in the life of Gemma Bratt

Working with the biggest names in action sportswear inspired Bench’s international marketing manager to aim high.

Gemma Bratt

Gemma Bratt

What does a typical week involve?
No two days are alike here. This week I’m helping to promote the autumn 14 Bench Multipurpose City Clothing range and planning the autumn 15 product launch. I speak to international teams in countries like France, Spain, Italy, Finland and Russia to ensure they understand the global marketing strategy and how to implement it locally. I also liaise with e-content manager Belinda Hanks to ensure all brand activities are communicated across our online platforms, such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

What are you most looking forward to?
Bench has overhauled its product offering and spent time redesigning collections to focus on functional design from autumn 14 onwards. We also unveiled autumn 14 product through a global campaign.

Which tasks do you wish you could postpone?
All of them! In marketing you always wish you had more time. As ideas progress there are ways in which you can add to projects and develop them further. But you are always in a battle against time.

How did you get to where you are today?
I studied fashion promotion at the University of Central Lancashire. It was a four-year sandwich course with the third year working in industry. During my course I had the opportunity to work as marketing assistant at women’s footwear retailer Moda in Pelle’s headquarters in Leeds and then as a PR executive for high-end womenswear label Renfrew Collection in New York. I loved living in New York. Working at a small company also allowed me an insight into the whole business.

My first job after graduating was as UK PR and marketing co-ordinator at sportswear distributor A4 Distribution, where I worked with Sole Technology, a global leader in authentic action sports footwear and apparel brands, looking after its Etnies, Etnies Plus, éS, Emerica, Altamont and ThirtyTwo brands, as well as Nikita, APO Snowboards and Alprausch.

When A4 Distribution was bought by Sole Technology in 2006, I was made responsible for all aspects of UK marketing for Sole Technology.

I’ve been very lucky to work with some of the biggest names in action sports, such as professional skateboarders Lee Dainton, Ed Templeton and Arto Saari. Surrounding yourself with creative and dynamic people is the key to a happy and successful working life. In 2012, I became international marketing co-ordinator at Bench, moving up two years later to international marketing manager.

What has been your career highlight?
Working at Bench. We have a close-knit team of eight that discusses everything from new campaign photo shoots to product launches and press days to the more exciting world of budgets. Everyone plays their own role, but we also work collaboratively on a daily basis, which is rare for a company this size.

Who is your mentor?
A wonderful man called Allan Green, owner of A4 Distribution. He really cared about the people he worked with, always making sure everyone was happy and sufficiently challenged. He believed work should be a fun and supportive environment.

What was the best piece of advice he gave you?
Make sure you’re happy with what you do and success will follow. Your ambition in life should be to be happy. Nothing else matters.

How do you see your career progressing?
Everyone should aim to work at least one level above their current role. I’m always planning to get ahead and working towards that goal.

What advice would you give someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Work hard and network as much as possible. Do as much work experience as you can and get a feel for what market you would like to go into. And stay positive. It might take a while to get the job you want, but be persistent and open to new opportunities.

If you could work in another area of fashion, what would it be?
Design and product development interests me. I hope to be involved in developing brand collaborations at Bench in future.


2014 International marketing manager, Bench
2012 International marketing co-ordinator, Bench
2007 UK marketing and PR co-ordinator, Sole Technology
2003 PR and marketing co-ordinator, A4 Distribution
2001 PR executive/graphic designer, Renfrew Collection, New York (while studying)
2000 Marketing assistant, Moda in Pelle (while studying)
2001 BA (Hons) Fashion Promotion, University of Central Lancashire

  • Salaries for this role range from £45,000 to £50,000 (estimate by Fashion & Retail Personnel)

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