Sister Jane’s operations director found that joining early in the womenswear label’s development was a rewarding experience.
What does your typical week involve?
In this role there is no typical week. We are going through a fast-paced period of growth. I’ve recently been promoted to operations director, which means I’m responsible for managing retail operations, the fulfilment of wholesale orders, supply chain and logistics. I’m responsible for managing the team of eight.
Sister Jane [a vintage-inspired womenswear brand whose stockists include Topshop.com and Asos, and which also has a store on Portobello Road, Notting Hill] launches a new capsule collection every six weeks of mainly dresses, blouses, tops, jackets, shorts and skirts. We work on a very fast time to market. Our sales campaigns only last two weeks, and then four to five weeks later we deliver to stores worldwide.
Part of my role involves managing our suppliers and liaising with wholesale accounts to ensure they receive the drops in time. It involves a lot of logistics. We work with large retailers such as Topshop, Urban Outfitters and Asos, in addition to high-profile independent stores such as Le 66 in Paris or Folli Follie [which has six stores] in Italy. I spend a lot of time listening to our customers’ feedback, tracking sales and liaising with the merchandising team, so they are always aware of what lines we are working on.
What event are you most looking forward to today?
The team from Topshop is coming to see our new capsule autumn 14 Shadow Poetry collection. The range features metallics, jacquards and delicate lace details. Standout styles include duster coats, sequin bomber jackets and dresses with embellishment. Wholesale prices range from £15 to £25 for tops and £25 to £35 for dresses. These meetings are fun as there is genuine passion for the product, and it is always refreshing to hear their opinions.
How did you get to where you are today?
After I finished studying I got a job at the Vanessa Bruno concession in Le Bon Marché department store. I worked my way up and was asked to manage Vanessa Bruno’s first London store.
In April 2011, I met a former colleague who had just joined Sister Jane as sales manager and spoke passionately about this young brand. When I met the founders Enrico Ziglio and Beatriz Deza I was inspired by their story and personality. I initially joined as a retail manager. My role grew quite rapidly as the company quickly expanded.
What has been your career highlight?
Joining Sister Jane in 2011 when the company was so new, having only launched at the beginning of that year, has been an exciting and rewarding experience. There are many ‘firsts’ that I look back on fondly, such as the first wholesale order at Asos, the first time I saw our collection sold in Urban Outfitters in the US and, with a bit of national pride, the first time we were stocked in Paris at So We Are.
Who is your mentor?
One of my mentors is Enrico Ziglio, from whom I’ve learned a lot through his energy and determination.
What’s the best piece of advice he’s given you?
Don’t take no for an answer. It’s not about being pushy, but rather the need to always think outside the box. There is always a solution and
you will only find it if you don’t stop looking.
How do you see your career progressing?
My career depends on Sister Jane’s future. I have more responsibilities today, because the business has been growing rapidly and I joined early. I’m looking forward to helping the brand grow further.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Take advantage of all experiences and do not ignore opportunities, even if they are different from what you expected. Always work hard, keep your cool and confidence, and take ownership of your mistakes - people will respect you for that and trust you. Finally, be curious but keep sight of what’s happening around you and be on top of everything.
If you could work in another area of fashion, what would it be?
I would love to work as an illustrator. Keeping your creative side alive is an asset in every job, especially in my position.
- Salaries for this type of position range from £25,000 to £40,000 (estimate by Success Appointments)
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