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A day in the life of Holly Lawton

Following her instincts led Boohoo.com’s user experience manager from an embroidery degree into ecommerce.

Holly Lawton

Holly Lawton

What does your diary look like today?
No day is the same. Today I’ll review changes in web development with my team and feed back to the IT department. We make regular changes to the site content to present our latest trends and promotions. Recent changes include turning our site from black to white, introducing a fixed masthead and updating the mobile site.

The most important thing is to be customer-focused and provide a wonderful shopping experience. We achieve this through a variety of methods including customer research, staying up to date with industry research and best practice, as well as carrying out tests to see how changes to the site content and design affect performance.

Which task are you most looking forward to?
Looking at the key metrics and performance of the sites over the last week and reviewing the results from usability and on-site testing. It is interesting to see how customers interact with the site as that informs any improvements that need to be made, and highlights areas for further research.

Which task do you wish you could postpone?
Administrative tasks - such as completing the weekly time sheet for the department, raising purchase orders and checking invoices. I’m so busy at the moment, it’s just another thing to do.

How did you get to where you are today?
I followed an unusual path. I did an art foundation course and three-year BA in embroidery. I then began freelancing in 2009 for a studio called Johnson Cheyne in London, creating surface pattern designs for stationery and interiors.

However, I missed working in a team, so in 2010 I moved to Manchester-based Ministry of Craft, which runs creative and craft courses. I worked there for a year, updating the website, managing bookings, contributing to social media and creating customer feedback surveys. That was my first experience in ecommerce.

I then applied for a publishing role at Boohoo.com, but they thought I would be more suitable as a visual merchandiser because of my creative background. In 2012 I was promoted to user experience analyst, a role I held for a few months before my manager left and I was asked to oversee the team of eight people.

I was promoted last year to user experience manager. I now manage a team of six people [after a team restructure], looking at how we can innovate and suggest new functionality for the site.

What has been your career highlight?
The ecommerce team has almost tripled in size since I started at Boohoo. Being a part of this success alongside a team of passionate people has in itself been a highlight. As has launching the first foreign language website - in French - last year.

If you could change one thing about your career path, what would it be?
I would probably have done a different degree. Something more technical or business focused would have brought me quicker to where I am now.

Who is your mentor?
My current boss, Rebecca Smith, head of ecommerce. She has been very encouraging about developing my career.

What is the best piece of advice she’s given you?
She always told me to follow my instinct and have confidence in my decisions. If you know what you’re talking about, you shouldn’t be afraid of the choices you make.

How do you see your career progressing?
I see myself staying at Boohoo for some years but I’ll try to develop my skills and achieve a higher managerial role with a greater strategic focus.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
I’ve embraced whatever I do and I think that shows passion and commitment. If you have those qualities, people will give you more opportunities.

If you could work in another area of fashion, what would it be?
I’m happy doing what I’m doing, but it would be nice to develop more technical and business skills.

CV

2013 User experience manager, Boohoo
2012 User experience analyst, Boohoo
2011 Online visual merchandiser, Boohoo
2010 Part-time operations supervisor, Ministry of Craft
2009 Freelance surface pattern design, Johnson Cheyne
2009 BA Hons Embroidery, Manchester Metropolitan University
2006 Art Foundation Course, Manchester Metropolitan University

  • Salaries for this type of position range from £28,000 to £55,000 (estimate provided by The MBS Group)

If you want to be featured on the Drapers Jobs page, email james.knowles@emap.com

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