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A day in the life of Ray Noir

His passion for music has helped the store manager of French label Eleven Paris’s London store make a big noise on Carnaby Street.

Ray Noir

Ray Noir

What does your typical week involve?
Preparing daily sales targets, changing the merchandise in store and dealing with customer enquiries, as well as liaising with head office in Paris. I often travel to Paris to discuss sales, view the new collection and to be briefed on how to sell the garments. It’s my job to ensure my team of four sales assistants feel motivated and work together to raise the sales index. I generally hire people who like the brand’s urban style. Eleven Paris is very music-related and we often stock campaign pieces from collaborations with musicians like US rapper A$AP Rocky, with whom we launched a
capsule collection for spring 14.

What meeting are you most looking forward to today?
Planning the different press and blogger parties we host on Carnaby Street, our only UK store. As I work on music industry events in my spare time, I often assist with booking DJs and photographers. In the past models like Daisy Lowe, Irina Shayk and Ben Grimes have attended our events, alongside DJs such as Jodie Harsh, who play a set to entertain customers while they shop.

How did you get to where you are today?
In 2002 I was living in Oslo and started my first retail job there as a sales associate for Bodymap, a store selling band merchandise and alternative clothing. I wasn’t very interested in going to university and had always felt passionate about clothes and music. Within two years, I had worked my way up to assistant manager and by 2007 I was appointed store manager. In my position I liaised closely with agents and major music labels, booking international artists for signing sessions in store. I also acted as a buyer, travelling to trade shows like LondonEdge to see other alternative brands. In 2009 I moved to Paris and was first introduced to Eleven Paris by my good friend Golnaz Adham Kha, who is now creative director at the company. I spent the following two years learning the language and working as a sales associate at H&M. In 2011 I moved to London and got a job as a sales associate for Marc by Marc Jacobs in Mayfair. After my first year in the city, a friend informed me that Eleven Paris was going to open its first UK store on Carnaby Street. I applied for the store manager role in April 2013 and was hired in time for the launch. I definitely think my previous experience and the fact I speak French contributed to me getting the job.

What has been your career highlight?
One of my proudest moments was during my time at Bodymap in 2008 when I organised a signing session with an American metal band called Trivium. The queue went around the whole shop, it was great.

If you could change one thing about your career path, what would it be?
I would probably have gone to university, which might have helped my career move faster. I would have liked to have studied events or marketing, but luckily I get to assist on lots of events with Eleven Paris.

How do you see your career progressing?
I would like to venture into a more creative area within retail, such as visual merchandising. We have a VM team in Paris which visits London now and again, but generally we deal with this on our own. We receive new items about three times a month, as well as separate capsule collections, so it’s important I understand how to put colours together. We try to lead with one strong colour and a bit of black or grey to break it up. We avoid putting similar colours with each other, for example I wouldn’t put red with burgundy. I would also like to expand my involvement in events or perhaps work specifically as an event manager, putting together fashion shows and press parties.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
In smaller boutiques, a store manager position is often given to someone who knows the brand and has been there for a while. You need to be sales-oriented and it’s important to have a social side, so you can communicate with customers and your team.

CV:

2013 Store manager, ElevenParis, London
2011 Sales associate, Marc by Marc Jacobs, London
2010 Sales associate, H&M, Paris
2007 Manager and buyer, Bodymap, Oslo
2004 Assistant manager, Bodymap, Oslo
2002 Sales associate, Bodymap, Oslo

 

  • Salaries for this position range from £27,000 to £30,000 (estimate provided by Fashion & Retail Personnel)

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