The international sales manager at directional womenswear brand The Ragged Priest says fashion is all about networking.
What does your typical week involve?
The average week will begin in the office, looking over sell-through figures of our key accounts to assess necessary replenishment on stock. Then, if it’s during my selling window, I will be in back-to-back meetings with buyers, presenting the collection to them. This role is a combination of being in the showroom presenting and getting out on the road to visit customers in store. There’s also a fair amount of international travel, attending fashion fairs and meeting up with our international clients.
What event are you most looking forward to today? Our spring launch is going live on Asos and the whole team is really excited for the unveiling. The brand is so relevant for Asos’s customer and it’s an incredible platform for us. I can’t wait to see the reaction and how the stock looks online; Asos always merchandises everything so well.
What task do you wish you could postpone?
I have to work with the designers to edit down our autumn 14 collection, but it’s such a hard job when it’s all so great. It really is my favourite collection yet, and I think the strongest. It’s a huge move on from where the brand began five years ago but still maintaining the signature Ragged Priest aesthetic of trend-led styles, which makes us stand out from other brands.
How did you get to where you are today?
A combination of positivity and perseverance. My major opportunity was my role at [trade show] Pure London; this gave me a great insight into the fashion industry. I was able to work consultatively with clients and build good relationships. It made me realise I wanted to be involved in building a brand and be part of that culture.
What has been your career highlight?
Joining the team at The Ragged Priest and achieving a position that allows me to be an integral part of the progression of the company. I’ve always worked for larger corporate companies and I learned so much from that environment. Being part of something smaller, however, it feels like every decision makes a difference, and that’s important to me.
If you could change one thing about your career path, what would it be?
I would have studied something related to fashion at university. It hasn’t affected my ability, as my passion for what I do has been enough to drive me to success, but I would have liked to have had more practical knowledge before starting my career.
Who is your mentor?
The managing director of The Ragged Priest, James Cutmore. I really admire anyone who can take an idea and make it reality. The fashion industry can be tough for brands, and it’s an accolade to him that he has achieved the success and following the brand now has.
What’s the best piece of advice he’s given you?
Don’t present a problem without a solution - you’re only creating another problem.
How do you see your career progressing?
I see myself continuing to develop my role at The Ragged Priest, working closely with the managing director to elevate the brand by opening new accounts with key retailers across the globe. I will always want to be involved in something I believe in and that tests me - and at the moment, I’m covered on both bases.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Fashion is all about networking and you have to put yourself out there to be noticed. It also has a lot to do with confidence - I believe in myself and my capability to succeed. Be willing to work long hours and go above and beyond to achieve your goals. Be yourself. Ultimately, people buy into other people - so if you’re engaging and interested in what you are doing, it will show. Perseverance is also key when working in any sales role, so don’t take no for an answer.
If you could work in another area of fashion, what would it be?
I really enjoy product development, and although this isn’t something I’ve specialised in, I have touched on it in some of my roles. I enjoy using my commercial knowledge of product saleability to develop new styles.
Salaries for this position range from £40,000 to £45,000 (estimate provided by CVUK)