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Lesley Torson

Buying director, Trilogy

What does your job involve?
I have the best job in the world, doing what I love. I’m responsible for the buying of all the collections and denim offer for [three-store women’s denim indie] Trilogy as well as managing the great team we have in all our stores. I’m often looking at three seasons at the same time - reviewing current sales and maximising in-season opportunities, planning the new season launch as well as buying the future season. What is also happening now, as we grow, is that we are working on a number of collaborations and exclusives with our biggest denim and collection brands to give our customers something special that they can only get at Trilogy - this is great fun and really exciting.


What skills do you need?

You have to know your customer inside out. The job is also all about people, whether that’s my team or the suppliers we buy from. You have to get the best out of people, listen lots and learn from your mistakes, as today things change so quickly. I couldn’t do my job without a love for product and trends and I’m constantly reviewing the key shows and designers’ collections and trends. The most important thing for us is to understand which of these are the most relevant and exciting for our customers’ lifestyles.


What do you like and dislike about your job?

I like that every day is different, whether we are reviewing the sales figures, buying future collections, developing the team or - my favourite bit - spending time with our customers who inspire me every day. My only dislike is there’s never enough time to get everything done.


How did you get to where you are today?

I started as a store sales adviser at Marks & Spencer, then progressed within M&S into commercial management, followed by sales development and then
into buying and merchandising, finishing as women’s head of buying for casualwear and knitwear. M&S was a great training experience, but owning and developing your own business is the most exciting challenge I’ve ever faced.


What is your proudest achievement to date?

Opening our first Trilogy store in Chelsea in London in 2006. The reaction to the concept and the reputation we’ve started to get makes me so proud.
What is your ambition? We want to grow the business at a sensible speed, continuing to deliver the best customer experience and excite our customers as much as we can. We want to open more stores but we want to do it well and won’t rush it; if we go too fast we won’t be able to retain the important aspects, such as service and product mix, that the customers enjoy today.


What three words sum you up?

People-oriented, driven and fair. If I could say a fourth, I’d say I’m always late.

What advice would you give to someone following in your footsteps?
My job is so consuming you have to love doing what you do, keep it simple and develop your team as that’s what takes you forward. Don’t worry about mistakes - you’ll make loads - but learn from them.

 

CV

2010 Opens third Trilogy store in Kensington
2008 Opens second Trilogy store in Marylebone
2006 Opens Trilogy, Chelsea
2002 Head of buying, women’s casualwear and knitwear, Marks & Spencer
1998 Merchandiser, womenswear, M&S
1996 Sales and marketing co-ordinator, M&S
1991 Sales adviser, M&S

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