Working with Alexander McQueen put Avon’s lingerie and apparel buyer for EMEA on the road to success.
What does your diary look like today?
A typical day is very varied and you never know what projects and opportunities it might bring. I work with a fun, fast-paced and dynamic team of buyers and we are constantly developing new products for 38 Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) markets, so the day is never dull. Today I caught up with supplier teams in the Far East, followed by a team sales and performance review meeting and a new cross-category ideas ‘show and tell’. This was followed by a supplier meeting to review spring 14 holiday products. This afternoon I have a meeting to review strategy for our branded controlwear, Body Illusion.
What meeting are you most looking forward to today?
I enjoy meeting suppliers and reviewing the products we are developing for the coming season.
How did you get to where you are today?
I started my career at Alexander McQueen as a fashion marketing graduate, subsequently undertaking roles in retail, PR, buying and sales and marketing. I also continued my passion for fashion and beauty working for MAC Cosmetics as a make-up artist. I moved on to head up lingerie and fashion apparel sales and merchandising at Tri Distribution, which led to an opportunity with LA-based [brand licensing firm] Maui and Sons. There I worked on buying and sales for lingerie and swim brands; one big project included launching The Pussycat Dolls lingerie in the UK. All of this led to my current pan-European role at Avon.
What has been your career highlight?
There have been several: working with the incomparable Alexander McQueen; fabric sourcing and working on a collection for Mick Jagger’s Rolling Stones tour outfits; working with The Pussycat Dolls to launch their lingerie and swim collection in the UK; and, in my current role, working with a fantastic team who have become some of my closest friends.
Who is your mentor?
I’ve worked with some great people who have really helped shape my career. My time working for Alexander McQueen and his team was the most influential point.
How do you see your career progressing?
Avon has a strong focus on fashion and home globally and there is so much scope for career development internationally, which I would be keen to explore. The EMEA team is redefining product strategy, supported by a restructure and recruiting to build on our strong team, so career opportunities are readily available.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Have a passion for what you do and make the most of any opportunity. University was a fabulous experience; I would recommend a fashion degree - and gaining work experience as this will help set you apart. Don’t be afraid to make decisions and have courage in your convictions; work hard and be a team player. When you hit problems keep smiling; let your personality come through and be true to yourself.
- Salaries for this position range from £40,000 to £55,0000 (estimate provided by Henry Fox)
2010 Buyer, lingerie and apparel, EMEA, Avon Cosmetics
2009 Buyer, sales and merchandising, lingerie and apparel, Maui and Sons
2007 Buyer, sales and merchandising, lingerie and apparel, Tri Distribution
2004 Buyer, Visage Imports
2001 Make-up artist, MAC Cosmetics
2000 PR, Alexander McQueen
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