Tie Rack’s senior buyer for menswear says growing sales also increased her confidence
What does your diary look like today?
Today is hectic because we have our spring 14 sign-off presentation to our directors this week. This means we’re making last-minute changes to the range, negotiating final cost prices, chasing suppliers for our samples, visually merchandising all products in our showroom, as well as working with merchandising on the numbers.
What task are you most looking forward to today?
I’m looking forward to seeing everything racked up in the showroom tonight, especially the tie waterfall, which has been remerchandised four times and it is still only Tuesday. This enables us to appreciate what Tie Rack’s spring 14 men’s collection is going to look like for our customers in store.
What event do you wish you could postpone?
I’d love to postpone our strategy sign-off.
I’m a real perfectionist and always crave more time to make sure everything’s 100% perfect.
How did you get to where you are today?
I started my career in retail on the shopfloor, and within a few years I realised I had a passion for buying. I was fortunate enough to get my first role as a buyer’s administrator in 1999, being given an opportunity to work in a job I absolutely loved. Working for someone who really inspired me [Keran Fordham at Alpha Airports Group], I was then able to work my way up in the company.
What has been your career highlight?
Getting my first ‘buyer’ title. It was all my dreams come true, progressing through the ranks from buyer’s administrator to senior buyer has to be my biggest highlight. Turning around departments that I’ve worked on from negative sales to positive sales has also been important. Seeing positive sales growth gave me the confidence to realise my ambitions and get me promoted.
If you could change one thing about your career path, what would it be?
Absolutely nothing. I’ve learnt so much through the years from my various roles and believe that as long as you’re not afraid to make mistakes and don’t make the same mistake twice you can only grow as an individual, and as part of a team, in the workplace. Don’t get me wrong, there have been numerous challenges along the way, but I wouldn’t change one of them.
Who is your mentor?
I wouldn’t say I have a specific mentor. I’ve always looked up to my bosses, such as Steve Buckley at Alpha Airports Group, Nigel Lawmon at World Duty Free, and Alex Willson at Tie Rack, and been lucky enough to gain experience from each of them.
What was the best piece of advice they’ve given you?
It’s difficult to single out one thing, but they told me: “Always think customer.” That has stayed with me.
How do you see your career progressing?
I’d love to gain experience in online retailing, which is looking more and more likely to be the future of retail.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Always ask questions, no matter how silly you think they are. Gain as much experience as possible and don’t be afraid to move sideways in order to get on the career path you desire.
- Salaries for this position range from £50,000 to £55,000 (estimate provided by CVUK)
2011 Senior buyer menswear, Tie Rack
2008 Category buying manager, fashion and accessories, World Duty Free Group
2006 Buyer, sunglasses and fashion, Alpha Airports Group
2002 Buyer, newspapers and magazines, Alpha Airports Group
2000 Assistant buyer, fashion and accessories, Alpha Airports Group
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