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How I got here - David King

The sales manager at Victoria Plimsolls found his true vocation after leaving merchandising.

What does your diary look like today?

My diary is pretty free today as we’re between selling seasons. My current focus is preparing for the autumn 13 trade show season. We’re increasing our focus on menswear so Bread & Butter will be a critical start to
the season. Spring is always our strongest season and we’re expecting to see a sizeable growth of in-season buying this year. We’re preparing for capitalising on good weather and bringing more accounts on board.

What task are you most looking forward to?

We’re currently redesigning our websites and I’m leading the process. We’ve just wrapped up our review and I’m creating our final report so we can discuss our requirements with our web designers.

What task do you wish you could postpone?

I’m a bit of a social media Luddite. However, I’ve been told that my New Year’s resolution is to become a social media maestro, so I need to start learning the tools of the trade.

How did you get to where you are today?

I’ve worked in retail since I was 15. After university, a career in retail made the most sense and I returned to the shop floor. Getting my first merchandising role on the US and international team at Ted Baker helped me reconcile my upbringing within the independent sector at the Hugo Boss franchise in Milton Keynes with the machinations of larger retail businesses. Joining Thomas Pink gave me the opportunity to work closer with wholesale accounts and franchisees around the world. Dealing with wholesale gave me the adrenaline buzz I’d missed since leaving the shop floor. When I knew I wanted to focus solely on sales, I found a company that could see the benefits of hiring someone with the skills and knowledge I’d built up.

What has been your career highlight?

Leading a sales appointment with (US fashion chain) Nordstrom in New York while at Thomas Pink.

If you could change one thing about your career path, what would it be?

Realising how much I enjoy sales, I feel I should have pursued it more seriously before starting the merchandising career path.

Who is your mentor?

I’ve learned so much from the people I’ve worked for. Howard Shaw, who was manager at the Hugo Boss store in Milton Keynes, was the man responsible for my love of retail, and Ray Kelvin was an inspirational chief executive at Ted Baker. One of the reasons I joined Victoria Plimsolls’ owner JTA Distributors was to learn from sales director Jacquie Trievnor.

How do you see your career progressing?

Having manoeuvred myself into sales and found myself a brand with such great potential, I want to develop and take the brand as far as possible. When I get to that point I’ll see what new challenges are available.

What advice would you give someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?

Be proactive in looking for opportunities to experience the sales side of the business. Look for a company
that wholesales and get as close to the sales team as possible.

  • Salaries for this position range from £35,000 to £45,000, some will earn commission, most will have a car (estimate provided by CVUK)

CV

2012 Sales manager, Victoria Plimsolls (JTA Distributors)
2010 Assistant merchandiser, wholesale and franchise, Thomas Pink
2008 Allocator, US and international, Ted Baker
2007 Supervisor, Hugo Boss (Milton Keynes)
2007 Graduated with a BA (Hons) in Recording

  • If you want to be featured on the Drapers Jobs page, email james.knowles@emap.com

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