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How I got here - David O’Malley

Determination and graft are the sources of success for women’s footwear brand Rocket Dog’s sales boss.

What does your diary look like today?

It’s pretty hectic. We’re in the full swing of launching spring 14 as well as shipping autumn 13 orders. We also have a credit report meeting, a spring 14 line review, a process and procedure meeting and a new national account coming in to view the range for the first time.

What meeting are you most looking forward to today?

Meeting the new national account. We’ve refocused our distribution in the UK to better reach out to our core customer. Obviously we’re a Californian brand and are pitched at the sport and young fashion market, so we need to be playing in the arenas and accounts that fit our brand.

What task do you wish you could postpone?

None of them. I enjoy my role because it’s diverse. It can vary from working with numbers to marketing, managing the sales team to working with product.

How did you get to where you are today?

Hard work and determination. I started at jeweller Ernest Jones as an assistant then managed to get onto a graduate training scheme at Nestlé, even though I didn’t have a degree. I then joined Lee Jeans, before leaving to join Timberland whereI spent the majority of my career.

I also worked for a year at K-Swiss in between my Timberland roles.

What has been your career highlight?

The Nestlé graduate training scheme. It taught me all aspects of selling and account management. I think being determined to get in front of the people I needed to speak to helped me get onto the scheme. I had a contact in Nestlé and managed to get in front of the UK sales director, was interviewed and got the role.

I was one of 10 trainees and the only one that didn’t have a degree.

Who is your mentor?

My father, Peter. Unfortunately I lost him at the age of 17. He started as a sales assistant aged 16 for the UK’s largest jeweller, Signet Jewellers [owner of Ernest Jones, Leslie Davis and H Samuel]. He worked all his life for the company and finished his career as general managing director of the whole group.

What was the best piece of advice he gave you?

“Treat everyone with respect in all aspects of life. At work, treat everyone the same, from the apprentice to the managing director. Always be honest to people around you and to yourself.”

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

Be prepared to work long hours. This business is very rewarding but it can be intense. I would also advise believing in yourself. You will get knock-backs, but take them as a learning experience and move on.

If you could work in another area of fashion, what would it be?

It would have to be buying because I love product. When you work with a brand obviously you only concentrate on your range, but as a buyer you get to see a number of ranges and it must be rewarding to see your efforts in store when the product lands.

  • Salaries for this position range from £55,000 to £75,000 (estimate provided by Henry Fox Recruitment)


2012 Sales manager, UK & Ireland, Rocket Dog

2009 Field sales manager/channel manager, youth/elite, Timberland

2007 Sales manager, Classics, UK & Ireland, K-Swiss

1998 National account manager, Timberland

1997 Territory manager, Lee Jeans

1995 Territory manager, Nestlé Confectionary

1991 Assistant manager, Ernest Jones Jewellers

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