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How I got here - Emily Potter

The visual manager for wholesale at Danish brand house Bestseller seized every opportunity.

What does your diary look like today?

A standard day for me doesn’t really exist; my job is very diverse. On a Monday, which is our trade day, I’m essentially an extension of the sales team. I wake up at 7.30am and am out by 8am. I’m not a ‘getting ready’ girl, I prefer my sleep. I’m in the office for 8.30am, where I avoid the brew round but will happily order every time someone offers. From there on in it’s all figures - reacting and feeding back on figures and co-ordinating the week’s focus via phone calls and emails. We finish at 5pm but I stay later because I’m never usually done. When it’s quieter I see the opportunity to work faster without distractions. I’m surrounded by great people and love learning from them.

What meeting are you most looking forward to today?

The trade meeting. I like having a meaningful, productive and resourceful end to the day, communicating with those people who know best what’s going on out there.

What meeting do you wish you could postpone?

Meeting with the planning department to discuss our key accounts. Although incredibly challenging and exciting, it requires a lot of energy and ideas, having to constantly think of new and exciting ways to push and bend the boundaries in an attempt to come out on top of our competitors.

How did you get to where you are today?

A combination of being fortunate enough to be offered some great opportunities and always being wide-eyed enough to see them and jump. I’ve worked in a wide range of different organisations, allowing me to learn the mechanics of many different working environments. But simply put, I worked my socks off from the ground up, starting with eight-hour shifts at [York indie] Coggles greeting and thanking customers, to get to where I am today.

What has been your career highlight?

Moving to Bestseller and being given the opportunity to set up this amazing department.

Who is your mentor?

I allow myself to learn from all angles.

My team plants inspiring ideas and we grow them together into a new strategy and way of working. But my real mentor is my country manager, Allan Nielsen.

What’s the best advice he’s given you?

“Trust people, show them respect and they will respond with loyalty and hard work.”

How do you see your career progressing?

I believe plans can be counterproductive, they put boxes around possibilities.

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

Be nice to people, work hard, keep inspired and don’t stop learning.

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

Shop design. I enjoy thinking about the use of space and how to maximise it. I have a passion for furniture and interior design, and [social media platform] Pinterest fuels that interest on a daily basis. I now come up with window designs together with my colleagues, always gaining creative direction from Pinterest.

  • Salaries range from £32,000 to £40,000 (estimate provided by Fashion & Retail Personnel)


2009 Visual manager, wholesale, Bestseller Group
2008 Wholesale visual merchandising co-ordinator (North), Diesel
2006 Assistant buyer/merchandiser, Jack & Jones franchise, Sarah Coggles
2005 Visual merchandiser, Marks & Spencer
2004 Sales assistant, Sarah Coggles, York

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