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How I got here - Geri MacAuley

JoJo Maman Bébé’s head of buying plans to keep growing with the kids’ and maternity wear chain.

What does your diary look like today?

My day starts early. I like to get in to check my emails. This morning we’ll have a meeting with the garment technologist, buying and design teams to discuss spring 13 orders and to check we’re on track. This afternoon I will be reviewing the autumn 13 girls’ fashion range with my buying director and the designers. I will finish by working with the marketing team, selecting images for the spring 13 catalogue.

What meeting are you most looking forward to today? 

Selecting the images for the spring 13 catalogue. I love it when we see the first images – it’s the result of six months’ hard work for the team. 

What task do you wish you could postpone?

Dealing with emails on supplier issues. The team is fantastic and keeps me out of most of the day-to-day issues, but sourcing from across the globe means there will always be unforeseen problems.  

How did you get to where you are today?

With a strong work ethic and having had the opportunity to work with some great people. I genuinely believe if you can work with people who push you both from above and below you’ll progress.

What has been your career highlight?

I really enjoy the creative process and have been lucky enough to have worked with some very talented designers. I was an assistant buyer at Debenhams when Giles Deacon worked there at the start of his career – it’s great to see talent rise and achieve success. Moving to JoJo has been such a change that it has reinvigorated my love of the job.

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

The length of time I stayed in some positions. I stayed because I loved the job and the people I worked with but sometimes we need to move out of our comfort zone.

Who is your mentor?

My director at JoJo, Mel Brown, and JoJo founder and managing director Laura Tenison have both been really supportive and inspiring. Coming from a classic blue chip background to an entrepreneurial retail environment has been a real eye opener. It’s really refreshing to know that they genuinely have put their money where their mouth is.  

What was the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

“No one ever died because we chose the wrong design.” It is about perspective and not being fearful of taking risks.

How do you see your career progressing?

I love working at JoJo. Since I joined the store portfolio has progressed from 25 to 45 and our new international trade division has expanded from 11 to 52 countries. I plan to grow with JoJo.

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

Be prepared to start at the bottom and work your way up and don’t be too precious about the businesses you approach. Some of the best training and development programmes are in the core high street retailers.  

  • Salaries for this position range from £85,000 to £95,000 (estimate provided by CVUK)

CV

2011  Head of buying, JoJo Maman Bébé 

2006 Head of buying, Austin Reed

2005 Senior buyer, casualwear, Austin Reed

1997  Senior buyer, Linea, House of Fraser

1995  Buyer, accessories, House of Fraser

1991  Assistant buyer, Debenhams

1988  Allocator, Debenhams

1988   Graduated –  BA Hons, Management Systems, Hull University

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