Merchandiser, Internaçionale, aged 28
Just three years since Jack Wilkinson decided to swap a career in teaching for one in fashion he has enjoyed a meteoric rise through the ranks. A biotechnology graduate from the University of Northumbria he started out in merchandising aged 24, after deciding he wanted a more analytical, numbers-based role.
He began with a three-month trainee merchandiser contract with French Connection before leaving to become an allocator at River Island in 2008. He was promoted to senior allocator after just nine months, and then to assistant merchandiser in January 2010.
He joined young fashion chain Internaçionale as a junior merchandiser in January 2011, where he was again promoted to merchandiser after just 10 months.
Today he manages a multi-million pound department within Internaçionale, which he has driven forward over the past 20 months with the introduction of clothing concessions within the business.
Wilkinson’s success doesn’t come as any surprise to Mary Anderson-Ford, director of recruitment agency Bloom Retail. “I first met Jack when he was looking to become an allocator in 2008, and could spot instantly he was going to go far. I predict he’ll have a head of merchandising title within three years.
Watch him go,” she says.
Wilkinson says: “I am now focusing on developing my merchandising skills with a view to working towards a senior merchandiser position, hopefully within Internaçionale.”