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30 under 30: Kelly Tolman

Womenswear buyer,, aged 25

Kelly Tolman

Kelly Tolman

Womenswear buyer Kelly Tolman is described as one of the rising stars of’s buying team.

She began her fashion career at sportswear giant JD Sports, before leaving to join Shop Direct Group, the parent company of, as children’s branded clothing assistant buyer in January 2010.

Since then she has quickly worked her way through the ranks to become a womenswear buyer, covering both high street and contemporary brands, including the likes of Superdry, Miss Sixty, Lipsy and Little Mistress. Head of womenswear buying Julie Donnelly says she is “highly self-motivated
and driven with strong observational skills and a sound commercial trading ability”.

Tolman says becoming a fashion buyer was a childhood ambition.

“I come from a family that has achieved real success in fashion retail. With a brother who works in footwear, an uncle who is a proprietor of an independent sports fashion store, a father who works in brand development and wholesale and a grandfather who was a merchandiser, I have always been surrounded by industry specialists. From an early age, this provoked a natural interest in fashion and encouraged me to have an eye on the high street and emerging trends.”

Tolman hopes to develop her career at Shop Direct Group, which also counts brands Littlewoods and Isme among its portfolio. She says: “My passion lies within ladies footwear and apparel and I want to be recognised as a specialist in one or both of these areas within the business and the wider retail industry.

I aim to progress to an influential, respected senior buyer within the next few years and consequently gain a position as a head of buying in the future.”



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