Assistant womenswear buyer, Coggles, aged 27
It’s easy to see why Coggles chief executive and creative director Mark Bage believes Laura Gilbert will go far. She might have only been with the business for 18 months, but her buying values are so aligned to Coggles’ that they appear inherent.
“Adam Jagger, my manager and buying director, is my mentor,” says Gilbert. “He has taught me to go with my gut when making decisions. Coggles takes a different approach to the retail industry in general and we haven’t managed to get to this position by following the crowd. This is one of my favourite parts of the job; being given a relatively free reign when making decisions means I can be creative.”
Gilbert found herself at Coggles after working as a merchandise admin assistant at Miss Selfridge, then as a sales analyst at Ralph Lauren, when she realised that she “missed being around product”. “When I started at Coggles, I had no industry contacts, and had to learn all elements of the role pretty quickly. I now manage all of my own accounts. I started out with a narrow understanding of how to make a selection, and have now learned to combine the interests of our customers into each buy.”
In 18 months, Gilbert has certainly impressed Bage, who says of her: “Laura has all the attributes of becoming an excellent buyer, she has great analytical skills and a keen buying eye.” This bodes well for Gilbert’s ambition to head up the buying team at Coggles. “Adam, watch out!” she jokes.