Regional manager north, Coast.
Managing 25 Coast stores across the north of England, including three flagships, is all in a day’s work for Sophie Welsh. “It’s a real achievement, especially as her role encompasses 25 stores over a broad geography,” says Jo McWilliams, global operations director. “Sophie is self-motivated with a competitive nature - always a good quality for a field operator.”
Rewind 11 years and 18-year-old Welsh caught the retail bug while working as a sales adviser at indie boutique Originals Designer Menswear in Preston. Six months later, in February 2004, she spotted a job ad for a full-time supervisor at Coast in Debenhams, Preston. By September, Welsh was assistant manager, moving up to become concession manager within a year.
In 2006 she took over the concession in Selfridges, Trafford Centre, before stepping up to manager of the retailer’s standalone Manchester Arndale Centre store in 2008. By 2009 Welsh had secured the position of area supervisor northwest, a strong grounding for promotion to regional manager in 2013.
Advice from Coast area manager Lynnette Douglas was priceless. “She taught me that people work for people,” Welsh recalls. “If you take your team along with you, the results you can achieve together far exceed those that you try to achieve alone.”