Product development manager, Planet, aged 30
Making the move from menswear to womenswear is never easy, but that’s what Annie Burrows has achieved, with stints at some of the UK’s best known retailers and brands.
Now a year into her job as product development manager for Jacques Vert-owned womenswear retailer Planet, Burrows’ degree in fashion buying and fashion design from De Montfort University first led her to a job as buyers’ admin assistant for the men’s Linea range at House of Fraser. This was followed by a move to House of Fraser’s own-label kidswear and, later, a promotion to assistant buyer.
Burrows consolidated her menswear experience at Austin Reed where she bagged her first buyer’s role on accessories and footwear – just five years after leaving university. Shortly afterwards, shirts and ties were added to her remit. “I believe this was a key achievement in my career,” she says, “as these areas formed a large percentage of the brand’s range.”
But Burrows hankered after a womenswear role, and after two more years with Austin Reed she won the Country Casuals petites buyership within the Austin Reed group.
“I’d been advised that I would find it difficult to get a role in womenswear as my career history had been in menswear, but this never deterred me from my ambition.”
A product director in the making, Burrows says of her career so far: “As everyone who works as part of a fashion buying team will probably tell you, I’ve always loved clothes and love to shop, and in my role at Planet you have to live and breathe fashion every day. It’s not easy and a good job is not just going to fall into your lap – you need to work hard, stay focused and, most of all, always be enthusiastic no matter what task you are doing.”