River Island’s Chrissie Ashton realised she had a passion for retail and, as much as she hates to admit it, spreadsheets, after completing an internship in the operations department of Thomas Pink in 2010.
She joined River Island as a menswear and kidswear wholesale product co-ordinator in 2014, and has been promoted three times, most recently to womenswear wholesale account manager in 2017.
Boss Shelley Boyle, River Island senior wholesale account manager, tells Drapers that Ashton has been “invaluable” in growing the retailer’s wholesale arm. She provides “stellar” service to existing partners and forged new relationships with partners such as Next Label.
Ashton “always makes herself available to everyone, constantly drives the business forward and never ceases to challenge herself and others”.
Her attention to detail has improved efficiency in the River Island wholesale department and Ashton has also helped develop and launch a new system designed to further expand the retailer’s business with third parties.
Ashton points to two former Drapers 30 under 30 alumnus as inspirational figures in the retail industry: Sarah Eldridge, head of wholesale at River Island and Adam Frisby, founder of fast fashion etailer In The Style. A long-term ambition is to create her own affordable sustainable fashion brand.
Chrissie Ashton’s CV
2017 Womenswear wholesale account manager, River Island
2016 Womenswear wholesale junior account manager, River Island
2015 Womenswear wholesale assistant account manager, River Island
2014 Menswear and kidswear wholesale product co-ordinator, River Island
2012 International operations co-ordinator, Monsoon Accessorize