Merchandiser, La Senza, aged 29
Absolute focus on her goals characterises Helen Meese, who joined lingerie chain La Senza in November 2010 as merchandiser.
Having already worked at Marks & Spencer, including in its lingerie department as a merchandiser, Meese has been part of a £50m lingerie business at M&S.
She knew she wanted to work in fashion as a teenager, but understood that buying was competitive. As a result, she decided to study economics at university to give herself a head start.
Meese followed that with a stint on the shopfloor at Next, at the same time as taking specialist postgraduate training in buying and merchandising at the London College of Fashion.
Meese began her career at Arcadia, working as a merchandising admin assistant for Dorothy Perkins across lingerie, knitwear and formal and casual trousers. She then spent five years at M&S, achieving assistant merchandiser level and working on own brands including Autograph. “Lingerie is so different from womenswear because it is so size-complex, the lead times are incredible, and you have to deal with matching sets. But I love it,” she says.
And her ultimate goal? Simple, to be head of merchandising for a blue chip company.