While the Closet London brand manager loves life on the water, she has her feet firmly on the ground when it comes to business.
The first thing I do in the morning is make myself a fresh juice and check through the sales from the previous day, as well as going through my extensive inbox. I analyse sales figures for our concessions in stores like House of Fraser, John Lewis and Dorothy Perkins, as well as our online sales which are growing domestically and internationally. We also work with a number of online accounts including Asos.com and Amazon, department stores Fenwick and Bentalls, as well as great boutiques like Aspire Style in Warwick, Solihull, Stratford-upon-Avon, Earlsdon and Oxford.
I work on the online and offline marketing strategy, which centres on our website as the driving force for our brand. We’re focusing on building our international customer base, working closely with partners like Zalando in Germany and etailer Modcloth in the US. At the moment a lot of my time is spent working with our UK PR agency, affiliates such as Shopstyle and Yieldify and drop ship partners in China and Africa like Hi Fashion and Bay One.
Life at Closet is really dynamic and fast-paced as we drop 10 collections throughout the year, which means the role of brand manager requires wearing lots of different hats. Ultimately I’m responsible for defining and developing the brand. I co-ordinate across all departments including design, sales, concessions and web, ensuring our brand ethos filters through each part of the business. My role also includes staff recruitment and training.
I get involved in selecting the styles that go into production and work very closely with the design department, giving them analysis on sales and customer feedback. We’re very passionate about presenting our stories to the customer, so I collaborate closely with all departments to ensure the inspiration shines through. Our first collection for spring 16 was called Metamorphosis, which was all about pastel tones and floral hues.
Last year we underwent a huge rebrand involving lots of business analysis and strategy development, culminating in May. We updated the logo and website, and created our brand book. We also changed lots of our procedures and decided to spend more time on each monthly narrative.
While I am mostly based at our office in East London, I do go to Las Vegas for contemporary men’s and women’s wear fashion trade show Project in February and August. We’re looking to build our speciality store customer base and find department stores to work with.
When I joined Closet in 2010, I could see there was scope for growth as I knew the brand well from having bought the product over the previous four years for my online boutique Frock, which specialised in occasionwear from unique European brands.
I launched the concessions business in Dorothy Perkins in 2010. We also had our eye on other hosts such as House of Fraser and John Lewis. Two years later, I used my experience gained from launching Frock back in 2007 to work on building Closet’s new website. Since then, the web team has grown to six people.
The best thing about my job is helping to grow an amazing brand and seeing the fruits of our labour when we take on new accounts like John Lewis. We started working with them in 2013 and are currently online only. It’s also great to get recognition in the press and at industry awards like being named Young Fashion Brand of the Year at the 25th Drapers Awards last year.
One of the key lessons I’ve learnt along the way is to understand your customer, her shopping habits, her hobbies and passions. The Closet customer is a busy working girl who has lots of events like weddings and the races, but she also wants to look smart for work.
It’s important to train and empower your staff, developing great working relationships with your team. Keeping lists is also very important to multi-task. To hold down several different roles at once you need to prioritise your to-do list and create your critical paths.
I wind down after work with a kickboxing session or a swim in my local open air pool. I check Instagram and Pinterest for general fashion and lifestyle inspiration and then get my six hours beauty sleep ready for the next day.
If I wasn’t working in fashion I would work in the superyacht industry, designing amazing boats. Having lived on a Dutch barge for the past six years on the Hampton Riviera at Hampton Court, I love life on the water.
1997-2000 BSc (Hons) Biochemistry & Genetics, University of Nottingham
2010-present Brand manager, Closet London
2007-2010 Director, etailer Frock
2002-2006 Assistant buyer, Joy
2001-2002 Allocator, Debenhams