Head of retail, Sarah Coggles in York, aged 25
“I’m a bit like an octopus,” says Sarah Coggles’ head of retail Kate Inston.
“I have arms for buying, for menswear and womenswear, for numerical merchandising, for sales analysis for our online and store operations. I manage the visual merchandising team and do the schemes for our windows, plus the managers of the stores feed back to me.”
That is quite a job, but one that has offered Inston a fantastic opportunity to learn the business fast. She joined premium indie Sarah Coggles seven years ago - working in its Paul Smith franchise - while studying politics, economics and sociology at York University, moving to a full-time role when she graduated. The opportunity to move up the ladder came after Adam Jagger - one of last year’s 30 under 30 stars - left Sarah Coggles to take up a buying role at etailer Asos.
“I’d wanted to work in fashion since I was young, but didn’t know what direction to take, so Coggles has meant so much to me in that it has taught me so much. I’m still learning and I want to keep pushing myself forward, and to become as knowledgeable as possible.”
Sarah Coggles owner Mark Bage says even he has been surprised by what Inston has already achieved. “Kate’s main strengths are that she has a real mixture of talents - merchandising, buying, and managing people - and for an indie those multitasking skills are crucial in a head of retail.”