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Nicola Varney, 28

Buyer for apparel, Timberland

Timberland buyer for apparel Nicola Varney knew she wanted to be a buyer when she left Liverpool John Moores University with a first class degree in fashion design – and her first role as an assistant buyer at Marks & Spencer’s Per Una was just the job. There, she started working on casual skirts, but then took on shirts and blouses, developing the category to be among the top three sellers for the brand.

The move to Timberland came after three and half years. Varney now works on Timberland’s retail offer in 35 doors across menswear, womenswear and kidswear in the UK, Germany, Italy, France and Spain.

“I’m able to influence the [collection] because I’m close to the customers as well as to the product,” she says.

Peter Gerrard, managing director of Michael Page, believes she is made to be a product director as her career develops. “Nicola was appointed her high profile position at Timberland due to her achievements at such a young age at Per Una. At Timberland she has instigated a delivery management system that ensures the timely launch of product at retail and she is playing a leading role in the development of a line that is driven by consumer needs.”

Varney describes herself as being “passionate” about customers and product and suggests that others who want to follow in her footsteps should “persevere, but focus on what excites you. Success is easier to gain when you really care”.

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