International buyer, Sarenza.
2011 International buyer, Sarenza
2006 International buyer, The Dune Group
2003 Junior buyer, Lloyd Shoe Company
What does your job involve?
As the international buyer at footwear and handbags etailer Sarenza, I’m responsible for the buying of UK, US and German brands. This involves attending all of the European trade shows as well as travelling to brand showrooms across the world. It is imperative to understand the brand identity, follow the brand’s evolution and consider the forthcoming trends in order to select the best product for our customers across Europe.
What skills do you need?
You need great communication skills in order to build strong relationships with your brands. At Sarenza, we consider our brands to be our
partners, rather than just our suppliers. A passion for fashion and an eye for trends, as well as a good understanding of your customer, are vital elements of your skill set. Having worked in footwear shoes for more than 10 years now I have a great understanding of the product but it is also essential to have a good understanding of your customer.
What do you like and dislike about your job?
I love that I get to buy footwear and do a job that gives me so much pleasure. I like the diverse product range I work with at Sarenza - the company has more than 400 brands in total across footwear and handbags. In footwear, this includes women’s, men’s and kids’ shoes across a broad sector, from high fashion to casual comfort. I dislike the fact there are never enough hours in the day.
How did you get to where you are today?
With hard work and determination. I’ve been lucky enough to work for people who were not only very knowledgeable but also wanted to help me develop and progress in my own career - I’ll always be grateful to them for their support. Before Sarenza, I worked
as international buyer for Dune, and before that, as junior buyer for Lloyd Shoe Company.
What is your proudest career achievement to date?
Moving to Paris to become part of the fantastic team at Sarenza with very little French but being able to make myself understood. Having said that, the first trade meeting I attended in French was a real challenge. I’m still learning French but I’m able to understand almost everything and regularly have to give presentations now.
What is your ambition?
To grow with Sarenza as it expands across Europe and to offer the best range of footwear to shoe addicts everywhere.
How do you intend to get there?
Sarenza already has websites for eight countries and there are plans to launch more this year. We hope to have dedicated sites for every country in Europe soon. As I travel around the world with the other buyers, we are always on the lookout for new brands and up-and-coming designers to make sure the range we offer will always be evolving.
What three words sum you up?
Determined, adaptable and fun.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
If it’s footwear in particular that interests you, you should try to get onto one of the specialist educational courses that are available. Once you’ve done that, look for a company that offers you great training programmes and the potential to progress. It’s important to maintain your passion and strive to develop both your skills and knowledge.