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Lucy Smith

Buyer, TruffleShuffle

What does your job involve?

My position [at retro-inspired T-shirt etailer TruffleShuffle.co.uk] is varied, which I love. As well as sourcing new brands and product, assisting in the design process of our in-house brands, attending trade fairs and meeting suppliers, I’m also involved in merchandising (both how the product comes

across on the website and analysing sales figures). Working for an etailer has also exposed me to the huge potential of social networking, which now plays a part in my daily role here. I also liaise with our PR agency on celebrity coverage and alert them to new product launches.

What skills do you need?

Great enthusiasm for your market and product area, with a clear understanding of what your customer wants. Keeping a constant eye on up-and-coming brands and trends through all kinds of channels is important. The ability to listen to your customers, creativity and communication are also key, as is working with a broad range of people from areas such as the warehouse, digital marketing, design and PR. Analytical skills are also important.

What do you like and dislike about your job?

I love buying a broad product range which includes womenswear, menswear, kidswear, jewellery and gifts. It is also really exciting when our product is featured in the press or on a celebrity, or if a customer writes a great review on our website or Facebook page. But it can be tough dealing with delivery errors from suppliers abroad.

How did you get to where you are today?

Graduating with a history degree, I knew I had my work cut out getting into a buying career. I started out in a merchandising role at Freemans, and while I was there I took a few courses at the London College of Fashion. In my free time I did work experience to prove my devotion to a career in fashion, resulting in a buying role in the teenwear department at [value retailer] Mackays [now M&Co].

I then moved to Debenhams before relocating to the Southwest and joining TruffleShuffle.

What is your proudest career achievement to date? Being able to move into buying through sheer determination and a passion for what I do is a huge achievement, particularly in such a competitive sector.

What is your ambition?

I’m aiming towards a head buyer/buying director position which will give me overall responsibility for all the buying and merchandising functions at TruffleShuffle.

How do you intend to get there? By remaining enthusiastic and broadening the product ranges while maintaining our current familiar niche, as well as keeping a keen eye on developments in the online market to ensure the website is always exciting.

What three words sum you up?

Creative, enthusiastic, ambitious.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?

Go over and above what the job requires. Don’t be afraid to suggest new ideas. Make the most of any training provided by your employer and take evening courses to enrich your CV.

CV

2009 Buyer, TruffleShuffle

2009 Assistant buyer, Debenhams

2006 Trainee assistant buyer, Debenhams.

2005 Buyer’s admin assistant, Mackays

2004 Stock controller, Freemans

2001 History BA, University of East Anglia

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