Commercial manager, Maria Grachvogel.
What does your job involve?
I am [designer womenswear label] Maria Grachvogel’s right-hand person and generally responsible for running the brand. I oversee wholesale, distribution and licensing deals; sponsorships; partnerships; and collaborations. I’m also responsible for all marketing, internal PR and design.
I drive and manage our brand strategy, devise the international sales strategy, select target retail stores and build relationships with buyers. I implement link-ups with other luxury brands and manage the production and organisation of our London Fashion Week catwalk show, including budgeting and creative vision. I also design and manage the accessories collections, and develop new lines.
What skills do you need?
The skills I need include business acumen, writing and design skills, and organisational and event management expertise for producing the show at London Fashion Week. Working between departments requires diplomacy, and good communication is essential. Good manners are also important; being kind and professional at all times is key. You need a strong vision for what you are trying to achieve. It is important to have a passion and knowledge of the industry as a whole and know what your competitors are doing.
What do you like and dislike about your job?
I love working in the different areas of the business and applying myself creatively and analytically. I also like that I am spearheading the company expansion - it is very rewarding to know I am contributing directly to our success. I love helping to develop the collection from conception through to the show, then gauging buyer and client reactions. But at certain points in the season the very long hours can take their toll.
How did you get to where you are today?
Energy, graft, ambition and the ability to adapt my skills to lots of different areas. This is vital if you want to build a small business.
It is important to be motivated to inspire your team and yourself, and you have to know how to balance your time and understand what makes a brand relevant.
What is your proudest career achievement to date?
Bringing Maria Grachvogel back to London Fashion Week for autumn 10 was incredible. To produce a show and see the response and support from the industry was amazing. Every collection and show I help produce inspires that feeling of pride but that first show was really special.
What is your ambition?
To continue to play my part in creating and building a global brand.
How do you intend to get there?
Hard work, commitment and a belief that I can do it.
What three words sum you up?
Hard-working, proactive and ambitious.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Work hard, be confident and learn as much as you can about the industry and your competitors.
2010 Commercial manager, Maria Grachvogel
2009 Ready-to-wear and accessories designer, Maria Grachvogel
2008 Assistant designer and production manager, Maria Grachvogel
2007 PR, sales and marketing assistant, Maria Grachvogel
2006 PR assistant, Maria Grachvogel
2005 Assistant, Katie Hillier
2005 Assitant brand manager, Luella
2005 BA Hons Classics, University of Newcastle upon Tyne