Self-promotion and delivering on results are the two key factors in building a successful career and climbing the fashion ladder, according to two of the industry’s rising stars.
Paul Drew, fashion buyer at etailer Asos, and Andy Marsh, head of retail at value chain Select, told delegates at the Drapers Next Generation Academy that a strong industry profile and a successful trading track record are vital to building a career in the sector.
Despite holding very different positions in the industry, both Marsh and Drew cited drive, ambition and real hard work as essential to succeeding. Both men cut their teeth on the shopfloor as Saturday boys.
Drew began his career at Sussex indie Amici and said: “Working at an indie is a great way to start a career in retail. You learn about everything and, most importantly, you are exposed to your customer. You gain an understanding of how the business is run and how the best thing about being an indie is the ability to be flexible and react to the market.”
Strong communication skills and setting personal goals are also imperative to success, added Drew.
“Set yourself achievable goals and manageable targets and build your profile,” he said.
Marsh added that building strategic relationships within your business could be beneficial. “As well as building your own profile, build relationships with the people you work with so they are aware of what you do and the success you breed.”
Understanding what is going on in different divisions of your company outside of your own and broadening your skills set can also add to your value as an employee.
”A lot of chief executives are born out of the buying or finance function,” added Marsh. “As a retailer, for me that could be a challenge, so I am learning about the other functions. Be aware of your weaknesses before it comes to making the next step.”