How long have you worked at Pavers?
I’ve been here about 12/13 years.
What is your favourite type of shoe?
More flats than heels. Open toe sandals in summer, trainers if I’m walking on a weekend but obviously heels if I’m going out.
Talk me through your collection…
The ankle boots were best sellers last year so I’ve added these in new colours but repeated the styles so last year these weren’t available in grey. It’s nice to say “these are best sellers, they’re coming back into stock and these are the new colours”. I’ve just added some fresh colours but the customers will recognise the shoe. We’ve developed a new collection with three black ankle boots as we were asked for smaller heels. They are all black but generally smart ankle boots are black so that’s fine. When we’ve had success with a style in black we then go back and add some more colours. You can never really do much with winter because it’s all quite dark with navy, burgundy, black, brown, tan. I’ve got a few more tan this year that I didn’t have last year and we have tried to add more colour to make it more interesting.
What do you think will be the key trends for Pavers A/W?
A lot of my product have embellishment on it so it might be buckles, bows, buttons so lots of little detailing. Also lots of brogues so brogue shoes, brogue lace up Chelsea boots, brogue long boots, brogue ankle boots and so on. Also I have quite a lot of two tones. Trouser shoes were a big area for me last year because they have a longer selling time so they start selling early on and continue right through to February/March but instead of just the blacks I’ve added more colour based on last year’s success.
What is your favourite season to buy for?
Summer is much easier. There’s so many more colours, you can do more closures on the shoes and heel heights. There’s just much more choice. You don’t just have an ankle boot and a long boot you get a mule, a sandal, toe post and courts or pumps with toes in or toes out.
What colours do you think will be big this season?
On the back of store requests, we were asked for a lot of grey so we have featured grey and also a nice brushed tan from Turkey. We don’t have particular trends but I’d say our trendiest colour is grey.
What is the hardest part about your job?
Probably travelling and leaving home. It’s hard to leave home but on the other hand it’s exciting and there’s so many opportunities and ideas and factories and when you find something you really like it’s knowing that you’re going to get it into the stores and it’s going to sell and be a winner.
Tell me about your career history…
It was training on the job. I joined Pavers in Buying Support when the three brothers were buying so I did the paperwork then I started to go on buying trips with Ian and got more responsibility. I went to Brazil about 11 years ago on my own just selecting samples so they could see what I could do then I used to assist Ian until about 6 years ago and I started to go on my own to places like Garda then Ian left. We had a family business that did kids and adults shoes so I used to go buy the product for that so I had a bit of experience but it was nothing like this.
What is the buying process?
I monitor sales on a daily basis. I’m always looking out for best sellers to base repeats on if they’d sell all year round. Then I modify styles that have done well so changing colours, adding buckles. Then we go to trade fairs and factory visits to select samples then we try them on and put the collections together, seeing what overlaps and getting the balance between leather and synthetic. Then you need to see where the best prices come from and see what retail prices you can get. It’s then just about building your range, planning the delivery then just waiting for the stock to arrive.
What is your favourite place to travel with work?
Favourite trip of the year is Garda in June. The setting is beautiful and the food is nice and we get to see a massive chunk of our suppliers.
What is your travel must have when you’re working away?
Head phones for my Ipad so I can watch BBC Iplayer and downloads on the plane.
What is your biggest ever fashion fax pas?
Probably a knitted jumper from my grandma that was a horse’s head with a 3D mane on the front. I was about 14/15!