How long have you worked at Pavers?
I’ve been here 3 years in December.
What is your favourite style of shoe?
Personally I like wedges because I’m short and they give you comfort all day without hurting your feet.
Talk me through your collection…
The first one is a Chelsea boot that’s been quite on trend the last few years. It has such a wide age appeal so I think it would be really good for our customers. It’s really comfortable, it’s a really nice fitting last and it comes in some really lovely leathers so the leathers are really subtle and soft and the colours are fantastic so you’ve got the black, the tan and the burgundy. It’s always hard to get colour in winter because you want them to sell but you try not to make it look too black so we’ve done lots of burgundy, tan, a bit of navy and some grey for winter. It’s never going to be as colourful as summer because you just wouldn’t sell it so we’ve done a tiny bit of purple but it’s mainly your autumnal colours and they’re the things that sell and they’re what goes with the clothing in stores. These are a great price at £49.99 with a leather upper and soft textile lining so I think they’ll appeal to a lot of people. They go with everything; you can dress them up or dress them down. I’ve got high hopes for them.
My other selection is a FlyFlot shoe which is a brogue. It’s a patent brogue, it’s not the cheapest at £49.99 but I think it’s worth every penny and people will see the quality when you look at it. It’s got really nice black and burgundy patent and the burgundy has a bit of burnish into it. It’s on a great new sole unit, it’s really flexible and it will be a good fit because it’s FlyFlot so if you have that slightly wider foot it would be good. Brogues are coming through from a fashion tip and this is a good commercial brogue so it’s not too trendy.
What is your favourite season to buy for?
Summer. No hesitation. It’s a lot easier making the range look more interesting. It can look dark and dull in winter so definitely summer. Being able to play with colours, materials and fabrics a lot more.
On some of the shoes we’ve used snake trims, patent trims or metallic so there is a bit more of a mix but with my area on casual a lot of it can be basic product and repeats that we sell season in, season out.
What is the hardest part of your job?
The travel. I have two young children so it’s definitely hard being away from them. It’s also very enjoyable and we get to go to some very interesting places but the long haul trips to India and China can be quite difficult, juggling work life and family life but if I didn’t do it I think I would miss it!
What’s the most enjoyable part of your job?
The buzz you get when you see the style come in and it sells and becomes a best seller and you know that you’ve bought that product and when sales are going really well you get a real enjoyment and high from it. Just the buzz of seeing your product sell and going into stores and being told your range is good. Overall sales are why you do it. Some of the buying trips like Italy are really good too.
Does it feel like it’s been a long process by the time the product hits stores?
When the shoes come out in stores I’ve been looking at them for 6 months so sometimes you’re sick of the sight of them. It takes a good 3-4 months to put a range together and you do all the buying trips, you get your samples back and then you put your range together then the order process can take 6-8 weeks then all your confirmation samples start to come in so you start to move onto transitional styles or onto the early part of the next season. So it’s July now and I’ve done Italy, Spain, India then I’m going to China then I’ll do Turkey then in September we’ll start putting the orders down and this will last until November time doing high summer then after Christmas we’ll go to Italy to Garda and we start buying Autumn/Winter 2017 so you’re forever in the wrong season.
Where do you get your ideas or inspiration from?
You always look at replacing the best sellers first then look at what other retailers are selling then the factories have their own designers so they usually put a range together then you can swap it round if you don’t like certain kits or you want it to be a lace instead of a Velcro so you can tweak it but travelling and seeing what’s in stores in Germany and Italy but it’s generally the factories. They have people there who are in charge of the ranges so you can sit with them and adapt them.
Tell me about your career history…
I did psychology at University and while I was there I worked at Office in Covent Gardens and I got to know the Buying Director there so he said there was a job going at Head Office doing Buyers Admin so I started from there and did nearly 3 years at Office where I did my training but it was a small team so I started travelling from a young age. Then I moved to Kurt Geiger for 8 years and then I had my daughter so I took a bit of time out. We then moved up north and I worked for JD Sports for a couple of years but that was more trainers then I had my little boy and I got approached to go to Barratts which was 5 minutes from where I lived and with the kids, it was only 3 days a week. Then when Jake started school I came here to Pavers.
What is a must have for you this A/W?
I definitely want a brogue boot and I always buy a biker boot or a Chelsea boot. It has to be flat though because I’m wearing it all day.
What do you think will be popular styles for A/W?
We’ve done some boots with knitted tops which are quite colourful so they add a nice twist and I think they might be quite popular with our customers. We always have a range of comfort boots which do well and if you’re an older lady we’ve added new updates like patent trims. I think they’ll prove quite popular. I think brogues, Chelsea boots and biker boots are key for the season. I hope it’s going to be more of a boot season this year because we’ve had two very mild winters and I don’t think people have rushed out to buy boots so maybe if we have a cold snap early on it will entice people to buy boots and they’ve maybe made do without for the past couple of years. We have got a good selection of knee boots but we’ve probably got more choice in the ankle boots. We have got a new range of weather boots and a lot are water resistant with a waterproof membrane which will give some protection for the snow. Obviously not 100% waterproof because the only shoe that is is a wellington but I’m quite excited because it’s what the stores have been asking for and they’re just a bit younger and a bit nicer. It’s really good to have the stores feedback. I like to just stand on the shop floor and look at who’s picking up what and get feedback from the customers. We do take it all on board, they’re the ones that are living it and breathing it every day.
What is your travel must have when you’re working away?
My travel adapter. Just so I can have my own hairdryer and straighteners. I like to take some comfy trousers when we’re doing long haul just to change into because we’re on the plane for a long time. I also have to take my own food because I’m gluten free. Especially when we go to India or China because they don’t understand. So after the adapter it’s a case full of gluten free food!
What is your biggest ever fashion Faux pas?
When it was all the trend when I was about 16 to wear hooded tops, black tracksuit bottoms and kicker boots and permed hair. From about the age of 13 to 18 it was all about the corkscrew perm. I’m showing my age now!