There are a lot of different layers to my role. On paper, it's my responsibility to manage and deliver the buying strategy for UK and ROI; to lead decisions, make sure our pricing's right and that we're meeting our financial targets.
Although I've only been with the Clarks' buying team four months, it isn't a whole new experience to me. Before making the move, I spent 18 years at John Lewis with five years as Buying Manager for children's shoes so I actually worked closely with Clarks and knew them well as an excellent supplier of children's shoes. I gained quite a deep insight into the Clarks world and goings-on: the global expansion, the international success, the future-focused forward-thinking.
So when the role came up as UK and ROI's Kids' Buying Manager, I thought ‘perfect'. I really liked my role at John Lewis but Clarks' incredible journey of change and expansion really excited me. I felt that it was an integral time to be part of the success story. It was a huge decision, a huge move – not just for me but for my family too but Clarks couldn't have been more supportive: there was always someone on the end of the phone, whatever the issue.
There are a lot of different layers to my role. On paper, it's my responsibility to manage and deliver the buying strategy for UK and ROI; to lead decisions, make sure our pricing's right and that we're meeting our financial targets. All that and so much more. I've been busy looking at market data, buying opportunities and trends to pull together a big – and when I say big, I mean it – document that the Range and Product team need to deliver our strategy for Autumn/Winter 2014.
I work in a very visual way and I always try and bring things to life with pictures so it's definitely not your typical black-on-white document. I don't just hand over to the Product and Range teams then leave them to it either, we work closely together at every step of the process. It's all about the best for the business; the right shoes, in the right place, at the right time – that can't be achieved alone so collaboration is hugely important.
Clarks are trusted for their heritage. But they're an incredibly innovative organisation. To be moving fast and on a global scale in this climate is not something that many organisations can boast. Even on such an exciting journey, they still truly care about their employees and want the best for them. The changes going on in Clarks, the future-focus backed up with the strong history provides so many opportunities whatever stage you're at in your career. And I'm definitely not missing the London commute. I can't wait to see what's around the corner, I'm already thinking about the lovely shoes for Spring/Summer 2015.
Sam Drysdale, UK and ROI's Kids' Buying Manager - UK