Monthly Archives: April 2016

Behind the Sole: Buying/Merchandising Assistant

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Our Buying/Merchandising Assistant has the voice of an angel, describes himself as always on trend and believes you should never give up on your goals. We caught up with 29-year-old Michael Wright to chat success, career paths and all important life quotes. 

What did you study at University?

I studied Sport and Exercise Science at Sheffield Hallam University. I’m currently preparing to start a Mathematics and Statistics degree part-time with the Open University.

Did you always want to pursue a career in buying?

Yes – 100%. Since I first learned even the smallest detail about the buying world I was hooked. It’s a job I think everyone in retail should aspire to have.

How did you get this job?

Good question! My first role within the company was Store Manager in the Stoke branch. Through my Area Manager, David Way, I was offered the chance to visit Head Office to introduce myself and meet the team. I put forward my CV, then after a short while I was interviewed and offered the position. I was, and still am, extremely thankful to be given the opportunity.

What does a typical day involve?

Every day is different really. Generally though, analysing store/product sales data, selecting products and range planning. My role in the main involves buying for the Outlet stores, so I do a lot of price negotiation. I also help out Dave Mercer, our Head of Merchandising, in the merchandising department regularly. Oh, and I drink lots and lots of coffee.

What’s your favourite part about the job?

By far it’s got to be seeing new collections from my favourite brands. I always leave thinking ‘how am I going to afford all of these shoes?’.

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How do you get creative when deciding which products/brands to buy?

When we see collections I try and envisage the consumer who would wear the shoes. What outfit would they wear with them? Where do they hang out? How old are they? What town/city are they from? I basically over-evaluate the situation.

What’s your favourite footwear?

This is easy – for me it’s adidas. At the moment the styles they are producing are perfect for me. I like the old school silhouettes with a contemporary twist. Stan Smith Primeknit, Superstar Slip-On and the NMD Runner are probably top 3 on my wish list at the moment.

Describe your style in three words?

Always on trend.

Where is your OOTD (outfit of the day) from?

ASOS, H&M, Topman and most importantly – SOLETRADER.

If you could describe yourself as a shoe, what would it be and why?

I would be an NMD Runner. On trend, but a little bit funny looking.

Tell us an interesting or quirky fact about yourself?

When I was much younger (we’re talking pre-adolescent years here), I had the voice of an angel (primary school choir teacher et al., 1990s) and performed in local theatre productions.

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What’s your favourite way to relax after a stressful day?

Answering interview questions is a personal favourite of mine at the moment. My favourite way to relax when I get the chance is watching a movie on the sofa wrapped up in my duvet with a cup of tea, pizza and Haagen-Dazs for afters. Call me indulgent.

Who/what inspires you?

Successful people are my inspiration. People who are successful through adversity. I believe wholeheartedly that difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations. You should never give up on your goals.

What’s the biggest challenge your job role presents you with?

Challenging myself to be better. The past two years have been a big learning curve for me so learning in my own time has been valuable. It’s very hard to keep up with Derrick though! Read Derrick’s (Buying Controller) Behind the Sole here.

Describe your life in one sentence…

Eat, work, eat, gym, eat, study, eat some more… and sleep.

What’s your favourite piece of advice or quote?

Life is short. Smile while you still have teeth.

Behind the Sole features monthly on our blog so make sure you like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram where we’ll share our blogs with you on a weekly basis.

The Summer Suitcase: How To Pack Like A Pro

You might be heading to Ibiza to have a party in the Mediterranean sea, but not before you’ve mastered the dreaded and somewhat tedious art of successful suitcase packing. Why? One word, two syllables, 9 letters – stressful. Whether you’re packing for your other half who seems to think one pair of swimmers, two tees and a pair of flip flops will suffice for two weeks, or you’re frantically running around trying to pack three separate suitcases for your children who are grizzling at the thought of a weak WiFi connection, we could all benefit from a little bit of direction when it comes to deciding what is worthy of jetting overseas with us. Whether you’re an over-packer or a less is more kind of person, stress levels can go into overdrive.

Considering all variables, the equation we’re left trying to figure out is what on earth to pack? While we won’t go over the basics, what we will do is provide a footwear tick-list to ensure all bases are covered. Practical, on-trend and occasion appropriate are the three golden rules you need to remember. Ladies and gentleman, here’s how to pack your summer suitcase like a pro. Let’s start with all you females out there who may be stressing about what shoes you’ll need. If you’re currently having flashbacks to when you were slumped up against your bedroom wall trying to cram those stilettos you never wore into your suitcase with a 15kg limit, stop worrying because here’s a guide to the bare minimum without sacrificing style.

The Practical Shoe: Trainers (Ladies)

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Forget chunky trainers, say hello to a lightweight and wearable summer staple. The gorgeous monochrome tropical print provides a sleek twist on an adidas classic, with gold metallic branding for a perfectly polished finish. Light, bright and laid-back is the vibe which perfectly complements an airport run or a day of adventurous exploring to avoid any mishaps after one glass of Sangria too many. While there are so many adidas Gazelle variations, we particularly like this cool print which offers the best in style and comfort, all day long.

The Day Shoe: Sliders (Ladies)

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The ideal holiday piece, this Lacoste summer slider has a fresh nautical feel. Ideal for popping on around the pool or for a leisurely stroll along the beach, this fuss-free and fashionable footwear is a luxe addition to any summer suitcase. The punched leather strap and metal croc branding scream premium, while offering optimum versatility to be mixed and matched with multiple holiday outfits. High quality and serious style is a combination not to be missed from this simple Lacoste slider, so what are you waiting for?

The Evening Shoe: Flatforms (Ladies)

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No holiday suitcase would be complete without something a little special. These showstopper Paul Smith flatforms utterly embrace evening glam while maintaining a fresh and feminine feel. Nude leather combined with a partially white sole and a lime green colour pop offers the perfect unique colour block balance. Totally on-trend, incredibly comfortable and unimaginably secure with leather lining and a sturdy buckle that enables you to create ultimate holiday glam with ease. It’s as simple as that.

The Practical Shoe: Trainers (Men)

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Nike have done it again with a unique twist on an Air Max classic. The Turbulence trainers showcase a perspex tube along the back of the sole for an even more quirky and urban update. The light, almost pastel grey, colour is the perfect palette to be included in your summer suitcase as it avoids any heavy or chunky hues. The woven design is in a breathable material which is perfect for a hotter climate. What’s more, if you wear them to the airport, you can avoid taking up masses of suitcase space. Win, win.

The Day Shoe: Sliders (Men)

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When we’re on holiday we don’t like fuss, we don’t like complication and we certainly don’t like wasting time on selecting shoes when there’s sun to be soaked up and pools to be dipped in. Sliders are the perfect solution for simple and effective footwear, and Diesel are offering a sports luxe alternative. Just because you’re relaxing doesn’t mean you can’t be on-trend, does it? The jelly material erases any worry of them getting wet or ruined because they’re totally holiday-proof. What more could you want?

The Evening Shoe: Slip-On (Men)

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This lightweight and perfectly packable modern slip is new for the summer season. Smart casual is usually the preferred evening attire and this navy knitted Lacoste number can simply be pulled on with ease in the evenings. The neutral navy and simple heel branding allows for endless outfit options which is more often than not a winner when it comes to male fashion. The Lacoste L.YDRO trainers are a breath of fresh air, ironically with breather holes to the sole – a unique design we’re proud to showcase this summer.

For our full range of summer shoes, head over to our website to browse our selection of brands as well our our in-house range – SOLE. If you’re after the latest styles as and when they drop, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

The Trainer Trend: What Not To Miss

Fashion’s fascination with trainers was firmly reestablished last year, successfully quashing any comfort qualms by offering a stylish yet snug footwear solution, suitable for even the most fashion conscious of individuals. With a style and colour to suit the most hectic and relaxed of days, this footwear favourite doesn’t look as though it’s walking out of our lives any time soon. Where trainers are concerned, worries should be pushed to the back of your mind because with ample choice, there is a style to suit everyone. Trainers no longer mean sweaty PE lessons and long family walks – trainers mean style, comfort and being super fashion savvy all day, every day. Buying the perfect pair is the first hurdle and deciding how to wear them is a whole different ball game which we’re more than happy to help with. Whether you’re heading to the gym, going for Sunday brunch or packing your city break suitcase, they’re definitely worth the investment.

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The adidas ZX Flux ADV is a very popular and versatile style that has taken the trainer scene by storm. The monochrome appearance provides a simple and classic finish and the futuristic and cutting-edge side tongue design means it is set to be one of this season’s biggest hits. Pair with jeans and a plain/slogan tee for a cool, calm and collected kind of vibe.

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The Reebok Classic has made an extraordinary comeback in recent months and with metallic being a trend in itself, mixing it with the latest Reebok craze hits the style nail on the head. The iconic design combined with gold metallic is the perfect way to jazz up an outfit. Paired with dungarees or bleached denim will ensure you’re well on your way to serious style.

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Another adidas ZX Flux ADV, but this time a more simple and clean-cut version in crisp white. Fresh white trainers are enough to smarten up the most casual outfit, making your style seem effortlessly cool. White trainers are a definite SS16 staple and are capable of creating the best style and comfort combination you could possibly dream of.

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If you want your trainer game to be on point, you may want to opt for something a little more plush. Stella McCartney offer a fantastic Pure Boost range with the most sleek and sophisticated finish. Traditional laces have been replaced with a wide elastic band for optimum ease and snug comfort while ultra soft cushioning makes for a light workout or stroll at any time.

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Be bold and make a statement with a splash of colour. The Adicolour trainers showcase a mono approach to an adidas Superstar classic, offering something a little more exciting to shout about. An icon of hip-hop street style, this version preserves the signature details such as the traditional shell toe while creating a head-turning style in true Adicolour fashion.

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Fancy treating yourself? Invest in designer with a pair of lavish Michael Kors trainers. These particular pair of silver embossed beauties are the perfect showstopper this season. The side branding and colour scheme keep things simple while the mix of textures make them a little more snazzy. The perfect subtle colour pop to pair with some skinnies and an oversized tee.

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If practical and comfortable is your thing, why not opt for this contemporary and athletic combination from Nike. The material allows your feet to breathe while the padded ankle cuffs ensure a secure fit. The velcro makes slipping in and out of them totally fuss-free and the bright red means you’ll be spotted from a mile off which is great if you’re heading out for a run.

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Another Adicolour option, this time in a striking shock mint mono. The colour is fun and quirky and really makes a statement. The classic adidas Superstars have been reinvented and this colour certainly isn’t for the faint hearted. A pair of ripped jeans would perfectly complement this brave fashion choice to keep things clean and polished but totally enviable.

Don’t forget to head over to our website to see our full collection of trainers. A little footwear overhaul is perfectly acceptable, especially when there are so many great styles to choose from. For new releases, launches and the latest information be sure to follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, like us on Facebook and sign up to our newsletter.

The Spring Edit: Footwear Staples

We all know that spring weather can be a little unpredictable at times, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be prepared for when the sun does decide to peek through the clouds and bless us with a gorgeous sunny day. And what does a gorgeous sunny day call for? Pub garden, we hear you cry in unison. Yes, but sunshine also means spring footwear. We know it can be one big hassle wandering around all the shops and browsing through multiple online retailers to find something that looks nice, fits comfortably and doesn’t draw particular attention to your pasty feet that have been hibernating in slippers all winter. That’s why we’re here to do the hard work for you – so without further ado, say hello to the spring footwear staples.

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Ilse Jacobsen has injected the perfect amount of spring sparkle into the Poppy 31 Sandals. The leather foot-beds offer ultimate comfort while the adjustable sling-back makes the sandals not only pretty, but practical. The white sole perfectly complements the tan leather and rose gold jewelled straps for a sophisticated and stylish finish. If rose gold isn’t really your thing, the sandals come in a more muted gunmetal colour which offers optimum versatility without having to sacrifice style.

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If you don’t like having your feet on show, a pair of espadrilles might just be the perfect solution. The Lauren by Ralph Lauren Dafny shoes are made of canvas which is both cool and comfortable and the embroidered Ralph Lauren logo provides a chic, fashionable look. The adjustable sling-back design is ideal if you’re looking for a spring shoe update but don’t quite want to venture into the sandal zone just yet. Also available in black, we’re helping to ease you into the season.

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It’s time to climb out of your classic comfy UGG boots and step into something a little lighter in preparation for the warmer weather. We know the snuggly lining is hard to part with, but the UGG Cherry Exotic Sandals offer a trendy twist on an average sandal. The lizard printed embossed leather screams sophistication while the rope insole provides maximum comfort for a truly desirable combination – don’t you think? Available in hazard orange, black and cream for any occasion.

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Loafers aren’t only associated with black work trousers or a skirt and tights combo – think less work and more play. The classic black loafer is of course a staple but when it comes to spring, introducing a smart nude shoe can be the answer to the spring overhaul your shoe collection desperately desires. The SOLE Audrey shoes form part of our own in-house collection and offer a classic, sophisticated and simple spring footwear solution. If you do fancy getting your hands on them in black, you can find them here.

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If a luxury look is something you think might float your boat this season, look no further than the gorgeous Ilse Jacobsen Poppy 27 Sandals. The double strap black leather sandals feature an embossed snake print which is very classy, versatile and perfect to complement a maxi dress or a pair of rolled up ripped jeans for a more casual affair. Available in black and latte, the classic and simple finish means the sandals will be easy to style, easy to wear and easy to love.

For more of this season’s collection, head over to our website, subscribe to our newsletter for weekly promotions and new launches and keep up to date with us on social media to make sure you don’t miss a thing. You can like us on Facebook and follow us on TwitterInstagram and Pinterest.