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.

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