What does a typical day as a Soletrader fashion buyer involve?
It’s such a varied job, it’s not one answer. It isn’t a processing job, it’s much more creative than that. You could be placing orders, out at meetings, having strategic discussions or looking at analytics – in truth, every day is different. You just don’t know what’s coming next. The only thing that’s guaranteed in any day, is lots of tea. We get through endless amounts of tea in our office.
What’s your favourite part of your job?
It’s that buzz you get when the shoe you’ve ordered arrives in the warehouse and the anticipation of how it will do. There’s a real adrenaline rush when you see it start to sell and that’s the part I love. There’s an addiction factor to what we do. It’s not something you can easily put into words.
How did you decide you wanted to buy shoes for a living?
I fell into it really. I started off as a Buyers Assistant in sports clothing, then progressed to Junior Buyer and moved to London, which is where I landed my first footwear job. When I got my first job in footwear, I didn’t have a clue about shoes. Some might say I still haven’t today!
What’s your best piece of advice for someone who’s interested in getting into buying?
It sounds clichéd, but you have to have a love of fashion, be passionate about it and work hard. You spend the most time at work, so you need to enjoy it. You need to have good mathematical skills, be a great communicator and always be ahead of the trends. And if my interview was anything to go by, be prepared for a gruelling process!
What would you be doing if you weren’t a footwear buyer?
Honestly, probably some sort of mentoring or teaching. I still hope to do that one day.
How do you unwind after a bad day?
I’m pretty good at managing bad days, I’ve learnt not to let the stress get to me. I’ve a healthy love of music and I’m happy to let the beats blast away the blues. I’m into funk, soul and jazz – my favourite track at the moment is Sunshine Anderson’s “I’ve Heard It All Before”.
Do you have a favourite pair of shoes?
You may find it surprising to find out that I don’t actually have that many pairs of shoes! I take the typical male approach of having one or two pairs that I wear until they wear out. The thing is, when you’re in buying, you’re always looking to next season’s stock, so it makes it harder to buy shoes on a personal level. My favourite pair at the moment are these white Emporio Armani trainers that I wear with everything.
What trends should we be looking out for this season?
This season, you’ll be seeing white, clean, old skool, court styles and premium materials. Slides will be huge again this year and sports luxe pieces are going to be everywhere.