Buying seemed like the perfect fit

Alex - Category Buyer

After completing my A Levels at Beaulieu, I decided to continue my education at University. Initially I was interested in Fashion Design, having always loved Textiles and Photography at School, so I attended Kingston University in London, where I completed an Art & Design Foundation Degree. After a year of competitive London design, I knew it wasn’t for me! So, it was back to the drawing board. At this point I spent some time reassessing the subjects I liked and enjoyed, and how I could continue to build these into a career. English, Business Studies, and Textiles were all enjoyable for me and after some time discussing these subjects and opportunities with a University advisor, Buying seemed like the perfect fit. It felt like a real mix between logical, business-minded thinking, and creative involvement with the product side of things.

It really allowed me to develop my business skills and encouraged me to use my initiative

This led me to making the move up north, and joining Manchester Metropolitan University, to study Fashion Design and Merchandising. The course covered a wide range of Buying and Merchandising subjects including, buying practice, finance, sourcing, supply chain, and product development. All whilst teaching us how a fashion business operates in order to maximise profit, and succeed in a global industry. It really allowed me to develop my business skills and encouraged me to use my initiative. Once I had graduated, I went straight into a Buyer’s Admin Assistant (BAA) role for a jewellery retailer, Jon Richard Ltd. This was my first “proper” job in the industry and I was excited to put my degree into practice. I worked closely with the Buyer to help with day to day tasks, meeting preparation for product sign-off, as well as liaising with the suppliers, the majority of which were based in China. This is where I really learned the importance of negotiation, being organised, and building good relationships with my supply base. After a year as the BAA at Jon Richard, I was promoted to Assistant Buyer. This meant I had more responsibility in the form of my own small range of hair accessories. No more than thirty lines, but this was mine to manage from beginning to end.

It’s a good feeling seeing something you’ve backed sell and make money!

I used the skills I developed over the previous year, to research and source trend driven lines I could make profit from. As soon as I saw lines from my range launch and start selling, I knew I wanted to continue building my own ranges. It’s a good feeling seeing something you’ve backed sell and make money! In the background, I had begun to set up a Linkedin profile, initially, just to see what else was out there, but in the end it turned out to be a beneficial step, as this is how I ended up at my next job. I received a message from a member of the Talent team at The Hut Group, asking if I would be interested in applying for a Buying Executive role on their Home and Garden team, and after a phone call discussing the role, I decided to go for it. THG are known for giving a lot of responsibility to their staff, and from day one this was the case. I had a lot more responsibility and a larger supply base to manage, but I was really excited to be involved with such a large e-commerce business. I learned a lot about online retailing and worked closely with the trading and marketing teams, as well as improving my technical skills on important tools like Microsoft Excel. After a year and a half as the category buyer, and soaking in all the experience I could, I decided to make the move back to Jersey, which brings me to my current role at Onogo. I wanted to move home and still put to use all the things I learned along the way, so I was happy to discover a role that allowed me to continue developing my buying skills.

Currently, I’m helping to bring new suppliers and brands on board, whilst introducing new product to the Home and Garden portfolio.

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