Career Conversations: Chris – Merchandising Manager
Our next ‘Career Conversations’ insight takes a closer look at Merchandising. The Merchandising Function at White Stuff HQ is one of our biggest departments and is key to ensuring the right product is in the right place at the right time for our customers. We asked Chris, Merchandising Manager for Clothing across Branch, International and Wholesale to tell us what he thinks makes White Stuff so special.
Q: Tell us more about the Merchandising function at White Stuff
We are lucky to have a diverse merchandising function; this includes six core Buying and Merchandising teams, a Wholesale team and an Online team. We also have Branch Merchandising and Allocation teams who look after our diverse UK and International Shops. We get to build strong relationships with other internal departments such as Buying, Design, Wholesale, eCommerce and Retail. It’s great to have such a collaborative environment at White Stuff.
Q: What makes working in Merchandising at White Stuff different to other brands?
Your path doesn’t have to follow a single route and there is flexibility to move between the different Merchandising disciplines and product areas. We look for great Merchandisers that have the ability to be dynamic and think of new solutions. Many colleagues in the team have worked on different departments, widening their knowledge and expertise and making them an altogether stronger, more commercial and well-rounded Merchandiser. There is an entrepreneurial spirit at White Stuff, the status quo is always up for challenge. We seek out new ways to grow and evolve, and we like to consider a more creative approach towards delivering what is best for the department, the customer and the brand.
Q: What are the development and progression opportunities like within Merchandising?
We have our own key merchandising competencies and development plans to nurture the talent within the business. These are designed for increased flexibility and career options, enabling colleagues to work across different departments. We are focused on developing from within where possible and we have some great success stories. We see value in retaining and developing the individuals we recruit for them to become a long term member of the family.
Q: When recruiting externally, what qualities do you look for in an applicant?
We look for those who are self-starters, sociable and comfortable interacting with stakeholders across all levels. We like individuals who show a creative and logical approach to their work. For us, it is more about these skills and qualities as opposed to the types of retailers previously worked for – we have colleagues in the team from a vast array of high street, luxury and value retailers all bringing different knowledge and skills, but with the right mindset for the taking the White Stuff Vision forward. If we are recruiting an Allocator (the entry level position into merchandising) we’ll look for someone who is analytical, a problem solver and commercial. Some general industry experience or qualifications definitely also helps.
Q: Can you tell us something that people might not know about the team?
We love regular team get-togethers; these can vary from training sessions, ways of working workshops, or just having some fun away from the numbers! We also spend a full day together each year volunteering our time to support a local charity. Merchandising are proud to have two team dogs, desk decorating competitions at Christmas and we all dressed up as Pandas at the last Halloween HQ party! White Stuff has a great culture; whilst we work hard we play hard too and have monthly bar nights, birthday celebrations and early finishes every Friday.
Take a look at all our current vacancies available across Merchandising and the wider business to join us!