Senior Merchandiser/Buyer – Mamequa Boafo

Name:

Mamequa Boafo

Role:

Senior Merchandiser/Buyer 

Company:

Sweaty Betty

Website:

Time with the company:

3 years

 

What is your morning routine?

With covid, my morning routine varies depending on the day. Mondays I work from home, so my day can start a little later as I do not have to factor in a commute. I also exercise 2 mornings a week so I am up by 6am and heading out to my Personal Trainer session for 6.30. But on a typical office day, I will be out of the house by 7.30am, listening to a Podcast on my journey and grabbing a coffee as soon as I am close to the office.

How did you become involved with the fashion industry and merchandising function?

After university I applied for a role within Distribution. At the time I didn’t really know what I was getting myself in to and didn’t know anyone else in the industry, but it involved my love of fashion and analysis so felt like the perfect role for me. I stayed there for a year before getting promoted and moving on to an Assistant
Merchandiser position at what felt like the pinnacle of fashion at the time – TOPSHOP!

What was your journey that led to your current role?

I stayed there for 3 years before moving into luxury merchandising/buying for brands such as the Outnet.com and Harrods, before finally landing my current position in an activewear brand – where I head up the leggings department and have done so for the past 3 years.

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Can you tell us what is the structure of a Merchandising & Buying Team and what is the main function / importance of Merchandising within a fashion organisation?

Typically within a merchandising or buying team, you have a MAA or BAA (Merchandising Admin Assistant, Buying Admin Assistant), than an AM or and AB (Assistant Merchandiser, Assistant Buyer), JM and JB, (Junior Merchandiser, Junior
Buyer), then a Merchandiser and Buyer. JM and JB, (Junior Merchandiser, Junior Buyer), then a Merchandiser and Buyer. The merchandising team is pivotal in ensuring the business has the right product to sell, at the right time; working closely with production and logistics teams to get the product in on time and in the right place; ensuring the right channels have the right products to sell.

What is your main responsibility?

I work really closely with all functions within the product team – designers, product development, garment tech; ultimately to maximise profits for the brand. This involves analysing data, looking at trends, range building, forecasting and predicting future sales.

What is your typical day/week like?

Monday’s best capture what a typical day is like. This includes, reviewing the performance of my department and highlighting key learnings before sharing them with the rest of my team.
I tend to have meetings with the buying and design teams mid-morning to talk about the next seasons range, reviewing emerging trends, looking at past trade and coming up with an option strategy by category.
I also spend time looking at the competition through desk top research and also going “comp shopping” on the high street or in department stores in order to stay on top of what is going on in the market.
A large portion of my day will also involve catching up on emails, liaising with internal functions such as wholesale, retail, marketing and E-commerce teams.

What’s the best part of your job?

Fashion retail is very fast paced so you see the results of your decisions almost immediately. It’s great when you see customers on the street wearing the products that you have ranged and when you get strong sell out messages within your categories.

In addition, I am always working at least 1 year ahead so I am always looking at the next trend and innovation to keep the customer coming back which keeps my job exciting.

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What’s the worst part of your job?

There isn’t really a “worst”, more so that you constantly need to be planning for unexpected events. Late deliveries (out of your control) from supplies, can mess up your sales targets and the aesthetic of the product offer within a collection, the customer turning away from a previous best seller despite the fact you have 1000’s of units against it and figuring out what you are going to do to clear through the stock. We have to constantly be flexible and ready to problem solve!

What is / are your most memorable work moment?

I remember at TOPSHOP when the brand used to show at LFW and there would be loads of beautiful models around. Or when Kanye West randomly walked through our office one day!
But, outside of the glitz and glamour (!) in my first year at Sweaty Betty I was awarded “The Founders Award” which recognises amazing contribution to the brand. I got this following on from the growth within the leggings department and keeping us fully stocked on our core lines which contributed to amazing profits for the brand – it was great to be recognised for my efforts.

What advice would you give to anyone interested in the same profession?

The best advice I would give is to make sure you have a passion for the industry. It can be tough and demanding but the passion and enthusiasm helps you get through those tough days! Start by visiting stores, researching brands on social media, understanding the customer and understanding trends.
Entry level positions offer the best foundation into the industry – absorb all you can and never stop learning!

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A few words about the article author

Dwayne Ferguson is the Digital Director at Outside The Box Recruitment. He is responsible for the website and all digital marketing campaigns.

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