• VINSIGHTS

    International demand for UK talent

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    June 2018

    The world is your oyster - International demand for UK talent

    Matthew Vohs is one of the co-founders of Vohs and Coi s looking after senior and executive roles within the UK and internationally, working closely on key positions with well-known brands and retailers.

    The UK fashion retail market operates in a league of its own. While brands and retailers in most countries are already starting thinking about what to put on the hangers in twelve to twenty four months time, the UK market has driven a change to allow retailers to operate closer to a just in time model, able to switch production (with the help of suppliers) to meet demand in sizes and colours of lines that sell well while avoiding oversupply (and therefore waste) in those where demand doesn’t meet expectations. It’s an ability that every brand and fashion retailer around the world looks to emulate and for those in mid to senior level merchandising and buying positions in the UK it means that the world is their oyster.

    Why the UK is a world leader

    While in many countries fashion labels are prevalent, the UK is dominated by large retailers. Retailers look to meet consumer demand with Primark, Next, George, Tesco, New Look and River Island (among others) dominating our high streets in part because they are so good at this. On the other hand, fashion labels look to shape consumer demand, essentially dictating what will be popular and so haven’t built up the same ability to be responsive.

    Over the last thirty plus years the UK fashion industry has become ever more sophisticated and responsive. UK retailers set extremely high standards and have invested heavily in merchandising systems, processes, manufacturing, training and developing supply chain relationships. The resultant ability to manage stock quantity and quality together with the speed with which clothes can be merchandised in store is unparalleled. The stories of imitations of designer dresses being in high street retailers within a fortnight of them appearing on the catwalk are well known and foreign chains are taking note. The UK trading model has become key and the talent invariably lies within the UK retail industry.

    What are the opportunities? 

    Buyers and Merchandisers at the mid to senior level are particularly in demand, however anyone with a good understanding of the supply chain and a robust network will be attractive to retailers and brands abroad.

    Abroad where? The Middle East, South Africa, Australia and Western Europe are all pro-actively looking to attract UK talent. If you want to broaden your horizons then the opportunities are out there.  

     If you would like to find out more, please get in touch with Matthew – matthew@vohsandco.com or 0203 668 1466.

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    February 2018

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    January 2018

    4 Reasons to Consider Wholesale

    Sadly many candidates fail to consider fully the benefits of a stint or a career in wholesale. I started my career working for a wholesaler and if I weren’t running my own fashion retail recruitment consultancy I would head back into the supply chain like a shot. Wholesale has two shortcomings relative to a career in retail. It lacks the perceived glamour of retail and it doesn’t offer the wider benefits package or bonus that are common in retail. However, there are numerous reasons why a couple of years experience or a career in wholesale is something you should consider. Here are my top four: 1. From concept to the high street – working for a wholesaler means you get to be a part of the whole product lifecycle from conception through production and seeing it onto the high street. Being involved in a product at every step of the way is one of the most satisfying experiences I have ever discovered. 2. Exposure to multiple customers – working for a wholesaler you get exposure to multiple retailers giving you a good overview of the very different cultures and benefits of different companies as well as a black book of contacts that can make you the envy of the industry. Many candidates develop a much clearer idea of who they do and don’t want to work for after a stint in the supply chain – and often it is not who they originally thought. 3. Exposure within the business – wholesale roles tend not to be siloed and companies generally aren’t hierarchical giving you both exposure to the whole of the business and the ability to shape and really make an impact on the company. 4. Opportunity and variety – because everyone works so closely together as part of a team within wholesale you are able to see what people do on a daily basis in a wide variety of roles. This could open your eyes to different roles that you may not have known about before. Working so closely with the factories can be an important for your career. Having a good understanding of what goes on ‘behind the scenes’ and gaining off-shore experience is invaluable while getting the opportunity to visit the factories makes your CV even more attractive! Wholesale is fast paced. Companies tend to be smaller and successful ones grow rapidly providing fantastic opportunities for those who want to seize them. But, for me, the thing that makes wholesale so rewarding is the ability to make fashion happen. I love the journey from creating concepts, to turning them into samples, then securing orders, before putting them into production and ultimately seeing them fly off the shelves. In the unlikely event I ever stop enjoying recruiting for supply chain roles then my final task will be to place myself at an up and coming wholesaler. Depending on your aspirations, some stages of your career may be better than others to work in the supply chain.

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