Primark HQ Diaries: Day in the Life
It’s no secret we’re major denim fans here at Primark...what if you could take your love for the indigo further, and make a career of it? Well that's exactly what Sarah, one of our assistant buyers, did: she makes it her business to be at the forefront of all things denim. We caught up with her to find out what really goes on in her day-to-day, who her style icons are and what we can expect from the Fall/Winter denim collection.
You might remember Sarah from our recent #Squadgoals shoot (cue girl crush moment). Before we get down to business on all things buying, we ask Sarah about her personal style and how she keeps trad worker-style denim relevant and up to date. “I wear a lot of denim in lots of different shapes. I’m currently loving our retro-fit mom jean and all our boyfriend styles with white sneakers, or my banged-up biker boots and an oversized parka. For night I like a bit of glamour – sequins toned down with simple skinnies and sky-high heels. All topped off with a good blow-dry & a nude lip!"
So tell us about a typical day at work.
"BUSY! It starts with daily sales analysis, looking at all the countries we're in and urgently ordering in more styles if they’re selling well. I spend hours emailing and on the phone with suppliers, discussing product development, cost negotiation, and even the color of a button! A huge amount of our denim is manufactured in China, Bangladesh, and Cambodia, so I also have to deal with time zone differences."
Wow. So the life of a buyer is most definitely busy. And if all the fast turnaround times weren’t enough to get your pulses racing, maybe the travel schedule will. “The travel is more intense during certain months. Between March and June this year, I’ll visit almost every continent for shopping trips, trend research, supplier meetings, and Primark store visits. No two days are ever the same – it’s always exciting!"
With raven locks and cheekbones to die for, it's not surprising that Sarah cites Jackie O and Audrey Hepburn as her classic style icons. But what about her day-to-day inspo?“Currently I love Christine Centenera and Olivia Palermo for their daytime style, or Rachel Zoe and Nicole Richie for some evening glam.”
Besides following style influencers for a living and dressing denim up or down to perfection, what's the fashion buyer reality? Working in fashion often comes with an expected ‘glamorous’ lifestyle--but is that the truth? “My friends think I shop for a living! My job is identifying seasonal trends and deciding which ones translate into commercial looks for our style-savvy Primarkers.”
As a frequent fashion flyer, we just had to ask Sarah where she loves to visit in her free time, and grab some travel tips from her too!.
“Paris! Always Paris. I love the style. And the architecture. And the food! They have a style like no other city in the world--everyone looks so effortlessly chic. You can sit and watch the street style for an hour, and you'll be crystal clear on what the next big trend's going to be (they tend to be a good year ahead of the rest of Europe). For Main Street, vintage and aspirational fashion, it’s a great shopping city."
How does your personal style influence what you buy for Primark?
"I pay a lot of attention to detail with my personal style, and it definitely feeds into Primark’s denim line. The style and color of the buttons and rivets can make or break a jean!"
With her expertise at our fingertips, it'd be criminal if we didn’t ask what’s in store for AW16 denim at Primark.
"For AW16 we still have tons of amazing skinny jeans – with all the newest rips, zips and washes – but I’m really excited about the more directional trends. Easy-to-wear relaxed fits, cigarette jeans, retro mom jeans and comfy, slim-fit boyfriend jeans will be HUGE."
So if you’re dead set on being a fashion buyer (and the crazy travel schedule hasn’t put you off!), here are Sarah’s top tips for bagging your dream job:
- Be willing to work HARD!
- It’s important to understand how the retail industry works. So if you can start off working on the sales floor, it will really help you out later.
- Be aware of what’s going on across the whole industry--it's a cycle
- Always ask questions; be hungry to learn, grow and know more.
- Be prepared to get knocked down sometimes--but don’t take it to heart. Use it as fuel to drive your ambition.
- Be self-aware and listen (sounds easier than it is!)
Denim Quick-Fire Round:
And now we get down to the nitty gritty. We corner Sarah with some fast and furious questions:
Fall/Winter or Spring/Summer? SS!
Skinny or boyfriend fit? Oooo….Boyfriend for day, skinny for night!
Denim overalls or overall dress? Denim overalls hands down!
Jeans with heels or jeans with sneaks? Both!
Ripped or clean? Clean!
Long leg or ankle jean? Ankle!