Primark HQ Diaries: Day in the Life
It’s no secret that we’re avid denim fans here at Primark, but what if you could take your love for the indigo dream a little further and make a career out of it? Well that is exactly what Sarah, one of our assistant buyers, has done as she makes it her business to be at the forefront of all things denim. We caught up with her to find out what’s really involved in her day to day, who her style icons are and what we can expect from the autumn/winter denim collection.
You might recognise Sarah from our recent #Squadgoals shoot - cue girl crush moment - so before we get down to business on all things buying, we ask Sarah about her personal style and how she keeps the traditional worker-style denim relevant and up to date. “I wear a lot of denim in a number of different silhouettes. I’m currently loving our retro-fit mom jean and all of our boyfriend styles worn with white trainers, or my bashed-up biker boots and an oversized parka. For night I like a bit of glamour – sequins paired back with simple skinnies and skyscraper heels. All of the above finished with a good blow-dry & a nude lip!"
So tell us about an average day at work.
"BUSY! It starts with daily sales analysis, looking at all the countries we trade in, and urgently ordering in more styles if they’ve sold well. I spend hours emailing and on the phone with suppliers, discussing product development, cost negotiation, and even the colour of a button! A huge amount of our denim is produced in China, Bangladesh, and Cambodia, so I also have to contend with time zone differences."
Wow! So the life of a buyer is most definitely busy, and if all of the fast turn around 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, its not surprising that Sarah cites Jackie ‘O’ and Audrey Hepburn as her classic style icons, but what about her day to day inspiration,“Currently I love Christine Centenera and Olivia Palermo for their daytime style or Rachel Zoe and Nicole Richie for a bit of evening glam.”
But aside from following style influencers for a living and dressing denim up or down to perfection, what is the reality of being a fashion buyer? 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 involves identifying seasonal trends and deciding which ones translate into commercial looks for our style-savvy Primarkers.”
As a frequent fashion flyer, we simply had to ask Sarah where she loves to visit on her own 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 will be crystal clear on what the next big trend is going to be (they tend to be a good year ahead of the rest of Europe). For high 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 this trait definitely feeds into Primark’s denim range. The style and colour of the buttons and rivets can make or break a jean!"
With her expertise at our disposal, it would 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 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 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 stand you in good stead.
- 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 back on occasions, but don’t take it to heart, and use this as fuel to drive your ambition.
- Be self-aware and listen (sounds easier than it is!)
Denim Quick Fire Round:
And now down to the nitty gritty, as we corner Sarah with some fast and furious questions;
Autumn/winter or spring/summer? SS!
Skinny or boyfriend fit? Oooo….Boyfriend for day, skinny for night!
Denim dungaree or dungaree dress? Denim dungaree hands down!
Jeans with heels or jeans with trainers? Both!
Ripped or clean? Clean!
Long leg or ankle grazer? Ankle grazer!