I’ve been at Selfridges, it’s coming up to 3 years now and I currently work in the travel department as a sales associate, specifically for the brand Samsonite.
The day normally starts off with a team briefing for the home division. And with that, we are just briefed about what’s going on in store, whether any promotions, any events we need to know about and also we are given our department targets and what we need to achieve for the day.
Achieving targets is very challenging but also very motivating at the same time. And so I think to myself, how can I personally contribute to the department achieving their targets?
When I first started at Selfridges, I just started university; I was doing my BA honours in International Business. I was working part-time, Selfridges were really accommodating to the fact that I sometimes had course-work deadlines, or exams to attend to, so they would give me time off or shift preferences in regards to getting my work done.
When people ask you, where do you work and you say Selfridges, “Oh My God, you work at Selfridges?”, and you do, you have a big smile on your face because you know Selfridges is a stage and it’s a stage for many talents and it helps you to develop and it’s just a really nice atmosphere to work in.
IT Help Desk Manager
When people think of IT, they think about lots of technical people in a dark room, tapping away on a keyboard. But for us, we’re not like that at all; we’re more about the customer, more about talking to the business
My role at Selfridges is to support the IT help desk. We support the tills, the PC’s, the applications, the telephones, the online applications. I work nine till five-thirty - Monday to Friday and my daily routine would be to come in, make sure the team are okay, see if anything happened overnight and look at some reports to see what incidents we had the previous day to make sure there’s no major problems in the business.
We deal with every department, so anyone who has a till issue or an IT issue, they all call through to my team. So yeah, we pretty much speak to everyone - from one of the directors to one of the more junior members of the team.
I think when people think of IT, they think about lots of technical people in a dark room, tapping away on a key board. But for us, we’re not like that at all; we’re more about the customer, more about talking to the business.
Things have changed so much – the entire store has become a completely different place and that’s what I love so much – it’s continuously evolving.
I’ve worked for Selfridges for 16 years and I take care of lingerie, travel and shoes. It’s quite a small team – there are two buyers, two buyers’ assistants and an administrator. The first thing I do when I come in in the morning is look at the sales figures from the day before, then we’ll perhaps make decisions about what we can do to impact the trade for the rest of the week. We find our products in various ways. So we might see it on another website, we might see it when we’re out at a trade show, in another store, or in another country. We might see it when we’re on holiday. We’re always looking for new things. It sounds glamorous but there’s a lot of responsibility, a lot of accountability. You’re responsible for what is bought and where the money is spent and ultimately what that drives out of the end of it, sales-wise. Things have changed so much – the entire store has become a completely different place and that’s what I love so much – it’s continuously evolving.
Commercial Finance Manager
I really enjoy the variety of the work, you get involved in so much within this department and it really keeps you on your toes, it’s really challenging, really fast-paced. At the end of the day it’s rewarding.
Commercial Finance, some people call it the base of Finance, is the link between the numbers and our key stakeholders. We differ from management accountants as we need to be more forward-thinking, more supporting and challenging the business on what we’re trying to drive in the future. So we often work with marketing to appraise the schemes they’re trying to do, whether it’s bringing in a celebrity, or whether it’s something like at the moment where we’ve got shoe carnival. And the key bit is to understand what are they trying to drive, whether it’s footfall or incremental sales, or PR. Once we know that it’s then over to us to work that through a model and to say ‘actually guys, is this profitable, does it drive what we want?’ and compare it to other scenarios that we’ve done in the past and say ‘how does it compare to what we’d expect to happen at that moment in time’.
I really enjoy the variety of the work, you get involved in so much within this department and it really keeps you on your toes, it’s really challenging, really fast-paced. At the end of the day it’s rewarding as you do feel like you’ve achieved something.
We’re quite unique because of who we are – there’s only one Selfridges.
Within the business we have a blend of different restaurants so we have what we classify as own-bought and we also have concessions. Concessions within the business, I’ll give you an example, which is Hix and Aubaine and the own-bought is what falls under my remit. We write all the menus for that, financially we take all the stock takes and the all the purchasing side of that.
The real beauty of the job is that there’s no two days the same which is one of the reasons I like what I do. For example, today I was in just after 6.30am and we’ll look at all the orders and what’s been placed for example, and if there are any timelines on any products that need to be placed over the next few days so we’ll then assess that. We’ll also look at the figures from yesterday and what that looks like, and also, not just from a financial point of view, from a staffing point of view – if everyone’s in a good place. I think you’ve got to come into work with enthusiasm and want to do a good job.
I think if you want to work in a current, forward-thinking, progressive company and you’ve never really looked within the retail sector, I do think we’re quite unique because of who we are – there’s only one Selfridges.
If you want to work somewhere you’d be truly proud to work, if you want to have fun, if you want every day to be different, if you want to make some of the best friends you’re ever going to make, and you want to work with amazing brands, amazing products and really deliver a customer experience to somebody then Selfridges is the place for you.
The first thing I do in the morning when I come in is go to my desk, check all my emails to see if there’s anything I need to respond to straight away, pull up the sales figures for the individual sales people from the previous day, then I’d get straight down to the shop floor and walk it. Walking the floor would be starting at the front of the department and looking at our customer journey for the day so what are our customers going to see on the shop floor. I’m checking things like pricing to make sure we have the right signage out, I’m checking for dust, I’m checking we have the right products out, I’m checking merchandising.
I have a very diverse team. I say this quite a lot but I like to go into work and play out on my shop floor. And it very much feels like playing out, they’re very fun, they’re very passionate, very knowledgeable and it makes a massive difference when people really believe in what they’re doing and are passionate about the product that they’re selling. I feel like we have a lot of passion on the team. I would say to somebody wanting to join Selfridges that if you want to work somewhere you’d be truly proud to work, if you want to have fun, if you want every day to be different, if you want to make some of the best friends you’re ever going to make, and you want to work with amazing brands, amazing products and really deliver a customer experience to somebody then Selfridges is the place for you.
My department manager and my sales manager were great role models for me – they really helped me with my career path, they also believed in me and they could see from just a Christmas temp they progressed me to sales associate, to brand specialist and then to the role I’m in now.
I start at 8:30am. I need to print figures off from the previous da y so I need to find out what the store’s done, what my division’s done and what my actual department’s done and my concessions. We then have a management brief at 915 which consists of all the early managers and the store manager and we talk about the previous day’s performers, green performers and red performers. If you’re a red performer, you need to think about how you’re going to pull back your deficit and how you’re going to drive the business that day. Each day at the management brief, we bring new products. It’s kind of like a show and tell so we can link sell across departments so someone on menswear could see a product that I’ve displayed. If there’s a husband and wife shopping, he might then explain that there’s a fantastic dress that’s just come in on lady’s designer wear and obviously entice the lady to our department, where hopefully, we could make a sale. There’s no time limit on how long you spend with each customer, so it could be 15 minutes, it could be an hour, as long as they leave absolutely happy with their purchase, because if they don’t leave happy with their purchase, they’re only going to bring it back to you and you want a happy customer in the end.
My department manager and my sales manager were great role models for me – they really helped me with my career path, they also believed in me and they could see from just a Christmas temp they progressed me to sales associate, to brand specialist and then to the role I’m in now and I thoroughly enjoy my role.
The customer experience must be the best and the most engaging experience that a person can have when shopping.