Friday, 31 May 2013

Religion Behind the Scenes: Number Crunching with our Merchandiser

It's all going on at Religion HQ; as well as design we've got sales, marketing, merchandising, visuals and graphics happening too. Read on to hear about a day in the life of our Merchandise Manager and spreadsheet Queen, Stephanie. Not to mention her style favourites and guilty pleasures....

Steph wears the Myth Jumper and Glamrock Trousers

For those who don't know what a merchandiser does – sum up your job:

Numbers… lots of numbers! 

Merchandising is the management of the stock from the buying stage right through to the clearance stages.  As the ‘purse strings’ of the brand, it is my job to manage the spend; which is often a struggle between product and budget.  I work closely with the design teams and analyze the historical sales data, to form a strong buy for each of our diverse retail locations.  This takes place 6-8 months ahead of the season, while I trade the current collections.  The key of my role is to maximize profit and minimize waste, therefore driving good sellthroughs and keeping markdown costs low.

What is a typical day at Religion for you?

Mondays are always pretty manic in buying and merchandising; pulling off analysis from the previous week's sales, reporting and attending trade meetings, but the rest of the week varies week on week.  Once I have checked through emails, I look at the daily sales figures to see how the stores are trading for the week so far taking any actions needed at that point.  Then I start working through priorities which would include new store openings - for example the new store we have just launched in Ibiza, working on store sales targets and monitoring product and store.   The busiest times for me are when we are doing each buy 4 times a year and going into sale.  The preparation for this takes weeks from the initial analysis stage, to showcasing the collection to our retail managers, to actually doing the buy.  The buy is good fun but hard work, racking up all the product and creating cohesive packages is both exciting and nerve-racking as once it’s placed it’s placed and you have to trust the next season will be as good if not better than the last.    

What’s the best part of your job?

Going out to stores and seeing the finished product in it's natural habitat.  I love getting into the stores and seeing how it all fits together, and see how the staff and customers respond to the product- it’s completely different from seeing it here in the showroom. 

Which pieces are you loving from the SS13 Trans collection?

I absolutely love the Divination Maxi dress.  With the casual,easy print and cool summer shape this dress is a great throw on piece for casual day wear.  I’m also loving the Satan Jumper, which is great for the chilly summer evenings.  Both look great under a leather jacket.

The Divination Maxi is perfect for summer

Bag the Satan Jumper here

What’s your style staple?

It would have to be a good leather jacket! A great investment that can be worn all year round.  I wore my Hopper leather jacket under the knitted cape in Autumn and brighten it up with a printed summer scarf for Spring/Summer.

Hopper Jacket - a real all rounder
Where is your favourite spot in London?

Does Essex count??

What is your guilty pleasure?
Table tennis and white wine Red Bull spritzers - not necessarily at the same time. 

If you've got what it takes to work at Religion, we are currently looking for a Showroom Sales Intern - see the details here.

Take yourself 20% off the collection in House of Fraser this weekend, both online and in store. Find our womenswear in London Oxford Street, Manchester Deansgate, Birmingham, Huddersfield, Bristol and Glasgow branches.