5 Minutes With Members of John Lewis’ Buying Team

When was John Lewis founded and what is its purpose?

John Lewis was founded by John Spedan Lewis in 1864. The partnership was founded by Spedan Lewis to create an inclusive working environment at a time when society was ever changing in its views towards working conditions and practices.

What got you into retail in the first place?

We all have different backgrounds which led us into retail but, overall, we all enjoy the fast paced and dynamic nature of the business. We are all very passionate about inspiring product and great customer service.

Describe your role and responsibilities?

We are responsible for supporting the end to end buying process from idea conception through to the physical product on the shop floor.

What is the most challenging aspect of your job?

The current retail climate and the ever-increasing pace of change.

And the most rewarding?

When we see our customers loving our products and services. Also working for the partnership with such a rich history and legacy in the UK.

What are the benefits of being on the Brand Licensing Europe Retail Mentoring Programme?

It has given us an opportunity to understand how licensing can benefit our business and the suppliers that we work with. We buy our licensed products through distributors and the programme has given us a broader understanding to aid our relationships and negotiations.

What advice would you give someone who is considering embarking on a career in retail?

Make sure that you are passionate about the product and have a good insight into competitors and the consumer drivers. Retail is fun but challenging so it is important to love what you do.

And what advice would you give retailers considering a move into licensing?

Consider how the license benefits the product and the customer, make sure the license adds something to the product and keeps it inspiring. Also make sure that the license is in line with your brand values.

What upcoming trends are you seeing for both retailers and customer interests?

With the rise of online-only retailers, it is important to offer the customer a full experience to give them a reason to still shop on the high street.

What would you say is the biggest risk for the retail sector, given the current climate?

Online-only retailers and consumers having less disposable income – they are more considerate about how they spend it and are choosing to spend it on experiences rather than physical products. The environment is becoming increasingly important to customers and retailers alike, so it is important that retailers adapt their approach to ensure they are trading in a sustainable manner and this is relayed back to customers.

BLE takes place from 1-3 October at ExCeL London and retailers can register to attend for free at www.brandlicensing.eu/register-now

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