Name and position: Jessica King, Buyer at AlexandAlexa.com Brief history of how you got to where you are now: I was desperate to work in fashion from quite a young age, so skipped university and went straight into a reception / admin position at a footwear manufacturer. This allowed me to get a great overview of the different roles within the industry, from design through to buying and merchandising. After a year supporting the team there I was promoted to train as a wholesale merchandiser, but always knew I would eventually like to move into buying. I was thrilled when I eventually secured a buyer’s admin role at an emerging online retailer and over the years have worked my way up to buyer level through opportunities at a variety of fantastic ecommerce businesses. It takes a lot of hard work and determination to find your way in such a competitive industry, but if you are lucky enough find a company which invests in your development and values your ability the rewards can be fantastic. Favourite part of your job? There is nothing like the buzz that comes from discovering a fantastic new brand. Sometimes you see a collection and your gut instinct tells you that you have found something really special. It is an incredibly satisfying feeling to see a strong sales reaction to something which you have taken a risk and backed, and lovely to be able to feedback to the designer that your customers love their range. Biggest hurdle or challenge you have faced or still face? In this climate there is no room for complacency; last week’s best seller can just as easily be next week’s worst. You have to watch your sales figures like a hawk, reaction to trends in trading as quickly as possible, whether that is buying into what’s working or moving away from what is slowing down. Your favourite piece in the new collection? My favourite piece in the new collection is definitely the fur trimmed quilted jacket! The oversized pockets and huge faux fur trim are beautiful and the quilting adds a great sporty edge. I love the fact that it could be worn over a cocktail dress or thrown on with jeans and a tee for a chic weekend look Your favourite restaurant? If I’m feeling flush, the food at Dinner by Heston is absolutely unreal, but after my monthly wardrobe top –up has lightened my purse, Ping Pong in Westbourne Grove is my go to restaurant for lovely food and great service What are you reading right now? A combination of last week’s Sunday Times’ supplements and the October issue of Vogue, I love the transition between seasons and planning my wardrobe for the months ahead, so scour every inch of the new season issues for inspiration. Most stylist celebrity – or who do you admire? I would love to be East-London cool, but in truth have never been able to master the edgy, rock and roll look. I always gravitate towards more polished styling, so am inspired by the likes of Olivia Palermo and being of the Spice Girls era, can’t help but love Victoria Beckham’s cinched waist and midi skirt style. My fashion hero is definitely the blogger Leandra Medine aka the ‘Man Repeller’, I’m a major fan of oversized silhouettes, shoulder pads, boyfriend jeans with heels and several other looks which generally repel men. If my boyfriend gives me the ‘what the hell are you wearing’ double take, I know I have hit the fashion nail on the head! Key investment piece for the autumn: The aforementioned quilted jacket! Secret to success? Self-Belief - never allow yourself to be intimidated by a challenging situation, break down what needs to be done into a manageable list, be confident in your own ability and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your Moto / saying for life: ‘What would Mum say?’ She is my hero and has the most impeccable judgement, it never fails!  

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