Emerging Markets E-Commerce

New launch of a multi-brand platform for emerging markets

The Brief

A dual venture by two global powerhouses in the e-commerce landscape, this new business is now heading up the overall buying and marketing strategy for 11 emerging market locations which until now had been running as independent businesses.

We were tasked with finding a Buying Director to be based in London as a central point of contact for all of the brands featured on the sites as well as overhauling the buy for each location, bringing new brands on board and creating a standard practice for all negotiations which had until now been done locally.

The Process

With several management consultants at the helm of the business in each location and very little in terms of people who understood the fashion industry, our first assignment was being able to demonstrate our intrinsic knowledge of this world and win the trust of people who were numbers rather than product focused.

The team in London consisted of the CEO, CFO and a PA in a serviced office so there was no picture to be painted in terms of environment and culture. Much of the business was conducted via Skype due to the different time zones and there were some strong characters to deal with who had been running their ships alone with little interference from head office until now.

In order to gain a little more insight into how this particular client worked, we needed to get a reading on how they interviewed talent themselves so we curated a shortlist of people with buying backgrounds who were able to demonstrate a variety of skills. The talent was all clearly informed of this and understood that the process would not be a standard interview.

The result of this was a really interesting window into the client's interview process which we felt was very generic and wasn't necessarily getting the best out of the people they were meeting.

We had an open and honest conversation with the client about the talent they had seen and ensured that anyone else they met were briefed on the interview style as well as injecting some life into the process for the client. With some gentle guidance which was clearly outside their comfort zone, the client adjusted their tone slightly and opened up the human side of the company. We were then able to present a new candidate who had a mixed background of both luxury department store buying as well as working within e-commerce for a global auction site who was armed with an array of information to present in order to showcase her skills in the most useful way to the client.

The Result

Once we had successfully placed and installed the Buying Director, the client came back to us for more advice on hiring into the fashion industry as well as other hires to support their new hire.

By offering a candid approach we fostered a strong relationship and what was initially a tricky role to work on was placed successfully and has made a postive global impact on the business and its reputation with their partners as well as the products their customers can now access.