I suppose you could say I am still a bit of a newbie at Tesco; having been in the company just short of a year and on the graduate scheme since January. I initially joined the company on the first F&F clothing internship back in July 2012.
There is something to be said for ‘throwing you in at the deep end,’ at a company as large as Tesco. If I’m totally frank, my lack of ‘understanding’ about the business, and those senior figures at F&F was what made the internship and indeed the entire six week project a success – we were given total free rein and encouraged to network through the business; use resources to find the best people possible to help us approach the project, and ultimately show those involved in the internship what we could really do!
So why work at F&F? Supermarket clothing is sometimes perceived as unfashionable and basic but is it…Really? In the case of F&F the reality couldn’t be more different, with a six page spread in Grazia magazine, F&F’s very own catwalk event held at London’s iconic fashion landmark - Somerset House, and the latest Spring/Summer Swimwear ad campaign voted ‘campaign of the week’ by Retail Week, surprising the nation with its H&M-like appearance, I think the question really is; why wouldn’t you want to work for F&F?
I’ve now worked at Tesco for ten months, currently as a trainee buyer on kids’ accessories and we’re all working on some beautiful products for Autumn Winter 13. We’re also secretly bursting with inspiration and excitement, about the prospect of working on Spring Summer 14 and the fantastic opportunities out there for F&F to grasp hold of. What I love most about working for F&F at Tesco is how enthusiastic everyone is about clothes, shoes and all things fashion – I enjoy coming into work each morning and seeing all the wonderful things everybody wears; from the simple and stylish, to the print ‘mix and matcher’s’ there is never a dull moment with the clothes of the F&F teams, that’s for sure!
(My typical office wear)
Trends for AW13 and SS14 are set to follow in the footsteps of the past two hugely successful seasons at F&F. Particularly for kids footwear and accessories, our trends are one to watch; a pop of neon and a flash of fur and generally taking a very large step away from that ‘supermarket stereotype’ it’s true to say that our collections this year really are at their best!
Friends of mine will often quiz me, “so what do you actually do?” honestly, I don’t blame them. Buying is often thought of as being overly glamorous – shiny hallways and glass front rooms, neat rails of product tucked away, and a press room of every girls dream! Day-to-day tasks involving catwalk shows, flying all over the world and meeting and greeting… you know ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ type thing! The reality of a trainee buyer is, well, a little different from this idealised career. Not to dampen the tone, but does anyone really have that role? A typical day as a trainee buyer involves contacting suppliers, attending fit sessions, and reviewing ‘lab dip’ approvals to ensure pantone colours of a product are as we expect. Not to mention working closely with the merchandisers which is a key part of the role – together we ensure we are selecting the right product at the right time and price to remain competitive in the market. I wouldn’t want to shatter any aspiring young buyers’ dreams, but in terms of those ‘shiny floors’, at F&F the office is often lined with samples and my desk 90% of the time is peppered with samples to be returned to their home in the cupboard. But that’s what it’s all about really – working with your product, it’s being surrounded by that product that makes things so much more exciting!
(My desk with lots of colour tests)