We caught up with our very own fierce female Hazel, our Senior Card buyer to talk about how she got involved in buying, the partnership with Ovarian Cancer Action for Mother’s Day and of course… cards! She also picks out her top 3 Mother’s Day cards & upcoming trends for 2018.
What did you study & how did you get into buying?
I studied French and Spanish which has been of very little use to me in my Buying role but a good excuse for a holiday! Having worked in retail for years, I’d always wondered what happened ‘behind the scenes’ in a head office role so did some research and actually started off in Merchandising. I soon realised I wanted more involvement in the product and the jumped at the chance to move to Buying when an opportunity came up – I’ve not looked back since!
What advice would you give to anyone thinking of getting into this area of work?
You don’t necessarily need to have a Fashion & Design background to get into Buying – you just need to have a creative eye, follow trends and know what sells! I’d also say don’t shy away from work experience and intern roles as these are a great way to get your foot in the door and get yourself noticed within a business.
How does a typical day in the life of a card buyer look?
So varied! A typical day would normally involve product selection, supplier meetings, meeting with the design team, deciding how much to buy with our Merchandising team, product presentation and sign offs. We also visit trade shows & suppliers both in the UK and overseas so will travel quite often.
What do you look for in a card design?
Something different…personally I love a pun but what we buy for our stores is not just personal taste, we have to make sure we’ve got a good mix of styles and there is something for all our customers.
Which are you top 3 Mother’s Day cards & which one are you sending to your mum?
It’s a tough one but I love the blue floral design in our Charity range – I’ll probably send this one (hopefully Mum hasn’t read this!). I also think the innovation range is great, particularly the flower bouquet design. My third choice would be the cats design in our ‘Mama Bear’ range – all the illustrations in this range are really cute but my Mum and I are both cat-fans (plus it includes a pun!) so this would be my pick! Check out our Mother’s Day cards here.
Tell us more about the partnership with Ovarian Cancer Action…
We’ve been working in partnership with Ovarian Cancer Action for 10 years now. We do a range of 6 cards every year and donate 25p from the sale of each card to Ovarian Cancer Action – this year’s range is mix of floral designs with metallic finishes. We’ve donated over £70k so far and are really proud to be able to support such a great cause.
Do you support any other charities?
Yes, as well as the Mother’s Day programme we have a similar Father’s Day programme with donations going to Orchid. We also have an established Christmas Card Charity programme where we support 18 charities through the sale of our Charity Card Packs.
With digital becoming ever more important, why do you think people still send cards?
I think with the world becoming more digital every day it’s nice to have something that still requires putting pen to paper. There’s a nice feeling to picking, sending and receiving a card that you just don’t get from an email or text message.
What trends are you noticing at the moment and what projects are you working on?
We’ve just finished working on Christmas 2018 and are starting on Valentines 2019 – we work almost a year ahead! Innovation is key, whether it be musical cards, new finishes or new formats we are always looking for ways to make differentiate our card offer and make it extra special.
What’s the most random card idea you’ve been sent?
I can’t single any out but we do get some extremely rude submissions! Some of the conversations we end up having in the office would sound very strange out of context!
What do you do when you’re not working?
Travel & Eat!