Week Two Reflection

I’m half way through my work experience module and so I thought it would be a good idea to reflect on my experience so far. I feel that it has been extremely helpful for me. It’s been an eye opening for me and though it’s pushed me very much out of my comfort zone I feel that is has been extremely beneficial. I have learnt so much already about not only the area of buying but also about how a large company like Accessorize and Monsoon operates. It’s also opened my eyes to the many opportunities available and made me consider other areas, such as Visual Merchandising. I hope that the next two weeks will continue to help me in deciding my future career and where I will take my Textiles degree once I’ve finished university.

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Work Experience Week Two

Week Two

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24/11/2014
Today was quite busy and unfortunately Anna and Sophie needed to get on with their work independently, so I worked by myself moving stationery and seasonal into the new room.

25/11/2014
Today the day began with a floor meeting, each week a different team has to present and discuss the levels of sales in all of the different areas of Monsoon and Accessorize and explain why the levels have either increased or decreased from the previous year. This was really interesting to listen to.
Today was another busy day, Angels had their sign off for the Autumn Winter 2015 season. Rosie, the head buyer for the Angels team, explained the process from sign off to production. Sign off Is when all products chosen for this season are shown and discussions are had about the products regarding colour, material etc. These alterations will be discussed with the suppliers and the first sample will be amended, this happens until the buyers are happy with the products. When they are happy, they “red seal” the sample, they then send this to the suppliers and the item will be ready for production. The suppliers then send back three of the production samples so the buyers can check them against the red seal sample. Sometimes differences can occur, depending on how obvious these are the product can be changed again or go on for production for store. Differences can occur due to the fact the red seal sample was an individual sample and would not if been produced using large scale machinery. As I was helping organise the grids with all the AW15 samples and pricings, Rosie explained to me what the grades of the products meant, the grades identify what stores the items will be in. There are three grades; All store – items in this grade will be put into every Accessorize/Monsoon store, Mid store – these items will be put in some stores and Top store – these items will be put in the big stores e.g. Westfield where everything will be included. If new products are being tried out they will be put into these stores to see how they sell.
Sophie has set up two meetings for me next week so that I can ask any questions I have so far about what’s going on, what a buyer does etc and also with Hannah who is the Angels Merchandiser. This will be very helpful for me .
After lunch I helped Anna with a few tasks like moving boxes into the new room and making a board for the best selling lip balms etc. She also let me listen into a weekly meeting she has with the Stationary and Seasonal merchandiser explaining any delays with products being produced in which she uses the critical path spreadsheet. Anna explained some samples can be cancelled completely if the sample that has been put into store has not be approved or differs to what has been approved by the buyers

I’ve come to realise actually how informative my days are, though sometimes I feel I’m not really doing much, the amount I take in just from looking at the products or listening to what others are saying has been very beneficial to me. Sophie has asked me to make a list of all the questions I have for them in order to help me as much as possible and make sure I get everything out of this experience that I want. I am considering asking if I can shadow someone from design just for a day or two.

26/11/2014
I began today by trying to update the Angels boards and organise the new room.
There has been a problem recently with samples being sent down to the web team (to be taken photos of for the website) and going missing, web have been complaining to Angels that they have not received the items. However Angels note down when products are sent to them, as a task I was asked to check on image library and the critical path to see if items had been sent to web and if they had been had they been photographed ready to go online.
After this was completed Sophie took me to mock shop, and introduced me to the visual merchandiser. A mock shop is literally a mock up of what the Accessorize and Monsoon stores will look like, the visual merchandiser basically puts the layout of the shop together, this is interesting for me!!
She also discussed with me how I was finding my work experience so far and my thoughts on buying. I told her I was enjoying it but that it was different than what I thought it was going to be like. We also discussed the members of the team, I was unsure what role everyone played. She explained that normally you’ll have The Buyer (Rosie), the assistant buyer (Tarran) and then the Buyers admin assistant (Sophie), you then have the merchandisers, head merch, assistant merch and then admin assistant merch (Hannah). I’d like to know what the role of the merchandisers is as I believed they were the same as visual merchandisers.
Sophie also gave me feedback on how I was doing, she said she was really impressed and that I’ve been very helpful. She even said she didn’t know what she was going to do when I’m gone and I best get a job here. It was so nice to get such positive feedback as I was worrying I wasn’t making a great impression.. They often pile on tasks and sometimes I struggle to get everything done.
Finally I made a list of things that were missing from mock shop, began pulling these items out.
Went down to “help” with sample sale but mostly went shopping, bought some gems and only spent £25! Will post pics later..
SAMPLE SALE DAY! 😄🎁😄

27/11/2014
Today I am working with Anna all day in the stationary and seasonal team. To begin with she asked me to check PhotoFile and the buyers guide for Spring Summer 2014 like I’d done with Angels.
After that I was given the task of completing a power point on Comp Shop, which involves going onto all of Accessorizes competitors websites and print screening their products to see if they differ from the products Accessorize sell. This was much like what we had to do in my current project Making Connections so it was interesting to see the big companies also used this as a tool!
I also made up a board of the Accessorize Christmas items in store at the moment. The company was interested in their packaging and how this could be improved for next year (AW15.)

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Me and Anna also went over to mock shop, I discussed with her that visual merchandising is something I think I’d like to try out so she spoke to the VM at mock shop to see if I could possibly shadow her for one of the days I’m working here. Hopefully this will work out!

28/11/2014
Today I had to find the rest of the Angels products that are missing from mock shop. For the rest of the day my job is to organise and move all items over to the new room. I’ve realised over this week that visual merchandising is something I definitely want to look into further as I feel that though I like to see the development of the product itself I very much like how products are placed together in a store. Perhaps if I was in a different buying team I would prefer the buying side, for example I do feel I am definitely more home interior orientated then fashion products.

 

This week I stayed at YHA Central. I was in an 8 bed dorm which was a little bit manic! I’m hoping that I’m not going to be placed in a room of this size again as I struggled to sleep. I’m finding staying at the youth hostels a lot easier and nicer than I expected, I’ve been meeting very friendly people and its made the whole experience so much easier than if i were to commute every day from Swindon. I’ve also found the tubes a lot easier to navigate than I first anticipated.. Maybe I am a City Girl after all…


Work Experience Week One

17/11/14
Day One

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Today was my first day as an intern for Monsoon Accessorize HQ in London. The office is situated near to the Westfield shopping centre I’m Shepherds Bush. I was introduced to the two women I would be shadowing and working with during my month of work experience, Sophie from Angels – the kids department of Accessorize and Anna, the BA (Buyers Admin Assistant) for the stationery and seasonal department. To begin with I started with a floor walk, and was told what teams were on my floor and where I’d mainly be working. Today I would be working with the Angels kids team. My main task for today was to clear and organise the sample cupboard for Angels. Sophie explained to me that samples are sent in from suppliers and the buyers decide whether or not they will be picked for a season. The seasons that are in the sample cupboard are previous Spring Summer 14, current AW14 and future SS15. All the samples in the cupboard needed to be organised into these 3 collections and anything older than Spring Summer 2014 would be separated into either Sample Sale (all old samples get put into a sale for Staff.. And are super cheap!!) or New Life (which is a charity Monsoon and Accessorize created) After this had been completed, I then worked on an online programme Accessorize use called PhotoFile, which is an online system which all of their products can be found on using the style code on the barcode of the item. I created a list of any errors or missing items, I will need to edit this system and correct all errors.
Finally I was told there is a meeting tomorrow morning, so I was to stock pick all the items needed from the AW14 collection.
I really enjoyed my first day, I was incredibly nervous but everyone is very friendly and I’m looking forward to this new adventure.

18/11/14
Day Two
This morning I needed to find the rest of the stock for the meeting, I just needed to find the jewellery and hair pieces so this didn’t take long. I then pinned all the items onto a board to show the items. I separated them into two sections, jewellery and hair and shoes and bags.

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Whilst the team went in for the meeting I carried on finishing PhotoFile, which I finished creating a list for.
After the meeting I was asked to take photos of items from the AW15 collection for a spreadsheet which Tarran, another BA on the Angels team was creating. I then ran a few errands with Sophie, she showed me where the post room was in case I was asked to go there on my own. We also went upstairs where the techy people are, and Sophie discussed an issue with uploading an item to the website.. I didn’t really understand any of this!
I then had a meeting with Sophie and Tarran. As Sophie is not here after tomorrow, I will be shadowing Tarran instead. My duties for the rest of the week include organising and making sure grids are stocked with the most current sample sent from suppliers. And also helping the teams pack up, as they are all moving to a different area of the office.
After lunch, I had to measure all the bags from the collection of Spring Summer 2015 as when they were put onto the system someone had not added the measurements. The system they use to add new products is called Mercatus Rex.. It’s very confusing!! I needed to add the measurements to this programme.
Finally one of the things I did today was to go downstairs to the kids fitting team with Sophie and Rosie. They needed 5 items from Spring Summer 2015 to be fitted. It was very interesting for me to see the amendments that needed to be made with the products regarding fit. I’d like to witness more fittings if possible whilst I’m here.

19/11/14
Day Three
Today I had to do the same thing as yesterday, measuring bags and entering the values into Mercatus Rex, this time with items from AW14 collection. Sophie said these things should’ve been done when they were added originally but that she’d only worked for the company for two months. I also worked on PhotoFile a little bit, I took pictures where the items were either missing or incorrect.. I will be putting these onto photo file later. I edited the images with the items product code and also saved under the product code so the images are easy to find.
Today I also worked with Anna from Stationery and Seasonal to tidy up the stationery and seasons cupboards, separated into seasons, and sample sale. I love this part of Accessorize! I’m such a perfectionist so I love organising.. A bit sad really.
I then ran some errands for Tarran and Rosie, I went down to the post room, sent items off to couriers, taking photos etc.
I really enjoyed today! I got to be more independent, and didn’t feel like I was just standing behind someone all day. Although I understand this is also an important part of work shadowing , I like being given a task and being able to get on with it.
Tomorrow the Angels team has a big meeting, I will not be in the meeting so I will be working with Anna again.
After work today I went to see the memorial poppies at the Tower of London. It was incredible, I’m quite sad that I didn’t manage to see them earlier as a lot of them have been taken down now. I do feel though that the amount left puts it into perspective how many people lost their lives considering there was at least only a third left.

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20/11/14
Day Four
Today I helped set up a new board for the Angels team and took an old one down for their meeting today. I helped out with the stationery and season team clearing heir cupboard again … This is going to be a long task!
After lunch I ran a few errands for Anna. Including a floor walk, this basically meant I had to walk around the floor asking people’s opinions of two products that Anna had given me, they varied slightly in colour. The product was sent to them by a supplier but the buyers were not happy with it so requested another sample, again they were not happy so were sent an alternative. They can only change the product three times so I had to ask the floor whether they liked the first one or the last one. Most people liked the first one, as the colour looked cleaner and more vibrant, this was an interesting concept for me.. The floor would potentially be customers so their opinion is valued. Anna told me this is a common occurrence, so I shouldn’t be worried to ask everyone. It was nice to talk to people in other teams as well as I hadn’t had the chance before. She told me she needed another floor walk done either today or tomorrow about phone cases, at present Accessorize only sell iPhone cases yet they want to know if they should sell for a more varied range.
After this I carried on with clearing the cupboard. And i completed it! Everything is finally organised, I love being able to finish a task like this.. I’m a perfectionist!
And finally, Angels have a meeting tomorrow with head for Portugal to show them AW14 products, I had to organise and make sure the grids were set up professionally and looked appealing. I didn’t get to finish this but I will in the morning, along with hair and jewellery. I also need to stock up the grids on missing items.

21/11/14
Day Five
This morning was difficult. I was given two tasks and not a lot of time to do them. The first being to finish off the grids and boards for the meeting with Portugal of AW14. And then to double check all the items for the campaign shoot which is happening next week in Mexico. Unfortunately, though the box had been checked a few items were incorrect or missing and I had to find them. These samples could not be found anywhere, i even went across different floors but was unsuccessful. Looking at the time I realised it was nearly 11am, so tried to carry on as fast as possible with the grids, but I didn’t get to finish them before the meeting and a lot of the items were missing from the grid. I think it was quite unfair for me to be given these tasks on my own in such a short period of time, but perhaps I should’ve asked for help.
After this I helped Anna for a little bit, the cupboard needed a little bit more organising.
After lunch, I was sent to collect a bag which had arrived downstairs. I also helped out Tarran to check off the carnet items and list with someone else in charge of the trip packing etc. It was also moving day today, so everything around the desks had to be cleared, old boards cleaned and removed etc. I am finding it quite hard to be split between the two teams. I find myself not being able to finish jobs which I feel doesn’t put me in the best light, me and Anna discussed this and she will be talking to Tarran so that we can organise this better.

My first week has been a big eye opener. It’s been an entirely new experience, from not only starting an internship in a brand new career and in a new work environment but also living in London in youth hostels. I’ve found it hard but exciting and informative at the same time and I’m looking forward to the next three weeks. I am considering asking if I could perhaps do a week of work shadowing in either a merchandising or styling team to see if this would be an area I’d be interested in as well.


So the journey begins…

So today my work experience journey began! I travelled from Swindon to the big smoke that is London. I am incredibly excited but my nervousness is overwhelming me so far.. I’m sure I will be ok once I start at Accessorize HQ. The unknown has always frightened me but as I said, I’m so excited for this, it’s an incredible experience and what a thing to be able to put on my CV! For the first week I’m staying at YHA Earls Court. Everyone is very friendly and all seem to be in the same boat.. A bit nervous, not really knowing what your doing! I will be staying here until Friday, I’ll go home for the weekend and then come back and stay at YHA Central. And so my traveller lifestyle begins..


Self-Relfective Statement

I feel that the start of this new project, making connection, has been very successful and I am looking forward to progressing into the next stage of the module. I feel that this project has made me into a much more independent designer due to the fact we had more freedom with what we wanted to explore. It was interesting to see how everyone had different ideas of where to take their own projects; this was visible when presenting our Pecha Kucha presentations to small groups. I feel the presentations were beneficial; the groups were small enough that it did not feel overwhelming yet we were able to see where everyone else was taking the project, which in itself was inspiring.

I found researching all the different designers and companies very influential. I found it easy to organise myself. However, when I came to deciding on my final 9 I struggled to single out the companies which I preferred, due to the large amount of research I had completed. Perhaps if I had written an overall statement on each designer this would have been easier for me.

WGSN has been a vital tool for me to use in order to gain knowledge of the current trends and themes within the industry now. Visiting WGSN enabled me to create my on-trend colour palette. I also found Homebuildlife and Elle decoration helpful throughout my research.

I have been trying to experiment with my drawing skills more this term after feedback from last year. I have been experimenting with different techniques and media and although I’m happy with the results I have not completed a huge body of work in my sketchbook, I will continue with experimentation in my sketchbook in the second part of this project.

After the research period I decided to choose the company Harlequin to design my collection for due to their bright colours and patterns and overall ethnic feel. The company has a range of different collections which all have their own colour palette and overall theme. Due this diversity in their styles I feel I can be quite free to explore different techniques whilst creating my collection.

The digital stitch sessions I attended were very useful; though we had briefly covered the techniques last year I did not particularly like the programme and results I achieved. This term I feel that it is a skill I have gained knowledge in and would like to perfect and use in my practice. I also feel that it was beneficial for me to work in print again and revisit some techniques I had not covered since the first year.


Roath Park Botanical Garden

Today Emily Woods and I decided to visit the Roath Park Botanical Gardens to do some drawings.

My theme is Florals and Ethnic patterns and I have decided to focus on North Africa for inspiration due to previous inspiration from my trip to Tunisia and my upcoming trip to Morrocco. I will focus on their flowers and plant life and patterns and tiles found in these places. Whilst in Cardiff I need to find exotic plants, which is why I thought it would be a good idea to visit the botanical gardens.

We completed some drawings using different techniques and also took photographs..

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Research into my theme..

I have been researching my theme of Ethnic patterns and florals using Pinterst. After a tutorial, I have decided I need to hone in on my theme a little more. Do I want to look at geometric patterns? What kind of ethnic patterns? How will I collaborate florals and patterns together? Will the florals originate from the same place as the ethnic patterns?

I believe I have decided to focus on North African patterns and florals, after being inspired by my trip to Tunisia and choosing the Global Cultural Collaboration in Morocco for field I feel I will be able to gain a lot of visual research to help me with this theme.

Research

You can visit my Pinterest pages by following this link : http://www.pinterest.com/bethc3494/

I’ve also found Pinterest helpful whilst researching my chosen company, Harlequin. I will be researching using other visual sources as well.