DARING TO BE DIFFERENT
Passionate. Creative. Professional. International. Empowering. Collaborative. Ethically responsible. Supportive. Family-owned. Monsoon Accessorize is a retailer like no other. And that’s because we care about our customers, products and the people that make them. People who, like us, want to bring something different to the high street. Making our retail careers just that little bit different too.
Amy - Distribution Centre
I have been at Monsoon for over six years and started my career as a colleague in the Inbound Admin Office, I have progressed through the roles within this team and I have now been in my current role of Supervisor for three months. Although I am still finding my feet in a few areas I am enjoying my new role and I am looking forward to the challenges ahead.
My typical day: I would normally arrive at work at about 6:30am to 7:00am. I would begin by checking through my emails and preparing reports for the morning Operations meeting. After the Operations meeting I would return to the office and support the day-to-day activities of the team.
Our general responsibilities consist of organising all deliveries into the DC, preparing paperwork for the goods to be received and the declarations to HMRC for goods leaving site. We work to very strict timescales to ensure that all HMRC regulations are adhered to. I am also involved in projects that are key to developing and streamlining the business.
Things I have learnt: Since being at Monsoon I have gained a very good understanding of the business and its processes. I have learnt that the DC is very process driven and target orientated. I have also learnt about HMRC regulations for importing and declaring goods which I now use on a day-to-day basis.
Annabel – Channel Merchandising, Trading Team. (Branch Merchandising)
The best thing about working for Monsoon Accessorize is getting to work with such a variety of international markets and cultures. I feel privileged to travel internationally to countries that I might otherwise never visit, for a brand that I feel truly passionate about. The most exciting thing I have worked on was the first Libya store opening. I built the new store stock package and was actually able to go out to the country to help set up the store for its opening.
How I got my job: I saw the role for an International Junior Branch Merchandiser advertised and thought it sounded amazing. I applied then and there online and had a telephone interview a few days later. I then had two interviews at the head office before being offered the role. Since working for the company, I have been promoted twice and I’m now a Senior Branch Merchandiser.
One of the most surprising things about working here was finding out how ethically aware such a large company is. We try to recycle and save energy where possible and the company also has its own charity, the Monsoon Accessorize Trust, funding projects in Asia to help disadvantaged women and children.
My typical day: I arrive at work at about 8:45am and eat breakfast whilst checking emails and reviewing trade. In the morning I often lead a meeting with the Branch Merchandisers on my team to analyse performance and priorities for the week. We’ll discuss the actions we are going to take to optimise trade.
Around 12.00pm I take a lunch break, sometimes buying lunch from the canteen downstairs. In the afternoon, I’m in several meetings to review our ways of working and processes. Our aim is to make them leaner, more efficient and ensure they are adding value.
Towards the end of the day I’ll have a quick catch up with one of the Branch Merchandisers on my team, and then head home at about 6pm.
Chris - Visual Merchandising
I joined the company as a temp in 1997 after helping my sister who was a Manager of one of the stores change a lightbulb in her store. I loved the feel of the company and worked my way to Assistant Manager, then Manager of a stand alone Accessorize store in Windsor, gaining visual merchandising experience within these roles.
I was surprised by how much I enjoy arranging jewellery and bags! In 2003 I got the role I had always desired, which was the Mobile Visual Merchandiser for central London. After a couple of years, I moved into the office to be a Visual Merchandising Specialist for Accessorize. This role was great, I really enjoyed working with all the different departments, and working on improving the VM communication we gave to stores. In 2010, I became Visual Merchandising Manager for Accessorize. I am very proud of this role, and enjoy working with a fantastic team.
The best thing about working for Monsoon Accessorize is the people and the ethos, you feel like you are all in it together pushing for the same goal. The company has more than doubled in size since I started, although it still keeps the close knit feel. I am very proud of who I work for, I am probably biased, but I think I have the best team going. I even met my Wife through Monsoon Accessorize!
My typical day: I arrive at work just before 8.00am - I like to plan out my day and answer any emails. I’ll then meet with members of my team to talk through the day’s and week’s projects and deadlines. I love how varied days can be, from supporting our Franchise Partners and Country Managers with any VM queries, to working with the other departments on the seasonal VM strategy.
Gillian - Corporate Social Responsibility
The thing that most surprised me when I started working at Monsoon Accessorize was how friendly everyone was. Initially I thought it was because I was ‘new’ but it’s not, colleagues are a pleasure to work with. I’ve learnt that everyone has different priorities and it’s worth persevering with an idea to bring it to fruition.
I’ve spent all my working life in retail, in a number of different departments. Before joining Monsoon Accessorize I spent four and a half years working for the trading arm of the charity Shelter. I decided that I wanted to return to high street retailing; saw the position advertised and thought it would be perfect. I applied online and then had two interviews. I then needed to meet some of the trustees including Peter Simon and following this, was offered the job.
One of the most memorable and unusual things I’ve worked on here is organising a fundraising party for Monsoon’s 40th anniversary. There was Indian dancing, a snake charmer, delicious Indian food, a traditional drummer and everyone had lots of fun. We also set up and ran a project over a number of years that has resulted in the ‘Artisan’ range of products.
My typical day: The first thing I do is check emails: most of the projects that the Monsoon Accessorize Trust funds are in India, so due to the time difference I’ll often receive emails overnight that I need to reply to quickly before people in India go home. A number of products that we’re sourcing are also made in India and this requires careful planning with colleagues in the Delhi office.
Depending on the time of the year, I’ll spend the morning planning for charity week, a sample sale or a head office fundraising event. Lunch is usually at my desk and I’ll spend some time catching up on events in Asia and also ‘eco’ fashion happenings.
In the afternoon I’ll often have meetings with colleagues from different departments in Head Office such as marketing, retail operations and the web teams as we need to ensure that messages and stories are shared with colleagues in branches and customers both in branches and increasingly online.
Hilary - Technical Manager
I started working for Monsoon Accessorize in 2004. I had introduced myself to a Senior Technologist at a home-workers’ meeting at the Ethical Trading Initiative and suggested that if there was ever a job vacancy I would be very interested. I was interviewed and accepted a temporary job working four days a week. I was subsequently taken on permanently to manage all accessories across Monsoon and Accessorize.
I still work four days a week, which is great, and enjoy managing a really wide product area and great team. I am really lucky as I personally look after Indian bags, they are absolutely beautiful and many are hand embroidered/beaded. My job involves keeping up-to-date with new legislation which may affect our product for both our UK and international shops. I work with the British Standards Institute to review/develop new standards for jewellery. I visit suppliers all over the world in order to drive product improvements and ensure our products are the best quality they can be. I also work closely with the buying team, making changes to products at the development stage to ensure they are fit for purpose and will not disappoint our customers.
My typical day: I arrive at work at about 8:30am and answer any queries on overnight e-mails from India and China. In the morning, I’ll attend a conference call with our India Quality Manager to discuss any issues we may have product quality and how we will manage the improvements with the supplier. Then I will head into a meeting to discuss the Company's International expansion and the different technical standards needed for products to meet international legal requirements. I’ll have a quick lunch whilst reviewing circulars from laboratories regarding changing testing standards. I’ll have a ont-to-one catch up with a junior team member to discuss progress made and her training needs before heading home.
Joanne Wibrew - International Change Coordinator
I have been with Monsoon Accessorize for nine years now, and I am only twenty five! Seven of those years were spent in store, alongside studying, and I have been working in International in Head Office for the past two years. I started off in the Operations team, before moving onto projects, and most recently have started a new role in Communications. Working as part of the International team has been amazing, and I have learnt so much in such a short space of time. From putting together an International Conference for over 100 of our partners, to travelling to Norway to help set up our subsidiary business out there – the opportunities have been vast! What I love about Monsoon Accessorize is that it really does care about its people, and gives its employees the freedom to suggest new ideas and ways of working. You really do feel part of a community here.
Lisa lambdon - Supervisor Distribution Centre
I have worked for Monsoon Accessorize for eight years. Starting off in with the Logistics team before moving to the International Cage & now I am an Operations Supervisor in the Despatch Department. I can honestly say no two days are the same here! It is a challenging environment at times but we always manage to deliver sometimes the seemingly impossible. The best thing about working here is the great mix of characters we have in the DC.
Stacey - Distribution Centre
I’ve worked with the Company for nearly eight years now and was promoted two years ago to a managerial role at the Distribution Centre. I’d describe my role as busy and varied – I really enjoy managing and motivating my team and the logistical challenges of keeping stock moving to over 1000 stores.
The atmosphere at the Distribution Centre is excellent – it is hard work but there are lots of opportunities to get involved in new development areas and help make noticeable improvements, which are very rewarding to see come to life. My favourite things about working here are the people I work with, everyone’s very hard working and there’s a real sense of teamwork which is great.