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What is a head of global product and merchandising

Victoria Jones, 38, lives in Street, Somerset and is a head of global product and merchandising at Clarks.

I have been heading up the global product and merchandising functions at Clarks in the UK since the beginning of March 2021.

I’ve worked at Clarks for just over three years now. I joined to lead the trading and merchandising team for UK & Europe.

My managing director from a previous role had joined Clarks as president of the European region, and so when an opportunity came up to join the brand and team he gave me a call and the rest is history.

The job day-to-day

It’s varied, challenging and sometimes intense, but on the whole super fun and rewarding.

I love working with product, and closely with my team and our teams across the organisation to bring our brand to life and to develop great products for our consumers.

I am very lucky as my job means I get to be both creative and commercial – it is a real balance most of the time!

What a chief product and merchandising officer does

I head up the global product and merchandising teams for our Clarks Originals and Clarks brands – men, women and kids. This includes design, product line management and global merchandising.

I am responsible for setting the product strategy and proposition and leading the teams to deliver the seasonal product collections on brand, on time and at costs that enables us to drive business performance. We then work with and hand over to our commercial teams to take to market through our distribution channels, serve our consumers and deliver our business performance.

What do you love about your job?

Many things. I love working in a global role and across different channels – our business is varied across the different markets we serve, so it offers up some great challenges but also lots of opportunities to keep learning.

Working with our teams across our brands. I have a great team who are so passionate about our brand, the products we create and pushing forward to develop the brand further for the future. It’s challenging and hard work but we also have fun doing it.

Finally, as I said above, I love being able to balance the creative with the commercial, a role in product, buying and merchandising is brilliant for that and it’s the thing that I think I love most about what I do.

My advice

Be consumer focussed. If you get too caught up in passion for the product on a personal perspective you can lose sight of the end consumer and what matters to them – ultimately that is who we are here to serve.

Relationships and influencing are key. Be prepared to work at them, manage them and find the compromises that deliver solutions.

Be sure you get excited by the creative and the commercial – a balance of art and science is a must and important you enjoy both.

Get experience across different product categories and channels – it helps you to bring a fresh, independent perspective.

Charlotte Harding
Charlotte Harding
Charlotte is a journalist and the co-founder of The Women's Work Collective.
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