Ann Whorrall is the owner of online and high street fashion boutique Olivia May. Ann has a true a passion for fashion, PR, marketing and more.
We find out what a day in the life of Ann Whorrall entails and more importantly, how to steal her job.
Name: Ann Whorrall
Job title: Owner
Company: Olivia May (online and high street fashion boutique)
What does your job role entail?
My job involves running and managing Olivia May from the website to our Oxford boutique. I get to travel all over the world throughout the year. I go to fashion shows and on buying trips and handpick each item for our designer collections. I choose designers that I can meet with and get to know. I think it’s really important to understand their motivation and the inspiration behind their work – it’s fascinating.
Describe your working day or week?
No two days or weeks are the same which I love – it’s so packed full of variety and opportunities. I live in Cheshire where we have an amazing studio. Most photography is done here either on mannequins or models for the website and for our marketing. The shots have got to look incredible for the website, it can be make or break in selling a line. I’m also often working with our staff on promotions, ordering new stock, selecting new ranges and planning out new collections. There’s never a dull moment and although there are always challenges, I’m excited to get stuck in each day.
What key skills do you need to do your job?
A bit of everything I think! I think having a true passion for what you are doing is the most important factor but of course you need to have a really tight handle on things like overall strategy, profit margins, the sales process, marketing and PR. I learn something new every day which is hugely rewarding as a business owner.
What made you decide to go for this job role?
I had always wanted a bricks and mortar store to showcase my own handpicked range of designer collections. So, once the website was successfully running I set about finding premises. I came across an incredible store in North Oxford, surrounded by other high end contemporary stores and I could see it all coming to life instantly. That was almost a year ago now and I haven’t looked back.
Best part of your job?
The best part is seeing new ranges for the first time. The adrenaline is flowing and your mind is racing with how those items will look in store and how customers will respond to them. We have an incredibly loyal customer base who shop online and I often have individual people in mind when I see a new garment.
Worst part of your job?
I can honestly say I don’t have worst part but the transition from one season to another can be a juggle – getting the stock in, getting in photographed and onto the shop floor quickly – it’s all hands on deck.
Most memorable moment at work?
There have been a few really special moments when we’ve helped customers in store with styling and they’ve been so overwhelmed by the way they look, it’s got quite emotional! That’s incredibly satisfying!
If I’m choosing a course to study, what type of course suits this job best?
A business management course will stand you in fantastic stead to be a business owner in the fashion sector – you’re overriding love of fashion is essential but you’ve got to understand the business model to make it a successful commercial venture.
Does work experience really help you to get the dream job?
Without a doubt, yes. Get as much experience as possible and opt for smaller independent boutiques that will give you a more hands on role with access to all aspects of working in and running the business.
Give us a tip on how to steal your job.
Steal my job by documenting your love of fashion – start a blog, create Pinterest boards, contact retailers and designers for work experience and interviews and build up a portfolio of collections and ideas – if you want to turn it into a business, choose a course that will give you the business knowledge and also consider finding a mentor who will offer you advice and guidance based on their experience in similar sectors.