Meet Mike, buyer at Barkers and currently rocking a wicked mo' for Movember. We chat to him about his role, his journey with the company and what he loves about what he does.
What’s your role?
I am currently the buyer for Barkers tailoring, shirting, shoes and trousers, along with a few other categories thrown in the mix.
How did you get started working for Barkers?
After completing my OE in 2009 and settling in New Zealand I started at Barkers in 2010 as 2IC at our Albany store. I had a background in retail store management and product sourcing in the UK.
Tell us about how your roles have changed over this time.
After a few months in store, there were big changes at Barkers. A new executive team came on board and they were determined to take the brand in a new direction. I contacted the new CEO to let him know my background and that I was wanting to further my career with Barkers. After 10 months in store, an opportunity came up to join the team at the support office as the Marketing and E-commerce Coordinator. I jumped at the chance and it turned out to be a great foot in the door. At this time, the team was just 12 strong and I reported directly to the CEO. I had great exposure into all facets of the business as with only 12 people everyone helped with all tasks when needed.
Crammed into a character loft just off Queen Street there was a start-up feeling as the brand was fully overhauled from the ground up. Within 18 months an opportunity came up to officially join the buying team. I have now been a buyer with Barkers for over 5 years and have developed every product category in this time. The office team has now grown to over 30 people but as we have grown as a team, we have managed to keep the culture strong with a small team feeling. A big part of this is that as we have been encouraged to be candour, everyone’s opinions are still heard and valued not matter how much the team has grown.
Tell us what you like about working for Barkers and your role.
Working for Barkers, it’s cliché but it would have to be the team of people around me. Everyone is passionate about what we do, determined to drive the brand forward and always seeking to improve the way we do things.
For my role specifically, I am fortunate enough to travel the world which for me is a highlight – whether it’s trend forecasting trips or visiting our manufacturing partners I regularly visit amazing places and people. It’s not all glamorous though, there’s also a lot of time spent in the office looking at spreadsheets and running reports. It’s rewarding to be influencing the trends and styles that are an everyday part of New Zealand culture. It’s satisfying walking down the street seeing people wearing the garments that I created. Whether it’s the latest seasons trends or items from a couple of years ago that are still looking great and have lasted the test of time. It’s impossible not to spot something from Barkers as you walk around, even on the streets of London I can pick out the Kiwis as they are wearing Barkers (or an AB’s Jersey!).
What’s up with that mo.
It’s my bit for Movember this year, I forget that it’s there until I meet someone I’ve not seen for a while and they recoil a little and then add the obligatory “it actually really suits you”. I’m trying to raise awareness for Men’s Mental health and suicide prevention. A lot of pressure comes with my role and day to day life, there are deadlines daily, I’ve got a young family and everything is a big juggling act, it’s not all fun and games. I am fortunate enough to have a strong group of family and friends around me to help pick me up when needed. For too many people the support isn’t there and it’s a taboo subject which we all need to address. I’m still looking for donations, I only need $125 to reach my target…. https://mobro.co/13788226?mc=1