After four years of technical translation work, I turned to an altogether “softer” product area, much closer to my heart! Working with a number of international yarn spinners, and selling to luxury knitwear manufacturers such as Ballantyne Cashmere, Clan Douglas and Jaeger, as well as household names like Marks & Spencer, gave me a varied insight into the fashion industry. Through the coaching of my then boss (and mentor) my interest in, and appreciation of this sector continued to grow.
The opportunity to join the UK buying office of the world’s largest mail order group, Otto Versand, was not to be missed, and I progressed to the role of Director for Textiles. This included overseeing the buying of numerous brands, including sports and sports fashion brands such as Speedo, Elle, Fred Perry, Kangol, Kickers, Ben Sherman, CAT, Ultimo, Shellys Shoes and USA PRO. A thorough understanding of brands (from concept to commerce) was gained over nine years with the Otto group .
Joining USA PRO in 2001 as Sales & Marketing Director, my principle responsibilities included brand and business development, as well as heading up marketing & PR, within the UK and internationally. This involved the planning and implementation of sales strategies, appointment and management of distributors and agents, identifying commercial opportunities and realizing these. During my eight years with USA PRO, the brand evolved to become a key player in the fitness sector, with presence in prestigious retail throughout Europe and beyond.
Living in Switzerland for 11 years, I gained fluency in German and reasonable French , as well as an appreciation of the international market place.
One of my Christmas presents back in 2000 was a Fitness Instructor’s course! I completed my qualification and thoroughly enjoyed learning about physiology, nutrition and the benefits of an active lifestyle.
I benefit from a hugely supportive husband, who helps me through the challenges and encourages me to meet them with a smile! I share Hugh’s love of outdoor pursuits and the wonder of nature. Cycling and hill-walking with our dogs, Fingal and Tara , are favourites.