Interview with a Buyer
Talking inspiration, trends and smart purchasing with Head of Buying Rona Olds
1. How much do seasonal trends influence the collections?
We always research seasonal trends and our design team do a lot of research collecting ideas from trend companies, Pinterest, blogs and of course our travels.
2. Where does your inspiration come from?
It’s a collective mix of ideas. Inspiration comes from some of the trend companies that we use and trade fairs that we attend throughout the year. Often we get inspired from places that we visit – restaurants, hotels, antique fairs, independent stores – you name it we are always on the lookout. We also work closely with our food colleagues in Holborn who have some fantastic insight on food trends and what we are likely to be eating in the future.
3. How does the buying process work and where do you actually buy from?
The buying process works well in advance so for instance we are currently working on Spring Summer ’17 and finalising Christmas ranges for Autumn Winter ’16. We do a lot of analysis on what we have ranged before and we layer in our strategy for each department which ultimately provides the teams with a clear plan on what they need to source. We buy from all around the world and sourcing with integrity is one of our core values.
4. Talk us through the main trends in interiors and how they’re reflected in the current collection.
Blue is still strong in interiors, in particular ombre and layering of patterns. For our summer range Moroccan Blue we were inspired by Casablanca and so developed and designed inky blue ikat prints and carved wooden ornaments.
5. What’s your favourite piece at the moment?
Some of my favourite pieces at the moment are from the Coastal range. I love the soft colour palette in this story and I shall definitely be purchasing some new table textiles and mixing bowls. I particularly love the attention to detail that we achieved on both textiles and ceramics.
6. How easy is it to become a buyer and what steps would you advise someone to take to get into this line of work?
I would recommend anyone out of university getting some work experience as a starting point. You can learn so much by being part of a team for a few weeks and we certainly welcome people to join us. It’s a diverse job role and you need to be flexible, organised and have a passion for product.
7. What’s your advice for giving a sitting room a face lift without spending loads of money?
Brightening up a sitting room is so easy with a few new cushions and a throw for the sofa. Update a sitting room with new accessories and add a mirror to bring in some more light. I also like things in symmetry to balance a room so buy things in twos or hang picture frames in groups of three and four. Utilise all your senses with fragrance diffusers and candles.
8. What does your home look like?
My home is Victorian and the oldest part of the house goes back to 1839. I absolutely love Farrow and Ball colours which are soft, muted and very calming. I tend to bring in pattern in the rooms on the soft furnishings as opposed to the walls, and add accessories, paintings and pictures to decorate.