Saturday, 14 September 2013

Ted Baker: Week 1

There's no rest for the wicked they say.. If you read my blog you may remember I managed to secure a place working at Ted Baker for two weeks through university, where they actually looked at my management and marketing report, and me and two other girls from the year got placements. The piece of work was one of the biggest I'd done so far, and was very stressful, so to hear that the brand actually liked it made me feel incredibly happy! They wanted me for two weeks, and with only 3 weeks till I went back to uni after LOOK, I knew i'd have to squeeze it in before I head back to uni. I had a weekend to relax before on Monday I started a new venture, with new trains, tubes and routes to 'The Ugly Brown Building' in Camden where TB is based. (Yep, it's really called that, and yes, it is a big ugly brown building!)

I'd been staying with my boyfriend's relatives in London whilst at LOOK, but they couldn't let me stay for these two weeks, so I decided to commute from Southampton. Mad I hear you say.. well not  as mad as the fact I couldn't get ANY accommodation in London for less than a weekly rail card would cost (£150, ouchh!!) But then again, that is all my return journeys and unlimited tube. I have to get the train for an hour and 10 minutes, then it's a 15 minute tube and a short walk. I've discovered it's not actually that bad either, I think my body is getting more used to the early mornings and long train journeys. I get up about 6am and get in at 8pm.. So yeah a very long day but so so worth it! I usually fall asleep on the trains too so that's fine! It just makes it worse now that it's pitch black when I wake up, and getting dark when I get home, and also freezing cold some mornings! Is it just me or has it suddenly turned to autumn overnight in the UK?!

Anyway. The night before I started I was mega excited but also really nervous. As i'd done a while project on TB I knew everything, from their financials, to their customer, to their products, everything, and actually came to really love the brand and what it stands for. I felt as if I was going to Santa's grotto at Christmas, going to their head office to see how everything was run! I was mainly nervous about the travelling, and the fact I was going to be in the buying department, which I'd never experienced before, and I had no idea what a buyer actually did really!?

For the first day I opted for a smart dress, ankle boots and a blazer. I had no idea what the dress code was so I decided to go smart. The traveling actually went fine, I left plenty of time and I'm used to Waterloo and all the tubes now, and the office was really easy to find (very easy to find in fact, it has a giant lobster on the door!)

 It was the weirdest thing entering the building. There was a man at a small table, bright green walls, and bits and bobs everywhere. There was even a moving robotic dog that I actually thought was real!!
A quick snap I took of the reception area when I was leaving one day! :

He told me to head to the 3rd floor reception, so I headed for the lifts. Inside was loads and loads of lit up buttons, each which made a different noise when you pressed them! I was definitely entertained by this!!

At this point I thought wow, I love their head office already!! TB is such a quirky brand and so far I had not been disappointed. As I got the the 3rd floor I was confronted with a huge, open plan office, that was on a balcony to the canteen downstairs. I'd never seen any office like it, there was music playing in the background and it was full of hustle and bustle. I signed a visitors book, and was greeting by Rosie, who is a womenswear buyer. It seemed very manic, I was taken to a row of desks and introduced to alot of people in a short space of time! The first thing I did was drop my stuff off at a spare computer, and then went to the first floor, which is where the production department were based. It seemed like I had dressed a little too smart as everyone was actually dressed quite casual! There's me thinking everyone would be top to toe in TB!

 I was taken to a room FULL of clothes and accessories.. I was very excited to see all these beautiful clothes! TB is an expensive designer brand, but their products are always so gorgeous and beautifully made. I was introduced to a couple of others I would be working with, and was told there was a meeting in a few minutes, so I had to sort out some rails of clothing ASAP. It was all very 'chucked in at the deep end' but I tried my best to be helpful! I was ushered out of the room when the meeting began, and headed back upstairs. It was all very busy and I was slightly overwhelmed! Here are a few snaps of inside the building..

I know this is strange, but the ladies toilets were also really crazy! Including barbies on the walls..

You can see the all the plumbing behind a plastic wall, mad! And there's even a notepad and pen for doodles if you get bored.. 

On my first day I was taught how to use a program called 'cims' which the buyers use to enter products into their system. At first I majorly panicked at numbers are not my strong point, and this program used loads of buttons, codes and typing. After a while though I got the hang of it, and was given a number of design sketches and details to enter for A/W 14. These were basic, mocked up designs, which had been given a name, factory, and description which I had to enter in. (Yes they really do work that far ahead!) I had quite a few to do, so I was just getting the hang of this computer system really. The morning went really quick, and before I knew it about 1pm  they took me for lunch.. this is what I was excited about! It was freeeee!! Yes free food! Can you imagine anything better!? We went down the steps to the canteen (I say 'canteen' but it's a lovely open plan space with beautiful wooden tables and chairs.) and queued up for lunch. I was amazed, they had soup, as well as a meat, fish and vegetarian option, as well as loads of extras you could pile onto your plate. I opted for salmon, rice and some veg! It was lovely to get a proper lunch instead of being sad about your squished, warm sandwich you bought in from home.. Every day lunch has beena  highlight, and I have eaten like a pig this last week with dessert every day! (Hey, i'm commuting two hours each way, I THINK i'm burning it off haha.)They also have free breakfast if you get there early enough every day, so you can make yourself some toast, on friday I even had a sausage sandwich! Another thing I really liked was that all the girls from the department sat together on a big table, but on my first day I was still quite nervous and got on with eating, but its nice to be involved with the others! 

I LOVE these mugs so much!!

I got an hour lunch which I spent the rest of sat at my desk on my phone, there isn't really many places you can go outside of the office as it's on such a random street! My first day on Monday was quite good, because after lunch I got to sit in the 'Best Sales' meeting, where everyone from womenswear over viewed what was selling, what wasn't, and why. I didn't understand most of the financials and numbers being called out very fast, but it was so great to sit back and take it all in, and see how a fashion brand actually works. I'm working till 6 which is a very long day, but my first week has whizzed by!

 For the rest of the week I've been on cims and working on excel to help them out with entering styles and costs, and finding out all about their role in the company. One day I got shown around the showrooms, which are rooms dressed like mini shops, filled with current and next season clothing and accessories that companies can come and visit, and pick what they want to sell. I even got a sneaky peek and the spring/summer 2014 collection that has already been made and being photographed soon. I can't tell you what it was full of though as I signed a confidentiality agreement and it's all very hush hush, but it looks as if their new collection will not disappoint! I've been doing little odd jobs too, such as filing, and towards the end of the week they were running out of jobs for me! I started doing some research on the new spring/summer 14 trends and made a few mood boards for the buying team. 

I've found out that they get 75% off Ted Baker products, (wowee) and can even 'hire' out pieces for an event or just to wear, then give back after, how amazing is that! Sounds like such a great place to work!   

It's been a very tiring week, but I love being in the Ted Baker office, it's such a great atmosphere, all the girls are really lovely, and I'm learning alot about what buyers do. It's surprisingly alot more financials, codes and costings than I expected, but at least I'm getting the experience, and then I can decide weather it's something I'd be interested in doing in the future. I hope you enjoyed my update and all the pics of the Ted Baker HQ, I'll let you know how my second (and last, phew) week of work experience goes..

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