We had a chat with Jessica (Menswear Buyer), Louise (Menswear Buying Support Specialist) and Nikita (Graphic Designer) to discuss their collaboration and involvement in creating the ‘Back Country’ clothing range.
The Warehouse ‘Back Country’ clothing range is designed in-house. This gives Nikita more control over the design process and the Buyers more control over what is created and distributed in store.
Nikita starts the graphic design process working closely with the Buyer’s from the beginning of the design process. The first stage requires the Buyers to review the PSA (Post Seasonal Analysis) to see what they want to improve on and brief Nikita on where they are heading for the season. Nikita also contributes by researching and collecting ideas and inspiration for the brand online and from brand leaders in the field. This can be done in a number of ways, including Louise and Jessica embarking on buying trips and store visits.
‘Back Country’ is a unique range because the whole season is ranged at once unlike other brands. This is beneficial as it is easier to see the bigger picture and plan out in advance. Since it is a smaller range it works best to do it all at once which is time and cost efficient. It also works well with the design team as we can work together and aim for the best value and elements. Jessica says “this allows us to track how the months flow and brief Nikita so we can tell him what to design and he will come back to us with designs that we can pick and choose from, we create a story board that can easily track what is happening from a monthly view and go back and forth on designing what goes out each month” The Winter season is ranged from January to June and the Summer season is ranged from July to December.
Where does the inspiration come from when designing this new range?
Jessica: “Some think that this range is only for hunting or outdoors but it is also geared to farmers and others who are outdoor all day and can be multi use. We are also mindful of duck shooting season where brighter fleeced Camos are preferred.”
Louise: “We also got the inspiration from trips, we travelled to Te Rapa and Te Awamutu to see more nature that is outside of Auckland.”
Nikita: “I researched New Zealand native plants and shrubs, such as the New Zealand Fern -to understand what camo camouflage was more suitable for outside. There is continuous learning with this range”
What advice would you give to future merchandisers/designers?
Jessica: “It is demanding but equally rewarding. At the end of the day you are creating something that people need. It is an amazing accomplishment to do so much in the specified time that you have”
Louise: “We make affordable clothing for everyone. I agree with Jessica it is very rewarding.”
Nikita: “Be patient and persistent. Don’t let constructive criticism dishearten you. “
What is your favourite experience / part of working at The Warehouse?
Jessica and Louise: “Last year at the conference we received Menswear team of the year. It is amazing to get recognition of our work. The culture here is amazing, considering the size of the business. Anyone and everyone is approachable.”
Nikita: “Stepping inside that studio and working with my amazing design team. I have met many people in this company who are now my friends.”
Tell us about your Retail Career
Jessica (Menswear Buyer) has ten years of retail experience, she has worked in the fashion industry, whole sale and printing for many years. She has been at The Warehouse for two years. She says “I love working in retail because it’s awesome recognising people wearing your clothes at the mall that you have helped create and worked hard on. It feels great.” Jessica is the Buyer for many brands such as Match, Rivet, Basics and of course Back Country range.
Louise (Menswear Buying Support Specialist) has ten years of retail experience, three of these years have been at The Warehouse. She says “Transferring from supplier to buyer side was an interesting journey. I really enjoy my role and working alongside my awesome team at one of the largest companies in New Zealand.”
Nikita (Graphic Designer) has worked in retail for 5 years, four years in a design agency until he decided to join The Warehouse design team. He says “It was time to step out and do something new to take next step of my career path. I felt like The Warehouse was the right choice for me based on mutual values.”
Jessica, Louise and Nikita have done an amazing job on the back country range. Keep an eye out for the range in stores and keep an eye out for The Warehouse careers at https://www.thewarehousecareers.co.nz/home.