Associated Independent Stores - UK buying group

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We are looking for a highly creative, commercial, and inspiring leader with extensive experience of working strategically at a senior level within the fashion and toy sectors to become our Director of Fashion & Toys.  Reporting to the Managing Director, this role will lead the fashion department, that encompasses womenswear, menswear, kidswear, intimate apparel and accessories, and plaY-room (which covers toys & children’s gifts).  Relevant experience and background in design, product development and sourcing across all categories is essential as this role will oversee the development and delivery of own label, the buying services for approximately 30 members and.  This role will also contribute significantly to the INDX shows.  

AIS is the largest non–food buying group of its kind in the UK, with a membership of 330 independent department stores and specialist retailers. The business is now entering an exciting time of change, with a new Managing Director at the helm and a transformational agenda to bring a more commercial and customer focused approach to this well-established and successful membership organisation.

Working in partnership with our independent retail members and brands, an excellent understanding of the current retail market and independent retail sector is required.  With an exceptional track record in developing and delivering on strategy, increasing profitability, and building collaborative relationships, you will also need to demonstrate strong leadership skills, including change management and an ability to empower, challenge and develop others.

As part of the senior leadership team, you will play a key role in identifying new and innovative ways to offer the best possible services to our members whilst driving profitability, identifying new member and trade opportunities, including selling the benefits of being part of AIS.   With several new projects underway, including increasing our digital presence this is an exciting time to be joining the Company. 

Previous experience of online retailing and own label brand building is preferable.

Required Experience/Skills/Attributes:

  • Considerable experience within fashion design, demonstrating a commercial understanding of all product categories
  • Significant experience of own label design, up to date on fashion and toy trends and strong brand knowledge
  • Highly creative and innovative, with a background in design (eg fabrics, colours, styles, cuts etc)
  • Flexible and positive with the ability to initiate and drive change
  • An experienced leader who can successfully motivate and empower teams with a focus on people development
  • An understanding of the independent retail sector is essential
  • Good product development skills
  • Analytical yet entrepreneurial
  • Highly commercial with a proven track record in improving profitability
  • Strong interpersonal skills including a collaborative approach and ability to influence and negotiate
  • Experienced in delivering presentations and report writing

Closing Date for Applications: Friday 25 September 2020

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 For more information or to apply for this role, please email your CV and covering letter to