FRA News

Brands Behind the Scenes: Kurt Geiger


13th December 2021

Last month, we headed up the road from the Fashion Retail Academy to visit Kurt Geiger’s central London head office. We had a tour around the building and then caught up with Chris, Head of Digital at the brand. He told us about his career, how he got his job and his experiences as a mentor on our Marketing & Communications undergraduate degree!

You can watch the full video on our YouTube now, including an exclusive look inside the Kurt Geiger office!

What do you do as head of digital?

My role involves leading the different teams involved with delivering our digital strategy, all with their own expertise. My job is mainly focused on delivering a really great user experience for the customer, showcasing our brand through our digital channels and driving our international expansion.

What was your first role in retail?

My first role in retail was actually in the Foods to Go section of an M&S store in Manchester. I had to make sure the area was well-stocked and well-presented and to log any early sell-outs. That was the start of my career - it was great fun.

How did you move into a digital role?

I worked in a variety of different roles for M&S, working my way up to store manager. It was a really good experience. I was mostly based around Manchester, but I also worked in many different parts of the UK. The customer-facing elements of my job were great - you always take this experience with you throughout your retail career.

Eventually, an opportunity to work in head office came up. It was a website role for the M&S Homeware Trading Manager. I interviewed for it, and then packed my things and moved down to London!

I had some really good years working at M&S. I then moved on to Topshop/Topman in similar kinds of trading roles, but more focused on a younger customer. The vibe in the office was amazing at the time, it was a lot of fun to work there. I worked with so many talented people!

kurt geiger head office interview

When did you move to Kurt Geiger?

I’ve been at Kurt Geiger for two years now. I’ve been incredibly grateful to work for the brand, especially during this period. We’ve got really strong brand values, an amazingly talented team and a clear strategy for profitable growth.

Tell us about your career highlights.

Early on in my career, the new CEO of M&S visited my store in his first week. It was a really great privilege to walk him through the store, introduce him to the staff and show him what we were doing.

Much more recently, we’ve been focused on growing our international business at Kurt Geiger. I was over in LA last month launching our new warehouse. It’s such a fantastic milestone for the business and a real platform for us to grow!

What does your day-to-day look like as Head of Digital?

I start my day by checking the numbers and running through the priorities with my team. We talk about what decisions need making, what the focus is on for the day and any support that anyone needs.

For me, it needs to be a balance of the short-term daily trading and then the projects or work decisions that require some longer-term planning and creative thinking.

Tell us about your digital team.

Working in digital, there’s a number of different functions - I mainly focus on the front end to the customer.

Firstly, we’ve got our Digital Marketing Team, who are responsible for the paid channels and getting people to our website. Then we’ve got our Trading Team, and they’re focused on conversion rate optimisation - so once we’ve got people on our site, it’s about getting them to convert and purchase products.

We’ve got a Design Team who are responsible for the look and feel of the website, and the user experience you have on there. We’ve also got a Production Team, who get all our content uploaded and presented effectively.

The other side of our team is the studio. On average, we’re photographing hundreds of products every week for the Kurt Geiger website, and for all of our partner websites - Selfridges, Harrods, Farfetch etc. We shoot to a specific set of needs for each of those sites. Everything has to be done to a really high standard - whether it's a £50 pair of shoes or ones that cost thousands of pounds.

kurt geiger head of digital interview

What is the best part of your job?

The best part of my job is working with my amazingly talented team! I also love working with new technology - it doesn’t just impact retail, it impacts all different parts of our lives every day.

Digital is a rapidly changing industry and there are always new learning opportunities. You’re applying things to retail but also to many other industries that exist as well. The skills you acquire are cross-industry, and it gives you a lot of flexibility with your career and where you want to go.

…and the hardest part?

The most challenging part of my job is prioritising all the different projects and deadlines, putting my time to the best use! We’re constantly trying to evolve our digital experience, whilst keeping up with our competitors and the pace of change. Whether it's the social media apps our customers use or the different interfaces they connect with daily, we’re always trying to provide an experience that aligns with our customer's expectations. We want to please and delight them in terms of what they see and how they use it!

Why should you work for Kurt Geiger?

I think one of the great things about working for Kurt Geiger is your ability to influence the company and get involved in decision-making, driving the business forward. The brand has a relatively flat hierarchy, there’s an opportunity for everyone to speak, give their ideas, and drive a positive change in the business. If you come with that mentality, you can progress and do really well.

Tell us about your work with the Fashion Retail Academy.

I started working with the FRA about 18 months ago. When I think about my career, I’ve had guidance and support from key people, which has had a huge influence on me. I wanted to pass some of that support on and hopefully achieve that with some of the students at the FRA!

kurt geiger digital team interview

How was your last mentoring experience?

I mentored Zoe, one of your Marketing & Communications undergraduate students. We met up fairly regularly, and I helped her with some of her projects - particularly her final major project, which was about Kurt Geiger and how we could produce a recycled range.

It was fantastic working with Zoe - she has great initiative and is really hard-working. I got a lot out of it as well! Zoe also did her work placement with us, and we thought she was a great fit for Kurt Geiger and we offered her a full-time role in the marketing team.

If you’re interested in following Zoe’s footsteps, applications for our accelerated BA (Hons) Marketing & Communications for Fashion degree are now open. Chris could even be your mentor!

You can watch the full interview with him on our YouTube channel now. You can also catch up with our 4 other episodes of Brands Behind the Scenes, including ASOS and The White Company.

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