Clara Bertrana, 27 years old, degree in Business management and economics in IQS and Loyola University of Chicago. Currently, studying an Online Marketing program. Worked in different fashion retailers such as Hollister, Abercrombie&Fitch, TCN and Nice Things.
Runner & cross fit enthusiast, curious traveler, mountain and sea lover and passionate about fashion and home decoration.
The Fashion Retailer (TFR): What is Boboli?
Clara Bertrana (CB): Boboli is a children’s fashion family-owned business established in 1981. It’s one of the leading kidswear brands in Spain as well as in the international scenario.
The brand is known for its colorful, functional and comfortable styles for all ages, from 0 to 16, with attractive designs, recognized quality and a proper price point.
We have more than 60 stores and franchises in Spain and Saudi Arabia and we’re selling in nearly 60 different countries. Our actual turnover is €44M and our yearly growth rate is up to 15%, we are really proud of it!
TFR: What is your role? What´s your experience in the industry? Why fashion and not another industry?
CB: My daily role at Boboli is to take care of sales of the international markets. In other words, it’s to find the correct strategy that fits each market in order to reach forecasted sales and, of course, achieve a solid growth rate in every market. This involves attending fashion trade shows, managing agents and making sure we have a motivated and experienced sales team in each country.
My career started 7 years ago at Hollister in Barcelona, and then, I moved to Abercrombie&Fitch in Paris, as team store manager. It gave me the chance to start discovering the business of fashion. Afterwards, I came back to Barcelona and worked for TCN as store manager, coordinating 11 stores. My former job was at Nice Things in the whole sales team.
Fashion has always been one of my passions but I never thought of it as something I could live for; it was more of a hobby until I realized that I was making a living out of it.
TFR: Could you define your main activities during the season: visit to fashion fairs, presentation of the showroom, managing agents/distributors…?
CB: The first thing the sales team needs to capture is, the collection and its inspirations, the materials used and the creation concept behind the designs. We work with a large collection, and there’s a big effort from the design team to satisfy and fit all markets and to keep the brand identity in every single piece.
It is key to involve the sales team in all this process of understanding the details of every collection.
“At the end of the day, we are all responsible of making potential end customers become brand lovers.”
Another big moment is attending fashion fairs all around the world. The final goal is to support our agents and reinforce the brand awareness in every market. All in all, it’s always important to attend fashion shows, even though they’re not in their best moment, there’re still lots of customers looking for fresh brands like us.
source: Les enfants à Paris
TFR:. As export manager, you are in charge of sales in different countries and channels (wholesale, franchise, DOS…). Do you cluster your merchandise (assortment) according to different customer profiles, cultures, fashionability, etc?
CB: We don’t really cluster our merchandise depending on the market or channel. Boboli offers a big line with different collections, so customers are able to dress their children in all their lifetime momentums across all markets.
We believe we’re presenting a significant number of SKU and we’re in 60 countries, so it would be a big challenge for the design team to focus the collection according to every market’s needs.
There will always be cultural and religious differences, but despite that fact, we have seen there is a common trend, parents want to dress the young ones with trendy collections full of colors, vitality and happy designs. Thanks to our wide assortment of designs we are capable of matching parents needs across markets.
TFR: As export manager, do you collaborate with wholesalers in order to optimize the assortment?
CB: Yes, we try to have a close relationship with our clients and give them constant support. There are many kinds of clients according to their sales levels, some of them have a better business structure than others and work with accurate KPIs. We try to have visibility of their sell out rates to optimize assortment.
Everyday we’re getting more conscious minded regarding our customers’ sell out, so every season we work closely to come up with different commercial strategies. It is very important to bare in mind that the final customer experience with the brand is what matters the most. The more involved we get with our customers, the more information we’ll have to support them in the right way.
TFR: What is the creative side of jour job?
CB: The creative side of my job is working on the strategies to access a new market, to achieve growth and reach the target customers the brand needs. It’s important to make sure that steps are taken in the right direction. There is a big investment in resources and time behind every strategy deployed. Nowadays, competition is outrageous, so you have to have a clear vision and understanding of the market if you want to succeed.
TFR: What is the scientific side?
CB: Data analysis.
It’s important to travel and be on the field to know what’s happening but if there’s no analysis after that, it’s difficult to make good decision. I’m not a huge fan of numbers but gut feeling decisions are usually worse than data driven decisions. In the fashion industry is important to know how to handle both kind of decisions.
TFR: What skills do you think are the most important to succeed in the role of export manager? Do you feel digitalization will require new skills to adapt to new ways of growth (different from retail/bricks)?
CB: I believe that adaptable is a good word to start. Not only earning the capacity to learn and understand cross-cultural teams, but also to be able to work with them and take the best decisions together. It’s not always easy, you have to be open-minded and dared to catch opportunities when they show up, but always having your feet on the ground and being aware that there is an investment behind.
Of course digitalization will require new skills, I’m actually doing an Online MKT course because this is where the world is going and we need to be prepared for it. Nevertheless, it’s a fact that we’ll always need physical stores so even though the world’s getting more digital every day, we can’t forget the roots that brought us were we are.