Talking Shop

Talking Shop

Jo McWilliams

What was your biggest career break?

My biggest break into retail was starting out as a retail trainee at Debenhams Oxford Street and learning the very important basics throughout back and front of house. My ultimate break was to achieve full ownership for retail as operations director at New Look. Having worked at all levels of retail I really value the time spent working my way up as you can relate back and have empathy with the contribution all the roles play to achieve the goals and deliver success.

What’s the best career advice you’ve ever been given?

In the ever changing and complex world of retail and business, the best advice I was given was to keep things simple! People do just want to buy great products with great service and often with businesses striving to be the better than the rest there is a tendency to over complicate things. The consumer wants fantastic products, as fast as possible, delivered in the most convenient way to meet their needs – “simples”!

What skills do you look for in new recruits?

Retail is very adaptable and can accommodate many differing skill sets, however having the right attitude and behaviour is critical. It’s a people business so to love being with people and get enjoyment through meeting their needs is non-negotiable, along with a good helping of common sense and realism.

What’s your favourite wardrobe item?

This would have to be my boots! I have lots of pairs in an assortment of colours and fabrics. Whilst I do love the summer I look forward to winter when it’s time to put the boots back on! They can always be relied to finish any outfit off along with being so comfortable too, important when dashing around a lot!

When I’m not working I like to…..

I have a passion for animals and love spending time with them, it may be walking my two dogs (fondly known as the girls!), or being out in the fields with our three retired horses.