Last week Deryane was invited to speak at the Everywoman Retail Ambassadors event at Harvey Nichols. As a previous winner of the Everywoman Retail Ambassador award, Deryane was asked to share her story with an audience of 80 plus industry leaders from household names such as Debenhams, Marks & Spencer, Jigsaw and Harvey Nichols plus smaller brands and entrepreneurs.
As the key note speaker for the event, Deryane shared her retail career journey from sales assistant through to business owner to inspire other women to pursue and build careers in this vibrant and exciting industry.
Here are some snippets from her speech:
‘Encouraging women to build careers in retail is a real passion of mine, so when I was nominated to be a retail ambassador in 2013 I was honoured.
Retail can often be overlooked as a career choice, so the retail ambassadors programme is a fantastic way to shine the spotlight on women that are achieving success and building rewarding and vibrant careers in this industry.
My career in retail actually started as a bit of an accident! I left school at 16, eager to get out in the real world. After 3 years of working abroad I decided it was time to get a proper job, so I thought I’d work in a shop while I worked out what I really wanted to do – its now 24 years on and I haven’t looked back!
I started my retail career as a sales assistant, moving up to store management in high street stores in the early 90’s such as Knickerbox, Stirling Cooper and Warehouse.
At the time I had some great female role models in retail such as my area manager at Warehouse and Yasmin Yusef who was head of design at the time. I quickly realised that this was the career for me as it is ever changing, fun, inspiring and constantly keeps you on your toes.
I then had a fantastic opportunity to join a new franchise business for French Connection and worked up to become an area manager and then operations and buying director for the business.
I learnt the ropes of running a retail business along the way from my boss and mentor there.
After 7 years after the business was sold I decided that this was the time to set up my own business and do this for myself. Following a deep breath and a large loan, The Dressing Room was launched in 2005 with just myself and one other team member. We now have a thriving multi-channel retail business with 16 staff and counting.
Having climbed the ranks from sales assistant to owner of my own retail business I have to say that being named as a Retail Ambassador has been one of my proudest career highlights.
I truly believe in retail as a great career choice and I welcome any opportunity that I have to champion that. Being a retail ambassador is a fantastic way to motivate my team to achieve their goals, they can see how diverse and rewarding a career in retail can be.
My business is nothing without my team and I encourage and lead them to fulfil their potential, whether that be through styling, visual merchandising, management, social media or e-commerce – there is an area for everyone to use their individual skills at The Dressing Room.
Retail is full of interesting, inspiring people that are creative, commercial, passionate, driven and fun so let’s make the most of that and really encourage other women to choose this as a career path.’