Page 4 - February #178
P. 4

WHO’S                             RLI MEETS

                                                                    IN RETAIL

                                                                    Beth Butterwick

                                                                    CEO - JIGSAW

                Q. What are the company’s key objectives for the next   Q. Do you feel that CEOs and company leaders can continue
              12-18 months?                                         to be transformational in the new retail landscape and will this
                Jigsaw was founded by John Robinson in 1970 on the principle of   actually be more important than ever now?
              bringing elevated design to the British High Street. Inspired by trips to   In the new world, which is somewhat ambiguous it is an imperative that
              Japan and designers such as Yohji Yamamoto, Comme de Garcon and   the leadership team focuses on driving the company’s transformation,
              Issey Mikaye, John brought the concept of Japanese design to London   spending time on discussing the big priorities for the future, not just
              adding a unique British eccentric twist. He opened iconic stores,   responding to today’s issues. Building a transformation culture requires
              offering cutting-edge collections and pioneered the concept of bringing   application of knowledge, collaboration, grit (developing a team mentally)
              a luxury store environment to local High Streets. 50 years on Jigsaw   and trust. As we have seen, so many times ‘stand still and you run the risk
              is still known for collaborating with renowned architects, upcoming   of becoming irrelevant.’
              photographers and artisan mills, makers and creators to deliver
              the finest quality collections. Last year we conducted a quantitative   Q.  What  do  you  make  of  social  media  and  its  importance
              research piece that identified an additional 3.5 million potential Bullseye   in the world of retail and how prominent is e-commerce and
              customers. Our 3 Year Plan is focused on amplifying our proposition   online activities within the business?
              and purpose to these UK females, across omni-channel locations where   No doubt, social media has been a gamechanger for all businesses. During
              we know she likes to shop.                            the pandemic, look at how many new-starter businesses or influencers
                                                                    were able to scale sizeable businesses via leveraging these platforms to drive
                Q.  Would you say events around the world in the last few   their brand USPs and connect to new customer tribes. These are powerful
              years have affected the business at all and has it had any effects   platforms where creative assets if applied well, can have a deep, wide and
              on future plans?                                      an effective reach.
                Undoubtedly! The pandemic was brutal on most sectors. However,
              we used this time to remodel our business to focus back on our core   Q. Taking a step back from right now, what would you
              market, Womenswear in the UK. The timing is perfect for Jigsaw to   consider your career highlights to date to be?
              thrive again. During the crisis, we closed poor locations and our   Every role spanning my career to date has left me with invaluable skills
              portfolio today consists of 45 profitable Jigsaw boutiques across market   and memorable experiences. I’ve worked across the UK and overseas.
              towns and regional centres. Focused on improving our omni-channel   Perhaps my top three career highlights are: taking M&S women’s knitwear
              credentials, we invested in a new customer data and web platform and   department from £100M to £200M in 18  months, an  incredible family
              partnerships that have significantly improved our service experience so   experience in Amsterdam where I completed my first sale transaction,
              customers can shop effortlessly, ‘their way.’  There are three key macro   conducting a successful IPO at Bonmarché and delivering record profits. My
              themes that continue to challenge most businesses: Cost Pressures,   thirst and passion for business improvement continues and I am loving the
              Evolving Customers and Channels Convergence.          Jigsaw opportunity.

                Q. What key leadership skills do you feel are the most   Q.  With everything that has happened in recent times, how
              important in the current retail climate?              are you feeling about the 12-18 months that lie ahead?
                Great leaders in any retail or hospitality sector put brand purpose and   With so much global unrest, life will continue to feel extremely undefined.
              customers first, to bring unique experiences and create lasting memories. As   The antidote to this is to bring certainty to your organisation, where you
              companies strive to bring competitive advantage in a world obsessed with   have the power to do so.
              digitised ‘must have now’, top leaders need to live up to a more ambitious
              purpose, they need to create these experiences for their own workforces   Q. If we look at the retail industry as a whole, do you have
              too, which means a fundamental change in how they and their executive   any words of warning for the industry or advice from your own
              teams inspire, lead, nurture and execute. The future remains uncertain,   experiences?
              so leaders today need to have a range of skills; visionaries, tech-savviness,   It’s simple, stay focused on your real customers, be razor clear about
              excellence executors and ambassadors of values and behaviours.  your USPs, focus on the top five game-changing strategic leavers and be
                                                                    ruthless at saying ‘no’ to anything that doesn’t add value.
                Q. As a leader who makes key strategic decisions, do you
              prefer to rely on facts and figures, your natural instinct, or a     Q. Lastly, any final thoughts or anything else you would like to
              combination of the two?                               add for our readers?
                I started my career as a trainee Buyer at Marks & Spencer; in this discipline   Retail leaders need to use their voices to amplify how rewarding
              you must balance facts with gut. Roll on 30 years and today I still apply   a career in retail can be. It brings people and culture together, each
              equal measures of commercial information with instinct, which is done in   function is incredibly varied, you can learn ‘new tricks’ every day and
              consideration of understanding my customer and why our proposition is   most rewardingly, you develop a deep-rooted passion for your business,
              appealing to them.                                    customers and the people you work with.

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