8:40 Arrive at work late (again). With three kids and two cats, leaving the house is always chaotic and I am NOT a morning person!! Luckily my team are far better organised so work is underway and a cup of tea is waiting – bliss! I check my emails – today I have two copy calls for magazine adverts, a long list of products that need updating with our new low cost phone number and three product change forms. With over 5,000 products, keeping everything up-to-date is a constant process – suppliers make changes (or we have to change suppliers), items become obsolete and occasional new products become available. One of my jobs is to ensure imagery and text is accurate and available to anyone that needs it.
I’ve been out for a few days (on press pass) so there’s a lot to catch up on. Today is a big deal for my team. The 2015 main catalogue is due to arrive and it’s always exciting to get your hands on the finished article. This week is all about getting the 600 new products online and providing our three stores with the publicity material they’ll need to promote the catalogue and the new items. Posters, stickers, shelf-edge strips and banners all need to be designed, printed and packed up for mailing.
I have a team of five to make everything happen.
Jayne buys the print and paper for all our publicity material. She also organises the photography – we try and take as many of our own pictures as possible to ensure our material looks unique. We’ve just launched our first product video too – all about how to build our Knock-Flat Rails – and with more in the pipeline she’s got a lot to do.
Kim looks after our mailing data and liaises with our proof readers – everything we publish is proof read twice and any changes have to be double-checked and communicated to the designers. Our Special Offers catalogue goes to print tonight so there’s a lot to check through. Each page must then be converted to a PDF file, uploaded to the printer’s website and then checked again to make sure nothing peculiar has happened during the transfer. It’s all hands on deck to meet the deadlines.
Simon spends his days studying sales figures to decide which products we should feature in our monthly catalogues and which products can go on offer. As soon as May has gone to print, we’ll need to start on the June issue, so he needs to have the catalogue plan approved and ready to be actioned by the end of this week.
Mini catalogues are generally designed by Alex and me although, with the main catalogue taking up so much of my time recently, he’s been left to his own devices. Alex also manages the image library for the website and produces most of the store POS. His colleague Luke handles the Graphic Design working alongside the eCommerce Manager and his team. We all sit in the same office so the boundaries between teams are quite fuzzy with everyone getting involved.
10:05 The catalogues arrive – hoorah! The race is now on to see who reports a mistake first – changes are requested and suggested constantly but everyone loves a typo!! First job is to go through it myself and start to get a feel for what has worked and what hasn’t. Armed with sticky notes I go through each spread and flag anything that looks like it needs improving or updating. It’s impossible to do everything each year so I have to prioritise best selling ranges and try and update a few other sections each time.
10:30 One of our team has brought in a bag of yum yums so time for more tea and deep fried goodness. Advert copy next – I have a shiny new catalogue to promote – magazines all seem to come in slightly different sizes so once a design has been agreed it needs to be made to fit every format. I usually design a block of ads and then alternate which one I feature.
Next I wade through my in-tray – mainly magazines and invoices for catalogue production, advertising and web services. I’m responsible for the Marketing budget so I need to monitor how much each catalogue has cost to produce and ensure we aren’t over spending in any particular area.
12:30 Time for my cup-a-soup. I rarely take a lunch break but try and zone out while I’m eating by playing silly Facebook games.
1:00 Range Review meeting – this week it’s mannequins. The senior and middle management team get together with the Product Manager to spend a (usually heated) couple of hours looking at the sales of each item and discussing improvements that could be made to the products, the catalogues or the website. Emotions often run high in these sessions (especially if the Jaffa Cakes run out) – the staff here are passionate about their ranges. It’s impossible to do everything asked for in the catalogue – space, time and budget constraints have to be juggled according to product value
3:30 Escaped from the meeting with a long list of things to do and a craving for carbs. And paracetemol. The Product Manager wants inspirational photography but it’s very difficult to get hold of suitable clothing. In recent years we’ve kept our figures naked and added style with special backgrounds but we can’t do that again next year so the challenge is on.
5:00 Time to go home. Or it would be if we weren’t still checking pages on the printer’s website. The system always seems to slow down at the last minute leaving everyone anxious that deadlines will be met. Luckily the printer we work with is very flexible!
5:45 Finished at last. Time to go home. Must remember to get petrol. And the kids…
Get in touch with us at @Morplan_ltd!