You are the District Manager at VF Textil- Handels GmbH, responsible for Timberland Stores in southern Germany and Austria. What does your typical working day look like?
My main task is to support and encourage the stores under my supervision to realise their business objectives and to meeting the company’s requirements.
My working week or working day primarily consists of analysing and advancing the performance of my stores. As different circumstances apply to each location, they need to be individually examined and, where necessary, the right measures must be introduced. In my view it’s important to thoroughly get to know the market and subsequently tailor the stores to ensure they have the right products at the right time. Communication is key here, as is contact with the stores. It’s also essential to maintain contact with different departments, such as Marketing, SM, HR and Merchandising. I am on the road most of the time, travelling between the stores, providing support either on-site or remotely.
What do you like best about your job?
As I was promoted from Store Manager to District Manager, I can effectively empathise with my staff, which gives me more transparency when it comes to understanding issues and taking appropriate action. What I like best about this role is that my contribution to the company’s success and the impact of my decisions are much greater. My actions and my influence leave a bigger trace. I don’t represent just one store, but rather a region/district. This means I can achieve a great deal and pass the effective methods I successfully developed as a Store Manager onto others, allowing them to reach their targets. I act like an interface between our European headquarters and the stores. I also see myself as an extension to the Store Managers.
How did you become District Manager at Timberland?
I don’t have a secret recipe, I just set and pursued my own goals. But I soon realised there are plenty of opportunities for developing within the company and that the company attaches a great deal of value to staff encouragement and development. It’s common knowledge that employees are a company’s greatest assets. The brand’s fundamental values reflect this. If you have certain talents, combined with a healthy dose of ambition, that is certainly a good basis for progressing within the company; everything else you can learn along the way.
I climbed the classic career ladder, starting out as a part-time warehouse worker, before becoming a full-time Sales Associate, Supervisor, Assistant Manager, Store Manager and now District Manager.
Did you always want to work in the fashion industry?
I am an absolute lateral entrant. I started in retail 17 years ago, at a time when there was a much better choice of qualified skilled staff on the labour market. It was completely by chance, I was looking for part-time work. I managed to persuade them with my language skills and my personality. Customer contact, team work, reaching daily turnover targets and the brand all fascinated me and prompted me to make long-term plans.
Do you have any tips for people who might be interested in working for Timberland? Are there any no-go’s?
It’s always important for potential staff to be able to identify with the brand. Other than that, it’s what you would usually expect from retail: you should have an open, friendly personality, be a team player, enjoy your work and a touch of ambition certainly won’t do you any harm.
If you weren’t District Manager at Timberland, what other career might you have pursued?
I only really discovered what drives me over time, as I joined this company at a relatively young age.
I couldn’t imagine anything other than working in a team, coaching and developing teams. Reaching targets together in the role of a coach or leader.
I am very target- and results-oriented, with a healthy dose of competitiveness. My motivation is always to be the best. In my dream world I would like to have been a professional footballer or coach
What does your workplace look like?
Being mobile means that I don’t have a fixed workplace.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Timberland® is part of VF Corporation. VF Corporation is one of the world’s largest apparel, footwear and accessories companies connecting people to the lifestyles, activities and experiences they cherish most through a family of iconic outdoor, active and workwear brands including Vans®, The North Face®, Kipling®, Eastpak®, Napapijri® and Dickies®. Our purpose is to power movements of sustainable and active lifestyles for the betterment of people and our planet. We connect this purpose with a relentless drive to succeed to create value for all stakeholders and use our company as a force for good. For more information, please visit vfc.com.