Wednesday, 30 October 2013

How I Bagged a Job at NICA: Iva Suchankova, International Sales Manager

This week we interviewed the lovely Iva- our International Sales Manager on everything from her day-to-day role at NICA to her favourite lunch spot. Whether you’re a student hoping to break into the fashion industry or simply want to know more about the life of a NICA employee, read on:

Tell us about your background?
I was born in the Czech Republic and moved to London when I was 19 to experience a different culture and improve my knowledge of English. My plan was to stay here for 18 months, but it’s been 13 years now!

I decided not to go to university, I thought ‘what’s next?’ and that’s when I decided to come to the UK. Sometimes you learn more by experience and trying out different things. I don’t regret not going to university and if I had the choice again, I would have done exactly the same. I have met so many amazing people and have travelled to great countries, which I might not have been able to do if things were the other way around – but you never know.

Iva – International Sales Manager at NICA

Tell us about your previous jobs before NICA?
From the age of 16 I always had a summer job and tried to earn money for various things I needed, whether that be a new pair of trainers for volleyball or concert tickets.
After coming to the UK, I tried out several different jobs working in retail, in an office job, as an au-pair, in a coffee shop, and then, 9 years ago I got my break as an Account Manager for a UK handbag supplier who used to supply brands such as Ted Baker, Oasis, Whistles, and Jigsaw. In my role as Account Manager, I would look after these accounts – this was my first introduction to the handbag world, and I have been in the industry ever since!

Describe a day in the life of your job role?
I am now the International Sales Manager for NICA and my job involves selling our products internationally and by various ways – we have international retailers that we deal with directly from our London office, our Sales Representatives are from all over the world, from Belgium, Ireland, Germany to South Africa and Japan!

As you can imagine, everyone’s needs can be very different. You deal with different time zones, cultures, languages and overall different markets. My job is very varied, from trade shows in Paris and Germany to appointments with customers in Hong Kong or Dubai, - it can take me to some fun parts of the world.
However, it's also a lot of hard work, particularly in the busy selling season (we start selling collections 6 months before a consumer sees them in the shops) so we have to be very organised. Our team is big! We have 2 UK offices, so, there’s a lot of communication involved in order for things to run smoothly.

What do you like about your job at NICA?
You have to like products and people, and that’s what I like. I like having meetings and presentations with our clients or sales representatives and showing them our new collections and creating strategies on how to improve what we do.
In my role, you have to enjoy travelling to a degree, as sometimes within a space of 6 weeks I can go through 10-12 flights, and this often includes long haul flights, which can be very tiring... But you do get to see some incredible places and meet some amazing people.

What tips would you give to someone looking to get into a similar role as yours?
If you like fashion and people - try any role. It can take you a few years, but it’s worth it. Be yourself for sure – there’s no point making up lies about your abilities, it’s more about your personality as you will be dealing with a lot of people and creating a lot of business relationships.

Why did you choose your job role?
Perhaps because I have a foreign background, I can relate to foreign customers slightly easier which makes the job more enjoyable. It’s great to be able to see our bags from New York to Paris and Tokyo, it makes you realise it’s all been worth it.

What’s your favourite style of handbag?
It honestly varies, I love satchels, cross body bags, totes.. I like big bags rather than smaller bags, but it all depends on the occasion. I have a rather large selection of bags. My latest addition is the NICA backpack which makes my travelling so much easier, not only abroad but also on the London tube.

What are your handbag essentials?
Work phone, personal phone, tablet, set of keys for home & office, oyster card, Vaseline, anti-bacterial gel, mints or chewing gum, painkillers, iPod, and if I am travelling long-haul, my make-up bag is also an essential.

What music do you listen to in the office?
Well, there’s a slight battle over the radio in our office – I would have XFM on most of the time, whereas the rest of our sales team is a little bit more pop orientated, so, we tend to change our music a lot, from Radio 1 to Kiss, XFM, Capital….

Where’s your favourite lunch spot? 
Latymers is just around the corner from the office and serves great Thai food, so that’s a treat if I have the time.

Thanks, Iva! 

We hope you enjoyed our NICA interview, are there any other NICA job roles you would be interested in learning about? We’d love to find out, tweet us @Nica_Handbags.

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