BEHIND THE SCENES: MEET GLTC BUYER, SARAH
Over the past few months, our small yet amazing team has been busy working at home, juggling childcare and adapting to new ways of working, all while making sure we continue to provide genuinely useful and beautiful products, as well as the best service.
Want to find out more about our team and how are products are made? Read on to meet Sarah, from our buying and merchandising team...
Hi Sarah, can you please tell us a little bit about your role at GLTC?
I am the Accessories and Toy Buyer, I look after the range we offer with a great team of people. We design and develop all of our new products in house. I work closely with our designer coming up with new product ideas for each season, I am then responsible for sourcing and developing the products with our well-established, loyal supplier base.
I work very closely with all of our teams when developing new products. This starts with the design team, right through to the end customer experience and ensuring our call centre are supported with all the right information about our products for when our customers need it.
What does your average day look like, especially now in the days of lockdown?
I always feel very lucky in my Buying role that every day is different and I am able to be involved in all areas of our business.
So my average day is extremely varied. For example, today I have been signing off samples for some of our new Autumn Winter products; when we receive samples for the designs we have developed (these were designed by our designer back in November last year so it is always exciting to see the final samples), we need to ensure the quality is of the right standard and all the colours are correct.
I have just finished a call with our rug supplier about new designs for Spring Summer 2021, talking about techniques for weaving and improving the quality. Myself and the designer have also been working with our toy suppliers on some new Spring Summer toy designs (which we are so excited about). We’ve briefed these and have been looking at different materials we can use and how we can get these to be of the best quality, whilst ensuring we are able to offer the product at a good price for the customer.
Later on, I will be looking ahead to new ideas for Christmas 2021 and where we need to focus our development, as well as looking for any new opportunities we have.
How are your products designed?
We have a design team of 2 here at GLTC, all our products are designed in house. Our design team work on a design direction for each season, and together we review the trends in the market, gaps in our current range and what our customers have asked for, then we come up with product ideas for each department. From this, the design team work their magic and create unique and exciting designs for me to brief into our supply base.
How do you come up with the ideas?
We look at our current range and what sells well, review feedback from the customers, and we also follow trends in the market. However, on toys specifically, the ideas mainly come from how we can make our toys unique, engaging, interactive and educational.
How do you make sure the products are safe for children?
We have our own Technologist to ensure we are following all safety standards. This is of the utmost importance for any products we design. Before designing, our design team will work with our Technologist on safety standards to ensure the design will pass child safety testing.
Then once the product is made, every product is sent off for testing with independent test houses to ensure it meets the required standard.
Do you think the products are easy to put together?
As Buyers we build every single product we sell and write the instruction steps for the product. This means we are able to build the products ourselves and if we struggle with assembly, we can then change the instructions to make them easier for our customers.
We try to make instructions as simple as possible, so parents are not up building until the early hours before their child’s birthday. Although, I would recommend not waiting until Christmas Eve to build your new Play Kitchen 😊
I have made this mistake myself before!
Where are GLTC products made?
We have a very small supply base (on purpose) as quality is so important to us. Having a small supply base ensures we can manage this easily and it has also meant we have fantastic relationships with all our suppliers.
We have a varied mixed of product sourced from all over the world. We work with factories in China (our main supplier there is family owned and only makes products for us) and all our textiles come from factories in Delhi. We are also increasing buying where we can from UK suppliers, which is exciting.
I have been a Buyer for a long time and one of the things I love about where our products are made is our suppliers and factories. I love meeting up with our textile factories each season, it is like going to see old friends and catching up.
What do enjoy most about your job?
I love the variety in my job, being part of each aspect of the brand and development process. However, mostly I love our product and how we design and develop it. So much thought, care and passion goes into every detail - it is extremely rewarding.
I also love meeting our suppliers and am lucky I get to see amazing parts of the world as part of my job.
What’s been your favourite GLTC product so far?
I can’t pick! That is too hard! Although, I am a huge fan of the Greenaway Bookcase, I have one for both my children’s room, and they use it every day. I also love mixing the books around each week and using it for decorative accessories to make their rooms look nice (when they are not covered in mess and toys)!
My favourite toy has to be the Lolly & Scoop Ice Cream Shop, I bought one for my daughter and she has honestly played with it almost every day! The amount of ice creams I have had to eat in the last year is amazing, I am just pleased they weren’t real ice creams. My favourite flavour is always mint choc chip when I order mine.
My favourite product I have personally developed with our designer is the Fox Book Cart. Mr Fox has really become part of our GLTC family now.
Finally, what GLTC product would you have played with the most as a child?
It would definitely have been the Sixpence Play Shop & Theatre, as a child I was always playing shops. I would pull every single toy, book, and all the shoes out of the cupboards, line them up and ask my sisters and Mum to shop.
(I now realise, having had 2 children, how painful this would have been for my Mum tidying it all up!)
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