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A Day in the Life of an Executive Fashion Recruiter

By Vivian Hendriksz


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Orlando Martins is the Chief Executive Officer and founder of Oresa, the leading executive search practice for consumer businesses. Established by Martins in 2008 and based out of London, the UK, the majority of Oresa clients are fashion retailers in growth or transformation. He has led searches which resulted in finding the right director or non-executive director for numerous International and UK businesses and has worked with the likes of Asos, Joules and Bonmarche. This is a day in his life.

6 am

As I travel a lot, both abroad and in the UK, there is no ‘normal’ working day. When I am at home, I usually wake up around 6 am, drink a glass of water and take the dog for a cross-country run. This early morning physical activity is a good opportunity for me to shake out the previous day and prepare for next. In spite of the weather conditions, I find the fresh air and being in nature energising. When time permits, I follow my run with 10 minutes of either yoga type exercises or meditation. I am a firm believer in the power of positive thinking and that starting the day this way really can have a powerful impact on the rest of your day. Afterwards, I have breakfast which is normally a matcha green tea, yogurt, nuts and fruit and occasionally a full English.

Our clients are predominantly fashion retailers and meetings can vary from pitching to the CEO of a multi-billion pound business, having an exploratory chat with a high growth start up or coffee with a venture capitalist or private equity firm. Today I’m heading to London to meet the CEO of an existing client. They have asked me to provide some insight concerning the emerging role of the Chief Customer Officer. I think this could be a good route for his succession planning, as well as enabling them to combined their data, insight, brand, marketing and digital.

Later I’ll be meeting with the Managing Director of an International Fashion PLC to discuss a piece of organisational design consultancy, as well as a team restructure.

8 am

Before I get on the train I run through my meeting preparations with Emma my Personal Assistant. Emma tells me there is an industry conference in for next week that I should attend and reminds me of any calls I have scheduled for the next few days.

9 am

I manage to steal some precious time to check my emails once I am on the train. Most days are pretty hectic so I really appreciate the time to catch up. I split my time between head office and client visits. As our clients are global and our candidates could be anywhere from Australia to the USA. Managing my schedule, especially when on the road, can be challenging - particularly with dodgy wifi connections. But avoiding a 9 to 7 mentality and using additional channels such as Whatsapp and Facetime makes it manageable.

10 am

During transit, I take some time to catch up with my team back at our head office. We are a fast growing business, so this includes an update on internal recruitment as well as any marketing and digital activity, such as offering commentary for PR. Today we were providing some advice on how to attract and retain Data Scientists, who pull all data across the board together to help analyse trends, for example.

I also send an email to thank former M&S Multichannel Director, Susan Aubrey-Cound, for her guest blog post “5 top tips on starting an Ecommerce brand”. A key part of our content strategy is to provide reciprocal value to our clients, as well as share useful advice for visitors to our website.

11:30 am

During my first appointment with our existing client, we spend some time discussing the general challenges of modern retailing. They talk to me about a time before ubiquitous technology and an overwhelmed consumer, when retailing was “straightforward” (was it really though?). CEOs and senior Directors will often lament to me about their struggles, so much so that often I feel my role is part that of a trusted confessor. I don’t mind this of course, a CEO is often missing this sort of confidante and it is has become an important part of what we do.

We manage to get back to the business at hand and discuss how the role of the Chief Customer Officer can bring the focus of the business back to the customer and improve their overall customer journey. It is a position which is creating quite a buzz in the industry, especially now even senior hires are becoming increasingly digitally centric.

2 pm

The meeting has gone well, and I call Emma to schedule a follow up when I am back in the office. We also spoke about booking and make a note to make an introduction to a private equity contact of mine who could provide expansion capital and accelerate their international expansion. Between appointments, I also manage to grab some time to Skype a CEO candidate for an exciting Non-Executive director role for another client.

3 pm

I arrive for a late lunch at the German Gymnasium, a new restaurant, with CEO of an international fashion company. We haven’t worked with this client before, so I am keen to demonstrate how we can add value and secure their future. We talk through their organisational design and how we can get their units to perform harmoniously together and agree to catch up next week.

5 pm

I have time for a quick catch up call with Karly, our Executive Development Consultant, before I arrive at hotel to freshen up for this evening. She acts as a liaison between candidates and companies and tells me how the latest induction has gone.

7 pm

If I was back in our head office, I would be finalising things before leaving for home. However, this evening I am attending a charity networking event for the Fashion Textile Children’s Trust 160th anniversary. The FTCT is a small charity with a long history of supporting families in the UK fashion and textile industry. They provide grants for children who are coping with health, emotional, social or family difficulties.

9 pm

From the charity event I go on to another networking event. 9 pm turns to 10 pm and very quickly to 11:30 pm by which time I really must make a move, but if you genuinely like meeting people as I do - why rush!

12:30 am

When I am back at my hotel,I reflect on a great evening catching up with some familiar faces, as well as meeting new ones, marking the start of what we hope to be mutually rewarding, new partnerships. I round off my day checking my emails to see if anything urgent has come through. If nothing urgent has come up, I usually have a fennel tea, read a book and then get some much needed sleep ready to start again tomorrow.

During the month of August FashionUnited will focus on Work in Fashion. For all reads on on the theme, click here.

Photo: Courtesy of Oresa and Orlando Martins
Photo credit (3,4,6) : Dreamstime

fashion recruiter
orlando martins