From Learner To Mentor

15 Sep 2022
Life at CKG

From Learner To Mentor

15 Sep 2022
Life at CKG

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For John, there’s plenty to love about his career at CHARLES & KEITH. The best things are the exciting challenges and learning opportunities that have been a big part of his experience here since day one, when he joined the Merchandising team as a Merchandise Planner to where he is now as the Senior International Account Lead based in South Korea.

In life you will miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

– A mantra that John stays by in all his endeavours

BEGINNING THE JOURNEY

John joined as a Merchandise Planner for the Ladies Footwear category in January 2019 under the CHARLES & KEITH MA programme with SGIS. Quickly learning the ropes in his department, in just a year and a half later, he was presented with an opportunity to progress further and take on new responsibilities for other product categories.  

CREATING MEANINGFUL CONNECTION

Work life and culture definitely took a turn during the pandemic, but John shares with us how his experience gained from his role as a Merchandise planner helped him ease into the transition caused from the pandemic.  

“I worked mostly with overseas partners which meant most of our meetings was done remotely. So, in a way I got to experience virtual meetings before the pandemic hit and by then we had learnt how to collaborate effectively as a team. 

But after the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions, I was finally able to meet various colleagues from CKS and working in the office definitely helped to create more conversations within teams, and foster an open exchange of ideas. Retail is a very people focused business and I’m glad I got to create meaningful connections and learn from our CKS team about retail operations”  

Presenting the store in-charges of ION Orchard a competition prize organized by the Operations team, in Singapore.

John’s growth and aptitude were noticed by his managers and it was not long after, that the talent management team approached him about a possible role based in South Korea to handle retail ops.  

Seeing the golden opportunity to gain valuable experience he jumped at the offer. It was a win-win situation as he had always fancied a chance to work overseas and to also take on a more front-end role in driving the business forward. 

THRIVING IN SOUTH KOREA

On a day-to-day basis, John provides support to ensure the retail staff members in South Korea are able to convert traffic into our stores and most importantly provide an amazing customer experience. His job scope also includes formulating overall strategies that can make the store environment more conducive.  

“My favourite part of the job definitely has to do with interacting with our team in the stores. It is very insightful to hear from them about the struggles faced as Retail staff and also how we can help them. 

Our success rides on the hard work of every single member in the South Korea office and retail stores. The retail staff are the ones that do the heavy lifting.” 

John (bottom left) and store managers of our retail business in South Korea, gathered together for a conference.

“Being in South Korea has been a fruitful journey so far as I learnt a lot culturally, and also operationally. I’m also thankful for all the invaluable memories I’ve created with my colleagues from both Singapore and South Korea.”  

Some things are universal across all cultures and the best way we bonded was definitely over food and drinks. 

Korea team and John bringing out our Singaporean counterparts from the Visual Merchandising team when they visited South Korea.
Teambonding meal with the Korea Inventory team, where John also supports the Merchandise Operations team.

One advice John would give to students planning to apply for a scholarship is to do a deep reflection of your strengths and consider what you can bring to the company.  

“You should also consider what the company can do for you. Working here in CHARLES & KEITH is an excellent starting point, it gives a huge amount of exposure that numerous of my peers have also found hard to replicate. Which established company would allow you to directly interact with the founders on a regular basis? I think this is very rare and shows how much emphasis the company has for its talents.” 

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