London job market in Luxury Retail: Interview with L. Shemirani

Interview with Lydia Shemirani, Consultant Recruitment – Luxury Retail

Lydia answers questions submitted by Edhec students on the luxury retail job market in London, career paths (including switching from retail to marketing) and candidate profiles.  If you plan to settle in London and embrace a career in retail, have a look at the job positions she posts on LinkedIn or apply via the website

Who are you Lydia?

Four Seasons Recruitment is a market leading boutique agency specialist to the fashion and luxury goods industry. Our dynamic team of consultants has gained direct experience in their line of recruitment. We provide consultative advice to our candidates whilst thoroughly understanding our clients’ needs for exceptional and tailored talent. My role as a Consultant on the luxury permanent retail division involves developing strong relationships with my portfolio of exclusive brands whilst providing a personalized service to my growing database of candidates who are seeking career opportunities in London.

How is the current job market in London?

The UK luxury sector was predicted to increase by 57% in 2015. Within that, London is continuing to attract a vast number of international shoppers and as a reflection the retail job market is growing. Since Middle Eastern and Asian clients are fueling these sales, it has resulted in a higher demand for candidates with knowledge of the core languages: Mandarin, Arabic and Russian.

What are the different positions and career paths in luxury retail? 

Luxury retail offers a clear and achievable career path. Salaries and positions depend on the size of the business, budgets and current structures in place. Yet, depending on your experience,  you may be looking at positions and salaries in the following brackets:

Salaries luxury retail
Indicative Salaries, luxury retail positions in London

Other career paths to consider in retail include logistics where you would often start in a Stock room based role before progressing through to Operations Management level.

Is Retail a possible path to get a Marketing Position?

In short the challenge for anyone looking to change their career sector is to demonstrate relevant, transferable skills and their unique point of difference as an individual. This is possibly even more challenging in a sector such as marketing which is increasingly a sought after career path amongst young graduates.

So is it possible? Yes but some key tips for anyone considering a switch:

  1. Be realistic. Competition will be tough and you’ll need to demonstrate not only a qualification, further study and/or interest but relevant work experience such as internships or activities outside your main sphere of work that support your interest and skill.
  2.  The marketing world is changing constantly. Digital advances and development have afforded more sophisticated marketing campaigns to keep up with us as consumers as our (shopping) habits have become more sophisticated. Consider additional courses and work experience to ensure your skill set is up to date.
  3. Then, if you do decide to make the switch, be clear about why you are the right person for the job. Quantifying your achievements and where you made a difference is crucial. Think about action words such as delivered, managed, organized, instigated etc. that have resulted in an increase, in output or uptake or traffic.

What type of profile are you looking for? 

There are many things I look for whilst interviewing a candidate for a luxury brand. Immaculate presentation, a firm handshake and eye contact are unnegotiable. In a client facing role, confidence and appearance are key. In terms of a strong CV, I look for longevity and clear progression. Unexplained gaps are cause for immediate red flags; so always make sure you clearly highlight any periods when you may have been travelling/studying etc. For readability, it’s often preferred to receive a CV which lists the most recent experiences first. Recruiters might make a snap decision in less than 5 seconds whether a CV is deemed relevant or not, so a well formatted document is crucial. We are only able to represent candidates who have previous experience within their chosen industry and therefore I often advise those who don’t to apply directly to their chosen brands. Once you begin interviewing, take on board all feedback and don’t be disheartened by setbacks or regrets. Learn as much as you can as fast as you can, the market is constantly growing and changing and so must you if you want to succeed!

On behalf of my students, thanks Lydia for this interview!