We sat down over some light tapas and a few drinks. I’d been looking forward to our meet because the catch up was long overdue; I had many questions about those Instagram posts of her travels to various countries to do her job: buy denim and bottoms for The Fix in South Africa. I’m incredibly inspired by people who create paths of success through creativity and hard work. I was eager to tell her story: so here it is![Sadly, I have to disappoint you as this post contains no trade secrets!]
So what intrigued me?
I’d known Robin for many years and recall her doing an undergraduate degree in, what she reminded me was, Economics at UCT. I know, how does one go from being an Eco student to buying fashion? Like many of us who finished our undergrads uncertain of the next step, she’d attended an open day where internships were available for the The Foschini Group. Postgraduate studies at CPUT to learn the additional skills of her trade lead her down the path to her current career as a fashion buyer.
Was her degree necessary? She says it taught her valuable skills that she uses today. Buying isn’t just about the clothes; the numbers and market-related knowledge that go with it are a big part of her job.
Is it glamorously adventurous? Well, to an extent, yes. But one needs to understand that the travels are work-based and, while she’s able to sight- see, a large part of her touch downs require many hours of hard work.
I don’t know about you, but the decision of what would sell (or not) would overwhelm me! How does one make decisions that grows a particular brand in a competitive way? That’s what makes what she does so special. We have witnessed the notable rebranding that Fashion Express made when becoming The Fix; a transition, undoubtedly, supported by the store’s buyers. I know that it has become one of my favourite, affordable, stores to pop into.
And the lifestyle? It comes with its challenges. My previous blog spoke about the time it takes to commit to weekly posts; one can only imagine the effect that time away from loved ones can have when your job includes monthly travels. But her passion shines through, so the effort to strike a balance is clear.
With a much-desired domain name and an assistant and junior buyer supporting her, Robin has reminded me that there is no age to success; that our goals as career women are lived as soon as we start believing in (and working towards) them. Education is a valuable key, but it is up to the individual to unlock the doors with them. Passion, interest and dedication has opened up a blended world of creativity within business for Robin; I hope that her story inspires others to walk the paths to their career goals, dreams and success.
About further prospects Robin says: ‘I was recently promoted to to senior buyer, and I am currently studying part-time at the graduate school of business at Stellenbosch university.
I really want to complete my MBA and attend denim school in Amsterdam, and then, hopefully, be a girl boss!’
Follow Robin at @thelookbook_byrobin on Instagram to walk her journey.
Wait! You didnt think I’d talk to a fashion buyer and not get the latest scoop on trends, did you? Here are the must-haves for this season:
All item are available at The Fix. Follow their page @thefixza on Instagram for a ‘lookbook’ and more.