‘Through Janet’s management skills, expertise and proven track record on the job she successfully managed the purchasing of our retail operations and ensured the integrity of our brands in-stores. Her enthusiasm and total dedication, delivered results in any project she was involved in.’
TJ Van Rooyen, General Manager, Areej & Harvey Nichols, Al Tayer Group
Led Buying and Merchandising for premium beauty for the Al Tayer Group, Dubai across two companies, Areej which is a chain of cosmetics stores across the UAE and Harvey Nichols, Dubai. Launched over 150 luxury, cosmeceutical and niche beauty brands into Harvey Nichols within a four-month period and for the opening of 5 new Areej stores simultaneously. Developed a strong marketing and promotional calendar for the launch of Harvey Nichols, to include exclusive VIP events, daily catwalk events, product demonstrations, podiums posted throughout the Mall of the Emirates, GWP’s, exclusive offers and goody bags.
The Al Tayer Group had acquired the distribution rights for Harvey Nichols, Dubai with a four-month deadline to the store opening. Harvey Nichols was a new brand for the UAE. The Buying and Merchandising team weren’t familiar with Harvey Nichols and the full beauty brand portfolio for Harvey Nichols wasn’t available in the Middle East. The Mall of the Emirates was in the process of being built and hadn’t been completed yet; it was difficult to negotiate with beauty brands without having a finished location to present to them. Beauty brands had stringent guidelines and criteria for the merchandising of their beauty counters, many of the fixtures and fittings for their counters were on a four-month lead-time and needed to be flown in from other countries.
The Buying and Merchandising Team were accountable for delivering sales for both Areej and Harvey Nichols, who operated as competitors to one another in The Mall of the Emirates with a similar brand profile. A number of the premium beauty brands held a selective distribution agreement which meant that they were restricted in terms of the retailers they could launch their brands into, and were also restricted by the number of doors they could open within a set location per year, to maintain their exclusivity in the marketplace. This presented a challenge to the Buying and Merchandising team, as they had to negotiate to secure the right brands for both companies to deliver sales forecasts.
‘Janet Milner-Walker is an expert in luxury goods merchandising with premium cosmetics and fragrances. I partnered with Janet in her role as Head of Merchandising for Beauty and was guided by her to deliver impactful retail traffic, sales and conversion through her Beauty business plans for Harvey Nichols. Janet’s ability to manage multiple Beauty vendors in her merchandising capacity was evident with the strong rapport she held with the stores’ brands and vendors. Janet was always a pleasure to work with and balanced results and managing people with effortless aplomb.’
Naomi Roth, Head of Marketing, Areej and Harvey Nichols, Al Tayer Group
MEETING WITH HARVEY NICHOLS, UK
The process began with a meeting with Harvey Nichols, UK, to establish the brand portfolio, standards and criteria for in-store merchandising for Harvey Nichols, Dubai.
BRIEFING THE TEAM
Briefing took place with the Buying and Merchandising Team, retail operations team, marketing and training teams to develop a strategy for the launch.
SOURCING NICHE BEAUTY BRANDS
Meetings were set up with niche, cosmeceutical and luxury brands unavailable in the Middle East including Rodial, Dr Hauschka, Strivectin, Talika, Mario Badescu, Amanda Lacey, Jo Wood Organics.
NEGOTIATING POSITIONING WITH LUXURY BRANDS
Meetings were set up with premium beauty brands including the Estee Lauder Group, Chanel, Coty Group, Clarins, Givenchy, Elemis. Brands were restricted by the number of outlets they could open each year, a challenge to the Buying and Merchandising team who were accountable for delivering sales for both companies. Negotiations were underway to secure the right brand portfolio for each company to deliver forecasted sales.
MARKETING AND PROMOTIONAL CALENDAR
Cross-functional meetings with marketing, PR, operations, suppliers took place to develop the marketing and promotional calendar, marketing plan and budget as well as with each of the beauty brands. Created a strong marketing and promotional calendar to support the opening of Harvey Nichols and the introduction of exclusive brands to the region.This included VIP events, catwalk events, product demonstrations, podiums posted throughout the Mall of the Emirates, GWP’s, exclusive offers and goody bags.
A strong marketing and promotional calendar to deliver the sales forecast for Areej was of equal importance. Exclusive events and GWP’s were negotiated with suppliers for Areej and Harvey Nichols, taking place at different times of the year to balance the sales and footfall for both companies.
‘Janet’s experience in the international market and with the luxury end of the industry has been a huge benefit to developing the skills of the buying and the retail team. Positive, focused and well organized she builds strong relationships with our suppliers, changing the way in which we negotiate and plan events. She is an asset to every business.’
Andrew Moss, Sales and Operations Manager, Areej and Harvey Nichols, Al Tayer Group
As Head of Buying and Merchandising, Beauty, Janet led the buying, merchandising, strategy and sourcing of beauty for Areej stores, UAE and for Harvey Nichols, Dubai working together with the Al Tayer beauty team. Harvey Nichols opened on time, to budget with a portfolio of exclusive brands in the UAE; Areej opened 5 new stores simultaneously. A successful outcome delivering a total sales growth of 49% year-on-year.
Unless someone comes from a background in this industry, you wouldn’t know what is required. Not only do I have the support of an experienced team to help me to make things happen and to grow my brand, but I also have a great personal relationship with Janet and her team, working in this way means I have someone to turn to, to share the journey of running a business.