This week, we have a chat with Jake Moore, buyer at sneaker brand Hype DC.
What is the coolest thing about working in the sneaker business?
It’s hard to single it down to just one thing, but realistically it starts and ends with the product. I love the fact I’m invested as a customer as well as a buyer with the decisions I make.
What are some of the initiatives that you’ve led that you’re most proud of and what was the impact it had on the business?
I’ve been at Hype DC for a relatively short period but being heavily involved in the addition of our Move category (performance running) stands out.
Adding new segments to any business is always exciting (especially when the hard work pays off!), but the collaborative work between departments has been a great experience.
What was the impact it had on the business?
Whilst in its infancy, we’ve seen the positive metrics we want, such as increased sales and profit. However, I think creating a relatable experience for the customer (like myself) who doesn’t always relate to the traditional sports retailer environment will be the legacy piece.
How has Covid impacted the way that you approach your work as a buyer now?
With the challenges to supply that Covid has created, the need to have relationships is
more important now than ever. I’m not sure any retailer would have planned for the year we’ve just had, but working in partnership with our suppliers has enabled us to minimise risk and harness wins where we can. I’ve certainly never spent more time on the phone!
What are some of the most interesting challenges that you’ve overcome at work and what were some of the lessons you learnt from the experience?
Coming from a single door pureplay business to a multi-region large store-based business was challenging at first.
The devil is in the detail and coming from online, there is a wealth of data to help make your decisions. However, in omnichannel, what you don’t always see is what the customer is asking for, or wants, in-store. Having a dedicated store team give valuable feedback is worth its weight in gold. We’re lucky at Hype to have one of the best teams in the market. Being able to dip into that knowledge has been invaluable.
Who is your retail hero and why?
Perhaps because of my age and what I’ve seen him achieve. I would say Japanese designer and entrepreneur Nigo. He basically started streetwear with A Bathing Ape, brought his knowledge to Uniqlo and even collaborated with Gucci, not to mention being creative director at Kenzo. The quality and curation of everything he’s touched is inspiring. It’s fair to say he’s been integral to how the sneaker market is what it is today.
If you could swap jobs with anyone in retail, who would it be and why?
If it isn’t the above. I would say Samuel Pierce, the creative design manager for New Balance. Being able to create and curate with that kind of archive would be amazing.