From Buying School Shoes to Buying Luxury Jewellery

Find out how Claire landed her first role in buying and now head’s up the jewellery buying team for Watches of Switzerland.

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Claire James – Head of Jewellery Buying, Watches of Switzerland

If you ever wondered how you become the Head of Jewellery buying for a luxury goods retailer then look no further than Claire James, Head of Jewellery buying at Watches of Switzerland. At 15 Claire was inspired by her textiles teacher to consider a career in buying, she was looking for a career with the right balance of creativity and business and buying seemed to be just the fit.

Although Claire had a solid plan that involved university, after a short placement with George at Asda, during her A-levels and news that they were recruiting a Buyers Administrator, she seized the opportunity to speak to HR. After some hard work preparing for the interview, she landed her first full-time role in buying. During her time at George she worked across boyswear, fancy dress, accessories and school wear before securing a new role at Next as a Junior Buyer.

In 2012 Claire made the exciting leap from clothes into timepieces and started a role with Watches of Switzerland as a Fashion Watch Buyer. Since 2012 Claire has worked hard at developing her knowledge and passion for luxury products and in January 2019, she was promoted to Head of Jewellery Buying.

In her new role Claire is responsible for putting customers at the very heart of everything by supporting the buyers to build beautifully balanced ranges. Claire describes life at Watches of Switzerland as a family environment in a corporate world, which means the business is progressive but the opportunity to develop is core to how they operate.

We asked Claire to share the most important skills for her new role and she identified creativity, a love a passion for your products, good client understanding and being good with numbers!

Not only is a career in buying exciting, fast paced and progressive at Watches of Switzerland, buying is a life-long and incredible career. The ambition is to create products that clients fall in love with because for them an engagement ring starts out as a thought and can turn into a family heirloom, so their products really do become part of the family. For Claire it’s as much about shaping future trends as it is about creating experiences and memories that last a lifetime.


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