We’ve covered many areas in our business, from retail, marketing, finance and hospitality to merchandising. But what about our new Media Sales department? We are growing a media portfolio for the business and Head of Media Sales Charmian Colak-Antic is leading the project. We caught up with Charmian about heading up a new team and driving our new omnichannel portfolio forward: “There’s no ruling by fear – anybody could have an idea!”
What do you do on a daily basis?
I am building a media portfolio for the business and head up my team. Together we build tailor-made proposals for brands and give them the opportunity to tell their stories through our media channels. We secure commercial partnerships, answer briefs and bring in the Creative team to come up with ideas for our brands to increase their presence. We recently did a film for Calvin Klein, and we’re starting a huge project with digital screens in-store. We want to run campaigns with brands across all of our channels… We’re here to sell more shoes – that’s why we’re all here.
What’s it like to work with these brands?
For me, it’s all about relationships. People buy people. I’m looking for people that don’t want to hide behind emails, but meet our brands and take them to the store and business. You encounter and manage lots of different personalities. One day I’ll be at a strategy meeting with a beauty brand, and the next day I’ll be in-store with a fashion brand – after which I go to the launch of a drinks event. Every partnership with a brand is different, from sponsoring the Terrace to doing a pop-up, and that keeps things interesting. Ultimately, you want a win-win scenario, in which both parties walk away being happy with the result.
What’s the most challenging and most satisfying part of your role?
The most challenging part is starting something from scratch. However, it’s also a huge opportunity for us to make a difference this year as a business – and that’s exciting. The most satisfying part has been seeing our first HN magazine in print. Furthermore, every sale is satisfying. When you make a sale, you never really loose that buzz. We have a little whoop and a clap. I think I may be getting a bell in the office!
What skills do you need to succeed in your job?
You need huge enthusiasm with the subject matter, sales skills, and to be able to find solutions to brands’ problems. We don’t talk about us – we talk about them, and that’s the key. It’s all about listening. I’ve seen far too many presentations where a company just talks about itself – and that isn’t interesting. Also make sure you understand the brand; I wouldn’t go to a meeting without knowing everything about the brand. Finally, have a sense of humour… keep it lighthearted, human and fun.
Why do you enjoy working for Harvey Nichols in particular?
What I love about working for Harvey Nichols is that we are a company that likes to say yes: we like to find a way! We’ll tell a brand that they can feature themselves on our Knightsbridge Terrace, or we’ll collaborate on a hospitality offer. We don’t say no. The opportunities for brands are not limited; instead, we find solutions that solve their problems and that fit. When I arrived here, I immediately felt I was surrounded by my kind of people. It’s non-hierarchical. There’s no ruling by fear – anybody could have an idea!
To see some of Charmian’s work, make sure to pick up your Christmas copy of HN Magazine, which is out now!