One of the greatest assets of our soon-to-be-launched first floor in Knightsbridge - home to the most iconic and prestigious womenswear designers - is all the new talent we are bringing in! Meet our latest hire, Assistant Department Manager Designer Shoes Jihaun Wickham, a fresh-faced and fierce Sales Manager from Macy’s, New York who is determined to make our luxurious new designer shoe section on the first floor a success. Jihaun shares with us what it’s like to move from the Big Apple to the Big Smoke and to cross the retail pond.
Tell us about yourself and how you ended up in retail?
I’m originally from Ohio and funny enough I actually studied to be a teacher. However, when I worked part-time with a make-up artist I realised I was a natural seller and I really enjoyed it. So after I graduated I took up a sales position in a beauty drug store. Then the ball started rolling… I became Operations Manager for Clinique at Bloomingdales and subsequently Business Manager at Macy’s and then I was promoted to Sales Manager of Fragrances and Beauty at Macy’s, Brooklyn. After getting engaged with my British fiancée, I crossed the Transatlantic Ocean for love and left New York City to join my fiancée in the UK. Now I’ve just taken up this new exciting position as Assistant Department Manager Designer Shoes at Harvey Nichols!
What’s your experience at Harvey Nichols so far?
I only started a week and a half ago! I’m actually all about the smells of stores - that’s my initial test for whether I like a store. The smell of this store is delightful: luxurious, light and not overwhelming. The fact that everyone is on such a high performance level from the top down is also great. New Yorkers let you know when they’re worked out, but I feel like Londoners have a certain polish and a desire to be the best and do their job consistently. I don’t have to ask people to their job, they just do it. In New York you want to get away from the people you work with, but here it is the opposite: the team is warm, friendly and goes for drinks together and I find that really nice.
What makes our new Designer Shoes department on the first floor you are looking after unique?
The brands that the brands we carry and the shoe styles that we’ve chosen are very client-based. We first look at who is coming into the store and what they are selecting. We then say: “this is what our customer wants, let’s go and get it.” It really has that unique personal edge.
What are you most excited about for the first floor launch?
I’m very excited about the way it’s going to look and the energy it’s going to bring. Having a new department is like having a new baby! Stepping onto the floor and getting the ground running and being part of a new talented team is also awesome. I think the launch is going to create a great buzz. We are the best, the most stylish and knowledgeable - and by having this launch everything will fall right in line with that.
How do you like London in comparison to New York City?
People are very polite here, which is very different from NYC. They don’t push each other on the tube in the morning, and conductors apologise for travel delays and inconvenience. It’s also quite remarkable that no one on the tube here talks to each other. I do miss the food though… but the lovely Fifth Floor food court at Harvey Nichols makes up for some of that. There are so many options here in one place – Bloomingdales never had that many. I love the fact that you can spend the whole day here – starting on the ground floor with David Beckham’s grooming area and working your way up slowly – each floor has something new to offer!
We can’t wait to hit the ground running with Jihaun. The first floor (and Jihaun’s fabulous shoe section) is launching in Knightsbridge on 29th June. Don’t miss it!