+44 (0) 20 3761 6361 theteam@karencolliercareers.co.uk

Introducing Backlight – the marketing and creative integration specialists.

  Backlight was built around a passion for building consistent and strong brands.   The founders, Emma J Murphy and Jonathan Ganley have worked with some of the world’s leading brands across fashion, retail, entertainment and FMCG including Disney, Topshop | Topman, Virgin Atlantic, British Airways, Nestle, Heineken, Ikea & Diageo. Backlight helps marketing and creative teams to work better and smarter, to help grow brands and increase their value. With over 40 years combined experience in the marketing & creative industries, Backlight’s clients are always in safe hands. They flex their approach around the needs of their clients. From defining marketing and creative operating structures, job roles and responsibilities, ways of working through to implementation, onboarding and mentoring. From small teams through to complex, multi-site global organisations, Backlight knows how to integrate teams appropriate to their client’s goals.  They never pretend to be something they’re not and their black book is full of respected and credible partners they refer to their clients across each discipline. Should you need any help figuring out how your marketing and creative teams can integrate their efforts better or else you need a fresh pair of eyes in defining job roles and responsibilities, please give Backlight a call, they’d love to help. Contacts: Marketing Practice:  jonathan@backlightgroup.com Creative Practice:  emma@backlightgroup.com...

Freelance Garment Technologist – Tax War

According to the papers on Sunday, Eamonn Holmes is locked in a legal fight with tax chiefs as HM Revenue & Customs is challenging his freelance pay, which he receives through his own limited company and he may owe millions from the past seven years.  BBC celebs, whose salaries are paid in the same way, have already been targeted by HMRC, which says they are employees. However, Karen Collier Careers will not register a freelance garment technologist who refuses to agree that they are employees and working inside IR35. We have had difficulty explaining this to them, as they know they are much better off working outside IR35, so that they can pay a reduced tax rate and can claim expenses back through their limited companies. There are a lot of retail head offices who are still paying freelancers through the thier limited business, so they are getting away with it. They say they will be worse off, but I try to explain to them that they won’t be worse off, they have just been better off as they have not been paying the correct tax in the first place. Freelancers are still using the same doctors and hospitals as employees who are paying the correct tax and national insurance, so why should they not pay fully for these services when others are. Let us explain: 99% of the time a garment technologist will be working inside IR35, and therefore are deemed to have the same responsibilities or benefits as a permanent employee, their earnings for that assignment are also considered the same as a full time employee. As...

Amanda Alker-Newman at stART Designs

  As the granddaughter of a seamstress for Burtons and the daughter of an artistic mother, I guess you could say flare and creativity runs in the family. The birth of my daughter Elizabeth was when my inner me began to slowly take a hold.  Designing, creating and making my daughter’s clothing and adding sparkly glitter, sequins, ribbons and diamontes to her socks/skirts/tops/jeans/shorts/footwear and hair accessories. Years later I had to balance having a second child which put my own needs on the backburner as my son, whom we adopted, had many known and unknown needs at the time. Slowly, as my children grew, they always wanted their face painted.  This restarted my creative flair leading me to complete a face painting course. As my daughter got a little older, I began to look into adult cosmetics and started my own work on my nails.  I took a college course in Gel and Acrylic Nails. I then went back to college to train in Hair and Media Make-Up.  As well as qualifying on the course, I was awarded first prize in a National Competition for make-up and headdress design.  This course is what finally fulfilled my learning desire to design, create and make head wear pieces.  I love to create and design avant-garde for catwalk shows, to delicate wedding style head wear designs. I start by drawing my designs; this process is how I also currently work with customers.  Creating a finished piece for a customer, and seeing their reaction, makes all the time and process into making the piece worthwhile. My website is currently being designed.  I am...

How I became an International Buying and Brand Director!

I’ve always had a passion and love of clothes, fashion and interiors and knew from a very young age that I wanted to work with fashion and textiles. My mum was a fabulous dress maker, so I was always surrounded by fabrics and encouraged to make my own clothes. I also loved business and numbers so was amazed at finding the perfect degree course at Manchester Polytechnic, Hollings Faculty that combined both! It also included  a year’s work experience in manufacturing, so the perfect training for an amazing career in the fashion business! Buying was absolutely my first choice! Being able to combine my love of design, trend and colour to develop and create collections, with all the commercial elements of business strategy, planning and negotiation was the perfect mix. I also loved the travelling and building relationships with amazing suppliers around the world to create and deliver successful ranges. Armed with a fantastic content learned at Hollings coupled with my work experience I joined the graduate training program for Buying at M&S, which laid the solid foundations for my fabulous career to date! Since then I have been fortunate enough to work for and lead teams in some amazing  brands as Buying Director, Brand Director and MD, both here in the UK and Australia. These include French Connection, Accessorize, Coast, Arcadia-Wallis, Habitat, Jacques Vert and Forever New. I am now sharing my knowledge and expertise by offering my services as a consultant and coach to businesses that need help and support The world of retail and fashion is one of constant change and evolvement which is why I...

How to use the STAR technique to answer competency based interview questions

  Competency based interviews are being used more and more in fashion recruitment for a range of roles. If you’re not quite sure what they are, they’re the questions where you are asked to describe specific examples of times when they have demonstrated particular skills or attitudes. Normally, these questions will require you to describe a particular situation or problem that you were faced with, the actions that you took as well as explaining what the outcome was. The popularity of these questions amongst employers is that they enable them to quickly evaluate a candidate’s mindset and gauge how they may handle certain situations that may occur if they were to be offered the job.   Examples of competency based interview questions include:   Give an example of a time you handled conflict in the workplace (competency: conflict management/resolution) Tell me about a time your communication skills improved a situation (competency: communication) Describe a time when you have used your own initiative in the workplace (competency: creative thinking) Give an example of change in the workplace and how you handled this (competency: flexibility/ability to handle change) Give an example of a time you identified a new approach to a workplace problem (competency: creative thinking) Describe a time you have had to work to an extremely tight deadline (competency: time management)   These are some of the most common types of competency based interview questions that you’ll come across in interviews in the fashion industry, but the fact is that they could ask you about any sort of skill, ability or quality. Therefore, it’s not possible to prepare answers for...

How To Sell Yourself In An Interview

  You’ve applied for the job and got yourself an interview. The hard work isn’t over yet though. Your prospective employer will be interviewing a number of candidates for the role. Chances are, they’re going to have very similar skills, qualifications and experience as you, so what’s going to make your interviewer choose you?   The reality is that you’re going to need to sell yourself, show how you aren’t just better than the other candidates but that you are different, the solution to their needs. We take a look at some simple ways that you can do that. Do your research Researching your prospective employer is crucial for any interview and you can guarantee that other candidates for the role will be doing the same thing. Therefore, regardless of whether you are going for a creative role or more business based role, you need to go the extra mile. Instead of just researching the company, what it does and its history, think about researching the market it operates in and their competitors. Get a full 360 view of the business and showcase your knowledge and apply it critically. This sort of attention to detail won’t fail to be noticed by your interviewers and can really set you apart from the competition.   Mind your body language Choosing the right words is important in an interview. But just as important is your nonverbal communication, also known as your body language. The fact is, you could be giving excellent answers to your interviewer’s questions, but if your body language isn’t right, it could be saying other things to your interviewer....