Buying for Woolies is an exhilarating experience

What do you love most aboutyour job?

Home decor is a subject I am passionate about, so I thoroughly enjoy working as a buyer in this area.

Woolworths products are of a consistently excellent quality, innovative, in line with trends and competitively priced.

So, being a buyer is very interesting and endlessly challenging.

Do you have a backgroundin interior design?

I am not an interior designer by training. I have "on the job" experience in this area.

Fortunately at Woolworths, buyers work very closely with an internal design centre that has a number of talented people with "formal" design qualifications.

What is the most difficultaspect of your job?

Woolworths customers have come to expect a lot from the brand, and rightly so. So there is a lot to think about when "buying" product for Woolworths.

Do you get help from local designers or do you rely only on your own staff to makedecisions?

The design impetus comes from the design centre. We use freelance designers for certain categories of product, while some suppliers have their own excellent design centres.

In the future, our homeware design centre will have its own designers, who will be able to design everything needed for a new season, from a teapot to bedding.

Do you buy for the individualor for the mass market?

Woolworths has a national footprint, so we cater for a wide variety of customers.

Are all Woolworths productsproduced locally or do you import from other countries?

The vast majority of our products are manufactured locally but we also source from other parts of the world.

Woolworths always comes up with exceptional Christmas gift ideas? Do you have a team of marketers who come up with these?

The design centre and, in some cases, various buyers travel to New York and London to see what they're doing for Christmas or another "special occasion".

We also work with marketing to come up with appropriate, brand-relevant packaging.

Do you consult any magazines or websites for ideas? I

Websites are important for gauging trends. We also take inspiration from a range of local and international magazines.

How often do you change the products on sale?

Promotions are scheduled throughout the year but Woolworths always has good value.

The Fourways Design Quarter store has a great range of homeware products, which store nationwide is the most popular for buying homeware?

Our lifestyle stores sell quite a bit of homeware, that is Willowbridge Cape Town, Design Quarter Johannesburg and Menlyn in Pretoria among others.