HOT 100 PREMIER BUYERS: Debra Willis, jewellery and watch buyer, QVC

In the past year Debra Willis has taken on a more strategic role, stepping away from buying to work with teams to formulate strategies and objectives. This new role has required Willis to stop focusing so much on details and keep an eye on the bigger picture instead.

Since the last WatchPro Hot 100, QVC has launched some new lifestyle brands where the company has been able to sell watches as part of the whole brand offer. For instance, watches from lifestyle brands such as Radley and Orla Kiely have been sold alongside handbags and other accessories.

In Q1 2016, QVC sold more than double the number of watches compared to the same period last year, with sales increasing significantly for core brands.

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“In the last quarter we really focused on gifting for the watches department and this strategy paid off as we doubled our unit sales versus 2015. With this in mind, we are planning more gifting ideas for this year,” Debra shares.

Other achievements for Debra personally include successful juggling the demands of a fast paced career with a two hour commute and a growing family.

Willis has always been conscientious and is extremely driven and focused on achieving results, something she says works well in a rapidly evolving environment which reacts quickly to trends.

“I enjoy analysing sales and bouncing ideas around with the team to ensure we make the right decision not just for now but for the long term success of the department,” Debra explains. “My buying director and our merchandising vice president are both successful, inspiring women who really believe in me and offer lots of encouragement and support. It’s great to work somewhere where you feel truly appreciated and this makes me even more driven to succeed.”



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