If you’re going to get into a debate with Londoner Keira Payne-Gibbs, then you’d better bring some serious stamina.
“I’m really good at complaining tenaciously and have the ability to wear people down until they see my point of view,” quips the WatchHut buyer and obsessive foodie.
Not only has she been putting those essential buyer skills to use at work, she’s also involved in local politics in her beloved Bermondsey and dips her toe in the world of campaigning. Her determination also shines through in her approach to big challenges, like skydiving for charity with the Red Devils back in September and her absolute refusal to quit in the face of being a rubbish baker – her words, not ours.
This is exactly the sort of person you want in charge when you have a major project to be delivered at a sensitive time, as DM London did when it decided to refit its Selfridges locations in London, Birmingham and the Trafford Centre within six weeks over the Christmas period. “I’m fiercely proud of having seen this through from original concept plans to being at each one of the shopfits,” says Payne-Gibbs, who describes the experience as stressful and challenging but ultimately rewarding.
It’s been a formative year for Payne-Gibbs. Not only has the store environment changed, but the brands she deals with are becoming increasingly diverse. “The traditional brand landscape has changed beyond recognition for us in the first quarter of the year, and there have been a few new brands to shake up the industry,” she says, describing 2015 as one of the most exciting seasons she’s seen. “We have grasped these brands early and given them the focus they need, that kind of motivation drives us to go out searching for the next big thing – that’s the ethos of DM London really.”