Sabrina Barendes – the Logistic queen & power behind the scene

When I set up #MytSmartCookie at the beginning is to write about my friends, peers, people I hired who may never choose CEO as their ultimate career goals, who are clever, and very good at their jobs and without them a business cannot function. I have seen so many bosses who don’t give credit to their teams or steal the bright team member’s idea and said it’s from themselves… I also noticed that in press, often people only interview C levels and any function that may be more in front of the camera and forgetting how crucial it is to have an amazing operation, logistic and production team.

Today I am writing about a lady I respect a lot in this field, Sabrina Barendes, a super sassy logistic boss at Nicholas Kirkwood. With no background in fashion, how she started her career journey and managed shipping and supply chain on track, to ensure customers are happy and receiving correct orders on-time.

When I worked with Sabrina at Kirkwood, it was a tough business period for the brand as NK was just acquired by LVMH and the teams were rather divided. Sabrina was always fair, she was quiet but helpful, we excelled through first few seasons, about 10 months later we started to receive bigger orders, reorders, special projects and trunk-shows from Matches Fashion to Lane Crawford, Bergdorf to Saks and Middle Eastern accounts started to blossom, I always knew that without Sabrina and her team effort, the operation couldn’t be possible, the more sales grow, the more important it is to have a great logistic team. I want to put this spotlight today above this mama boss Sabrina, see our conversation below:

KF: Please share your journey of career, how did you then landed in this big position as Logistic and Supply Chain Director at Nicholas Kirkwood?

SB: I studied International Trade and Languages in France and in the UK and graduated with a Masters degree. I always loved learning languages and I wanted to use them with my job. I landed in Logistics by chance – my first internship was with a Freight company and I really enjoyed it.

Because my degree had such a broad range I didn’t want to be “stuck” in Logistics – I wanted to see if another area of a business would appeal more than Logistics did and when I moved to Paris, I got a job with a small retailer where I was an account manager and I realised I really liked Fashion, Import & Export, seeing the product come to life etc. Then me and my husband moved to the UK and I first worked for a Luxury lighting company again as an Account Manager and then joined a heritage brand working in Logistics within the Leather goods department. That’s when I discovered Production and I LOVED it. Then, one day I got a call from LVMH offering me a position as a Logistics Manager for one of their brand and slowly but surely I built my way up to my current position. I guess my strong points were that I had experience in small companies where you need to be very hands-on, a problem solver and having worked on the supplier side and the client side, then internally as a Sales person and then Logistics/ Prod, it has helped me get a greater understanding of how a business operates, what challenges there are from all stakeholders and I realised I’d much prefer solving issues for customers than selling to them.

KF: In fashion or business in general, logistic department is not well talked about or promoted, often Sales or Marketing get credit when business is booming, what is your view on this and please explain how important to praise your department?

SB: I’m going to put it out there and you know me I’m honest – It used to annoy the hell out of me. I used to think it was so unfair. Credit would only be given to Marketing or Sales team but no one would ever consider thanking and acknowledging Logistics or the Finance department.. Well that is changing finally. Because of the situation in the world right now, people and more importantly businesses are now starting to understand (although I think they always knew somewhat) that Supply Chain is critical to the success of any company. You can have the best sales person in the world, the most beautiful product at the perfect price and 2M followers on Instagram (I’m taking lots of shortcuts here but you get my meaning), without a robust, flexible and agile SC, you will fail. One of my ex boss has told me once that Supply Chain was the backbone of any company and I see it now said and written more and more and it feels right.

Logistics is not only Shipping that’s another mistake people make. Supply Chain involves a lot of different skills (problem solving, organisation and planning, relationship building, negotiation and a lot of patience among other things of course). It is super important to recognise the good work that any department does – your client got their delivery on time? Don’t assume it was straightforward for the team to do. Each customers have their own wishes and processes and more often than not the Logistics department need to manage all different sorts of problems – it’s not a walk in the park, Also where Sales only have their external clients, Logistics have double the amount. We see the other departments of the company as our “clients” too like PR for instance where press samples needed to be sent yesterday to a remote area and either something went wrong with the planning or nobody thought relevant to inform the Logistics department before it was too late so we step in and 9 times out  of 10 we succeed, or a Wholesaler only wants to receive full size run so you need to wait until you have all the Production and constantly keep them aware of what’s going on. We are at the end of the process and if someone drops the ball and doesn’t notice, the issue will be discovered at the end ie when Logistics take over) and often, even though fixable, it will involve time and money to fix it– it’s a constant juggling act and that’s what we love, we never get bored but a thank you goes a long way.

KF: How has the pandemic affect the overall supply chain from your experience? Could you give a before and after comparison or view point?

SB: Well, it has certainly highlighted the importance of it. It has forced us to come with better solutions sometimes costly (upfront) like developing DTC but I still feel there is a reluctance to invest in it. It’s still a long way to go. Like if sales and revenue go down why should we pay more for transport or invest in IT/systems? Which is thinking backwards for me. It’s only if you invest in those areas that you will go back stronger. When you look at what happened with PPE or even the shortages of key products at the beginning of the lockdown, without the transportation companies and a common effort from several Supply Chains, we’d still be looking for toilet paper 😊. Personally, because I struggle sometimes to get my point to upper management the fact that this situation is global has helped me give clear examples and apply them to the business by explaining how important it was for the companies to plan, invest, communicate more transparently, get data, analyse it and make conscious decisions rather than just wing it. And it has made people realise (hopefully) that Logistics applies to their ever day life. Who doesn’t plan, negotiate, drives from 1 point to another and make decisions based on fact? This is all Logistics in a nutshell.

KF: I know you are a lady with many talents, so when you are not in fashion, what do you do? Is this a way to relax or you really hope you can pursue something else additional to this fashion career?

SB: 2 things actually. I’m quite spiritual, I don’t believe in religion but in something bigger like the Universe and I try to practice (but not often as I should) meditation and breathing. It has helped me a lot overcoming my anxiety issues. It’s also helped me get to know myself better not the version of myself I thought I was but the real me, deep down. And then, studying business was not what I wanted when I was younger. Very early on, I realised that what I wanted to do for the rest of my life was acting. But family thought it was not the proper way to get money so I gave that dream up but I have been doing it as a hobby for a long time. Then 3yrs ago I decided to give it a chance but it’s tough. It requires a lot of dedication but hopefully it will pay one day.

KF: How has motherhood changed your view on businesses supporting women? and I am sure it has changed a lot since lockdown, do you have any particular policy that you wish businesses can look deeper to support working mothers?

SB: My journey with balancing motherhood and career has not been a straightforward one. For starter, I always said I would not have children (until I met my husband). My career was always #1. It defined me or so I thought. But having said that, I once had someone questioning my “future projects” before they make a decision to hand me over a big project. I didn’t understand it at first then it clicked. I was being asked if I was planning on having kids in the near future and I was shocked. Before that I had never experienced any form of discrimination. How come people can still think that a mother or any parent cannot juggle both?

Anyway long story short, when I had my son I realised a job was just a job. I still love working but my family is much more important. I made the conscious decision to only go for jobs which were not going to damage my mental health like they did before. But also I would not let them. Meaning if I have to leave early because my child is sick I will leave early so I’d seriously would tell businesses to be more flexible, extend maternity cover because at 3 months you don’t want to leave your child (I know I didn’t) and why not support us with childcare costs.  The pandemic has also forced businesses into accepting working from home (probably one of the only positive of this year) and I hope this will carry on even after. Finally, I’d say to these companies don’t push women away for fear we will drop you once we have a child. We’ll do the job even better because we have a lot more at stake than you think.

KF: You are French, and we always talked about food and being in England vs food in France. What dish have you missed the most that after years in the UK you still can’t get the real deal here, and if you can share any of your secret recipe that can whip up a dish in 30 minutes?

SB: OOOH loads. Every time I go back to France I bring back a luggage full of food. Cheese, pate and foie gras, I also miss fresh fruits and veg market you go walking on a Sunday morning, the nice crunch of a fresh baguette which doesn’t go stale after a day. I miss African dishes my grandma used to cook.

My quick recipe would be Muffin Frittata from the Hemsley Sisters:

Muffin Frittatas

Ingredients

Serves 12

8 eggs

2 large pinches of sea salt

a large pinch of black pepper

3 carrots or 3 courgettes, roughly grated (or a mix of both)

a handful of veg – try chopped red pepper, fennel or peas

1 onion or leek, or some spring onions or fresh chives (dice, chop or snip them finely as you won’t be frying them)

1 large garlic clove, finely diced

any spices or herbs, fresh or dried (we like 1tsp dried oregano and a small handful of fresh parsley)

a large handful of grated hard cheese, such as Cheddar, Gruyère or Parmesan

How To:

1. Preheat the oven to fan 190°C/Gas mark 6. Grease a muffin tray well with a little butter/ghee or use paper cases or parchment paper.

2. Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Add the salt and pepper, all the grated and chopped vegetables or peas, finely chopped onion or leek, garlic and any spices or herbs.You are looking for a ratio of around 50 per cent egg to 50 per cent raw veg.

3. Pour the mixture into the prepared muffin tray.

4. Bake for 12 minutes, then crumble the cheese on top and turn on the grill. Grill for about a minute until the tops are golden brown. Alternatively, you could stir the cheese into the egg mix, not bother with the grill and just cook in the oven for 14 minutes.

5. To check if they are done, give the muffin tray a wobble – the frittatas should be just set in the middle. You can always put them back in the oven for another 1–2 minutes if you think they need cooking any longer.

6. Remove the frittatas from the tray and leave to cool on a wire rack. Wrap them up in baking or greaseproof paper or pop them in your lunch box for a great snack on the go.

Sabrina Barendes LinkedIn She is the Director of Logistic & Supply Chain at Nicholas Kirkwood.

Hope you enjoyed this interview. You can follow me on Instagram for more stories and update. Fashion & Creative Business Workshop booking is open now via link here.

中文:

當我剛開始成立#MytSmartCookie時,是想訪問我所僱用的同事或同事或人員的,這些人可能永遠不會選擇CEO作為他們的最終職業目標,但是他們很聰明,對自己的工作非常擅長,沒有他們,業務將無法運作。我見過很多老闆不讚美他們的團隊或竊取聰明的團隊成員的想法,並說這是他們自己的……我還注意到,在新聞界,人們通常只採訪C級人員,而忘記了擁有一支出色的運營,後勤和生產團隊的關鍵。

今天,我很高興來分享尼古拉斯·柯克伍德(Nicholas Kirkwood)精品鞋的超級強的物流老闆薩布麗娜·巴倫德斯(Sabrina Barendes)的事業路程,她在這一領域倍受尊敬。在沒有時尚背景的情況下,她如何開始自己的職業生涯,並按計劃管理運輸和供應鏈,以確保客戶滿意並準時收到正確的訂單。

當我在柯克伍德(Kirkwood)與薩布麗娜(Sabrina)工作時,這對品牌來說是一個艱難的商業時期,因為NK剛剛被LVMH收購,並且團隊分散。薩布麗娜(Sabrina)總是很公平,她安靜但樂於助人,我們在最初的幾個季節都表現出色,大約10個月後,我們開始收到來自Matches Fashion到Lane Crawford,Bergdorf到Saks和Middle East的更大訂單,重新訂購,特殊項目和行李箱展示。帳戶開始開花,我一直知道,如果沒有Sabrina和她的團隊的努力,就不可能進行運營,銷售增長越多,擁有一支優秀的物流團隊就越重要。我今天想把這個焦點放在這位厲害媽媽薩布麗娜的上方,請參見下面的對話:

KF:請分享您的職業生涯,然後您是如何在尼古拉斯·柯克伍德(Nicholas Kirkwood)擔任物流和供應鏈總監的大職位的呢?

SB:我在法國和英國學習了國際貿易和語言,並獲得了碩士學位。我一直很喜歡學習語言,我想在工作中使用它們。我偶然進入了物流公司–我的第一份實習是在貨運公司,我真的很喜歡。

因為我的學位範圍如此之廣,所以我不想被物流業“卡住”-我想看看企業的另一個領域是否會比物流業更具吸引力,當我搬到巴黎時,我得到了一份工作。我是客戶經理的一家小零售商,我意識到我真的很喜歡時裝,進出口,看到產品栩栩如生等。然後,我和我的丈夫搬到了英國,我首先作為一家客戶在豪華照明公司工作。經理,然後加入了皮具部門的物流業傳統品牌。那就是我發現Production並喜歡它的時候。然後,有一天,我接到了LVMH的電話,為我提供了其中一個品牌的物流經理職位,但慢慢地,我肯定會逐步提升到目前的職位。我想我的強項是我在小型公司有經驗,您需要非常勤動手,一個會解決問題的人,並且曾在供應商和客戶方面工作過,然後在內部擔任銷售人員,然後是物流/產品經理,它幫助我加深了對業務運作方式,所有利益相關者面臨的挑戰的了解,並且我意識到我更願意為客戶解決問題而不是向他們出售。

KF: 一般而言,在時尚或商業中,後勤部門討論或提升的程度不高,當業務蓬勃發展時,銷售或市場營銷通常會獲得信譽,您對此有何看法,請解釋一下您的部門有多重要?

SB: 我要直接說了,你知道我,我很誠實。我的部門不常受到注意這件事 曾經使我煩惱。我曾經認為這太不公平了。信譽只會授予市場營銷或銷售團隊,而沒人會考慮感謝並認可物流或財務部門。由於當前的世界形勢,人們(更重要的是企業)現在開始了解(儘管我認為他們一直都知道)供應鏈對於任何公司的成功至關重要。您可以擁有世界上最好的銷售人員,最優惠的價格提供最漂亮的產品以及Instagram上的200萬關注者(我在這裡採取了許多捷徑,但您有我的意

思),而無需強大,靈活和敏捷的SC,您將失敗。我的一位前任老闆曾告訴我,供應鍊是任何公司的骨幹力量,我現在看到它說的越來越多,寫的越來越多,感覺很對。

物流不僅僅是運輸,這是人們犯的另一個錯誤。供應鏈涉及許多不同的技能(問題解決,組織和計劃,建立關係,談判以及當然還有很多耐心)。認識到任何部門所做的出色工作非常重要-您的客戶準時交貨了嗎?不要以為團隊做起來很簡單。每個客戶都有自己的願望和流程,後勤部門通常需要處理各種不同的問題- 這不是在公園散步,而且在銷售只有外部客戶的情況下,後勤部門的數量卻翻了一番。我們也將公司的其他部門視為PR的“客戶”,例如,昨天需要將印刷樣品發送到偏遠地區,或者計劃出了點問題,或者沒有人認為有相關信息可以在事前通知物流部門。為時已晚,所以我們介入了,成功了10次,有9次成功了,或者批發商只想接受全尺寸運行,因此您需要等待直到所有生產都完成,並不斷讓他們知道發生了什麼。我們處於流程的最後,如果有人丟球而沒有註意到,問題將在最後發現(即,當物流接管時),並且儘管可以解決,但解決該問題通常會花費時間和金錢。 –這是一種持續不斷的雜耍行為,這就是我們的愛,我們從不感到無聊,但謝謝您可以走很長一段路。

KF: 從您的經歷來看,大疫情如何影響整個供應鏈?您能否給出一個比較之前或之後的觀點?

SB:好吧,它肯定突出了它的重要性。它迫使我們提供有時更好的解決方案,有時需要昂貴的(前期)開發DTC,但我仍然感到不願意對其進行投資。還有很長的路要走。就像銷售和收入下降一樣,為什麼我們應該為運輸或在IT /系統上投資更多呢?這在想我。只有在這些領域進行投資,您才能恢復強勁實力。當您查看PPE所發生的情況,或者在鎖定開始之時甚至主要產品短缺時,沒有運輸公司的幫助,也沒有幾個供應鏈的共同努力,我們仍在尋找衛生紙😊。就我個人而言,由於有時我很難理解高層管理人員的事實,即這種情況是全球性的,這一事實通過解釋公司對計劃,投資,更透明地進行溝通的重要性,為我提供了清晰的例子並將其應用於業務。獲取數據,對其進行分析並做出有意識的決策,而不僅僅是揮舞它。它使人們(希望)意識到物流適用於他們的日常生活。誰不計劃,談判,從1點駛向另一點並根據事實做出決策?簡而言之,這就是所有物流。

KF: 我知道你是位才華橫溢的女士,所以當你不時尚時,你會怎麼做?這是一種放鬆的方式,還是您真的希望您可以追求時尚事業之外的其他東西?

SB: 實際上有2件事。我很靈性,我不信仰宗教,但是信仰宇宙之類的東西,我嘗試練習(但並不經常)練習冥想和呼吸。它幫助我克服了許多焦慮症。它也幫助我更好地了解了自己,而不是我原以為自己的版本,而是真正的內心深處。然後,學習商業並不是我年輕時想要的。很早以前,我意識到我一生想要做的就是表演。但是家人認為這不是賺錢的正確方法,所以我放棄了這個夢想,但是作為愛好我已經有很長時間了。然後三年前,我決定給它一個機會,但這很難。它需要很多奉獻精神,但希望它將付出一天。

KF:母親身份如何改變了您對支持女性的企業的看法?而且我確信自鎖定以來,它已經發生了很大變化,您是否有任何特別的政策希望您的企業可以更深入地了解工作的母親?

SB:我在兼顧孕產和職業方面的旅程並非一帆風順。首先,我總是說我不會有孩子(直到我遇到我的丈夫)。我的職業生涯始終是第一名。我認為它定義了我。但是話雖如此,我還是曾經有人問過我的“未來項目”,然後他們才決定將我交給一個大項目。一開始我聽不懂,然後點擊了。有人問我是否打算在不久的將來生孩子,我感到震驚。在此之前,我從未經歷過任何形式的歧視。人們怎麼仍然可以認為母親或任何父母都不能兼顧兩者呢?

總之,長話短說,當我有了兒子時,我意識到一份工作就是一份工作。我仍然喜歡工作,但我的家人更重要。我做出了明智的決定,只選擇不會像以前那樣損害我的心理健康的工作。但我也不會放過他們。意味著如果我因為孩子生病必須早退,我會早退,所以我會認真地告訴企業要更加靈活,擴大產假保障,因為三個月後您不想離開孩子(我知道我沒有’t),為什麼不以兒童撫養費來支持我們。大流行還迫使企業接受在家工作(可能是今年唯一的積極工作之一),我希望這種情況能持續下去。最後,我要對這些公司說不要把女人趕走,因為擔心我們生完孩子後會丟下你。我們會做得更好,因為我們面臨的風險比您想像的要多得多。

KF: 您是法國人,我們經常談論美食和在英國與在法國的美食。在英國生活多年之後,您最想念的菜是什麼呢?您仍然無法在這裡獲得真正的交易;如果您可以分享自己的任何秘方,可以在30分鐘內攪動一道菜?

SB: 噢!那太多了。每次回法國,我都會帶回一個裝滿食物的行李箱。奶酪,肉醬和鵝肝醬,我還想念新鮮水果和蔬菜市場,所以您在星期天的早晨去散步,那是新鮮的法式麵包的美味佳餚。我想念祖母曾經做過的非洲菜。

我的快速食譜是Hemsley Sisters的Muffin Frittata。

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