Having worked in a UK-based Clarks franchise store for a number of years, I knew one of two things. How amazing the company was to work for and that I wanted to stay and grow with the Clarks family.
Clarks is a long-standing British company that really believes in its products and employees and puts its customers at the forefront of everything it does. The support you feel when you work here is incredible and it really does make you want to be the very best at what you do. Clarks makes you feel proud, it's like being part of a big family and the support you receive from different people across the business is amazing.
For example, as well as being a trained children's shoe-fitter, I was encouraged to enhance my skills and go through manager training at the start of my current role in Germany. Also, most recently, I went on the Step Forward development course, which was an incredible learning experience.
There are also so many opportunities here! There's always the chance to change roles as well as develop yourself in the role you're in. That's something you don't find in a lot of companies. Probably my biggest highlight so far with Clarks has been moving from the UK to Germany to be the manager of the new Outlet store in Wolfsburg. It was just so exciting, sometimes scary and often challenging, but I wouldn't change it for the world. I have been in Germany for eight months now and I absolutely love it.
I thoroughly enjoy the responsibility of managing a new Outlet store. It's very different and incredibly rewarding. I love learning about the shoes, selling shoes, building a great team and talking to customers and sharing my knowledge of Clarks with a new market. It means that no two days are the same.
I think my most important challenge - and it's a pretty big one - is building an entirely new customer base and bringing in the sales so that my store is more and more successful and grows every year. It's hard work but I'm more than ready for it and the team is right with me. People are very, very important. Our customers are the foundation of absolutely everything we do because, without them, there would be no Clarks. They are our focus and we do everything to provide them with high quality shoes at reasonable prices. My store team works incredibly hard to do that and customers can see that they are very proud to be working for such a great company.
The people behind the scenes are just as vital. They help me if I have any problems or queries and are always there for me. Without such great colleagues, I can't do my job or be successful. With such collaborative working, my store will go from strength to strength. As the store gets bigger, there will be more opportunities for me to potentially manage other stores and go into alternative roles.
You never feel like just another employee in a sea of people here. I feel part of a big family and there are so many opportunities within the company. We all feel that our work counts, that we're making a difference and, do you know what? You really are making a difference because your work really does matter to Clarks.
Right now I don't have any solid projects lined up but I'd love to open another Outlet store this year. Clarks has plenty to offer and, if I had to move to another country again, then I'm all for it - I'd like to keep moving forward with Clarks until I retire! There's also a more personal reason for wanting to stay. I have size 8 feet and absolutely adore Clarks shoes! You get a hefty discount on our fab products, which means I can really indulge myself! I also get 24 days holiday a year and very competitive salary and I tend to think that the company's 'family' culture is also a valuable part of the generous benefit package.
When I'm not working (or buying shoes) I'm busy buying furniture and decorating my new flat in Germany. In my spare time I enjoy exploring Wolfsburg and the surrounding towns, reading, catching up on British TV and baking cakes. I'm also trying to get used to watching German-dubbed films in the local cinema!
Bethan, Store Manager - Wolfsburg Outlet, Wolfsburg, Germany