Pepe Jeans London is a denim and casual wear jeans brand established in the Portobello Road area of London in 1973 and based in Sant Feliu de Llobregat, Spain. From its origins as a tiny market stall to a US$ 500 million brand, Pepe has transformed itself into a jeans-wear label throughout Europe. The brand today has a presence in more than 80 countries across the world.
In 1973, it was originally just a weekend roadside stall on the Portobello Road Market located in West London established by three brothers: Nitin Shah, Arun Shah, and Milan Shah. Nitin and his two brothers later started their own company Sholemay Ltd trading, as Pepe Jeans. The brand was named “Pepe” because it was a short word that could be written without much trouble.
We recently talk to Francisco Fuentes Mella, Product Manager at Pepe Jeans for North Europe and Mexico, to discover more about how a business administrator arrives in the fashion world, and what exactly a Product Manager for a big company does.
For those who don’t know you, talk about your background.
My name is Francisco Fuentes Mella and I am coming from Business and Administration with a specialization in Marketing. I know that is not really related to fashion but in this sector, in the end, you need to sell.
After studying Administration and Political Science, why did you enter in the Fashion Industry?
Right now, I am taking Politics Science in the distance university because I really like to study and learn new things. I have entered in fashion because it is my passion. I enjoy a lot working in this sector and my dream is to create a women brand.
What’s it like being in the Fashion industry?
It is amazing, coming from a business school I could work in finance, but I really enjoy this sector. I like everything, doing shopping trips, checking the new trends, study competitors, doing fittings, and so on. This sector or you love it or if not it is better to work in another thing; to have success you have to live it.
What was your first job in the fashion industry?
My first job was in New York as an assistant for a fashion stylist and also my boss at that time she had a showroom for new American designers. It was my best year as we did a lot of cool stuff and it was there when I have seen that this is my sector and I had to put all my effort to rock in this sector.
Talk about the changes in your life since you’ve taken as Product Manager at Pepe Jeans.
Being a Product Manager in Pepe Jeans is really cool because it is a big company but in the headquarters, we are not so many, so at the end of the day you have to multitask and it is very important for me. So, right now I am also doing the special production for the retail channel and it is so much fun working with the designers, pattern makers,… close! Here is where I can show my creativity and passion for this sector.
Describe what do you do in your work?
Basically you have to be very close to the stores in terms of product and have all of them always with the right product and sizes. It is really annoying when one customer leaves the store without buying because there is not a good size or the good style. Besides, I am doing some buying tasks as I said before for the special production.
What do you like about your work?
To be honest, I have to admit that I like everything about it. I really enjoy every day and as this sector is changing a lot; there is always something different every day.
What advice would you pass along to those starting out in the Fashion Business?
My advice is that you have to love and have a passion for this sector. If you don’t feel that maybe is better to go to another sector because work in fashion is very demanding and you have to be 100% every day.
Besides, curiosity is another advice as this sector is changing really fast and coming to new competitors every year; you have to be very fresh to bring success for your company.