HOT 100 2015 BUSINESS BIG SHOTS: Stephanie Wilkes and Clair Albone

Stephanie Wilkes & Clair Albone, jewellery buyers, Argos.

“As Argos moves towards being a digitally led business, my job is to ensure our website is both inspirational and browse-able for jewellery,” explains Stephanie.

In fact, Argos is knee deep in its digital transformation plan, which will see its trademark catalogue become a tool for encouraging web sales. As Stephanie explains: “The catalogue has historically been our shop window but as the business transforms, we see the catalogue playing a different but important role in ‘spring boarding’ customers to see our ranges and richer online content, such as videos, magazines and photography.”

Both Stephanie and her colleague Clair have been instrumental in Argos’s most recent jewellery launch – Exclusively Yours — which allows customers to build their own bespoke diamond pendant, earrings or engagement ring online. “This is a really exciting proposition for our customers as we are the fi rst high street retailer to do this which is a real achievement,” Stephanie adds.

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In the next 12 months, Clair will be working with the winner of Argos’ Birmingham School of Jewellery student competition, which aims to support an emerging British designer. She explains: “As retail is a fast moving environment we are continuously looking at ways to improve our offer to customers and how they interact with us as a business.”

When she’s not working in retail, you’ll find Stephanie indulging in some retail therapy and making a mental note of some of the trends she finds on the Great British High Street. As for Clair, she has a passion for travel and sampling traditional cuisine, noting: “I enjoy eating the traditional food of the countries that I visit so I can bring back recipes to try on family and friends. To compensate I run, so it balances out what I over-eat!”

If you’re wondering where the ladies had their picture taken for this year’s Hot 100, you need look no further than Milton Keynes’ indoor beach. Stephanie jokes: “This is the closest we could get to being by the actual seaside.”

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