Claire's Accessories is an international retailing phenomenon. Here, the UK's training manager Gillian Ince, 42, explains her role in sharing learning with colleagues abroad
How long have you been in this job?
Five years. I joined Claire's in 1997 as personnel and training adviser. In 1999, I was promoted to training manager. In February 2002, I was appointed onto our management team.
What does your role involve?
I provide effective training and development strategies for our retail branches and central office, for both Claire's and Girl Heaven [a seven-store business specialising in makeovers and dress-up], covering about 3,500 employees. I also maintain strong links with our European teams, and advise on the tools and resources the UK has produced through our own growth from 55 stores to 440 in five years. My role as part of the management team includes implementing vision, business strategies and structures and managing the day-to-day running of the business.
What's the best thing about your job?
Creating a fun environment for people to work and aspire to. Living the 'buzz' factor we call 'Claire's Culture'.
What is current major project or strategic push?
I am very busy with the new and increased delivery of development programmes for our branch managers and assistant managers in the field; instilling a quality control process into our distribution centre. I am also looking at interdepartmental communication, a team-working programme and the growth of the Girl Heaven brand.
What did you want to do for a living when you were at school?
I wanted to be a swimming instructor and achieved this at the age of 26.
What was your first job?
I had a weekend job at a theme park.
What was your worst career decision?
I don't believe I have made one.
What was the best career decision you ever made?
Joining Claire's Accessories. However, if I hadn't moved into training while working for the electricity industry, then who knows what my destiny would have