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SOPHIE HALLIDAY

'I studied at Northallerton School through to 2012, where I left with A Levels in Art, English Language and Psychology. I then took a gap year in New Zealand to train as a ski instructor, and followed the Winter season round to Switzerland where I applied my training and worked. Afterwards, I went on to study Fine Art at Northumbria University. At first I wasn't certain that I wanted to go to university, as I was keen to pursue a creative career, but unsure what that would entail. In my mind, the only way I was going to go to uni, was to study Art. I had a fantastic time there with a really rounded education in both studio practice and history. I went in leaning in the direction of studio practice, and came out enjoying the history lectures and essays the most. It was great that the degree had an even balance of the two, as I felt I was able to come away with transferable skills and the option to change my focus.

This is exactly what I did, as following graduation, I moved to London with no idea what I wanted to do. I decided to get some 'office' experience and some money coming in whilst I worked it all out. I found myself interning at a renowned British Handbags brand in the Production team. I instantly learned this was not the type of role for me as it was very data heavy with little proximity to the products themselves. However, I did enjoy my communication with the Merchandising team, as they appeared to have involvement in almost all aspects of the business. In order to move closer to this team, I secured a temp role within Merchandising & Finance as a 'Stocktake Analyst'. Although this wasn't the role I wanted, it gave me even better exposure to Merchandising and I felt it would serve me well on my CV.

With this experience, I went on to work in retail Merchandising, which is where I find myself currently. I have worked at a couple of companies over the last few years with entirely different experiences. I am currently at John Lewis and about to move to an online fashion brand to broaden my skill set in this field. I really enjoy what I do, as I am able to combine logical and creative thinking, whilst supporting the development of products and analysing customer behaviours/trends.

I never thought I would work in an office, let alone this type of role. However, I found that by following my interests and instincts, I was able to learn a lot about myself along the way (often finding out what I definitely didn't want to do in the process). Being open-minded has helped me to get to where I am today, and I'm excited to see where it takes me next.'

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