An Interview with Bestseller
Published: 26 Jan 2015
Allan Vad Nielsen, Head of Bestseller Group in US, Canada and UK.
Tell us a little bit about Bestseller
Bestseller is a family business, still owned today by the founding Polvsen family who continue to work very closely with all the Bestseller brands. Established in Denmark in 1975, our brands now sit in over 70 markets across the globe. The Bestseller hub is in Denmark with offices in each country, utilising local talent to ensure we are adaptable and sympathetic to the unique retail environment each territory has.
What makes working for you different to other Fashion Retailers?
Our family mentality runs through the whole company with everyone sharing a mutual goal to succeed in what they do. We encourage and trust each team member to do their job how they see fit and help each other along the way, there are no limits at Bestseller and we like to see our people grow with the company. Most of our top management has been recruited from within.
What is the best thing about working for you?
Obviously each individuals opinion is different but I like to think we gain the results we do from trusting in our teams and giving them the freedom to do their jobs, that is why we employ them so why restrict them.
What are the top 3 things that you look for in a candidate?
We look for like-minded people who are passionate and driven but also humble in everything they do. For us the candidates mentality and personality are just as important, if not more so, than the skill sets they have.
How do you support employees in their career development?
As much as we are always developing and progressing our brands, we take the same attitude with our teams. If we see strengths we encourage them to grow their roles into these areas, if there are weaknesses we work together to improve this. If we find candidates with the pre mentioned qualities we look for we like to keep hold of them for as long as possible and we see this is best done through challenging and growing their roles, making them feel at home within the company and allowing them to grow as people.
How did you get to where you are today?
By having good people around me. All of what has been achieved in the UK has been down to the people that work on the different brands across the different departments. We build strong relationships with our customers who we show respect and work hard for to meet their demands, we keep things simple and it works. We are always learning and are not afraid to listen to others and learn from our mistakes. Be humble and treat people as you wish to be treated, even in business.
What has been your career highlight?
I don’t think that there is one defining moment I can say is the highlight of my career , I feel very proud to see people develop and grow within the company, people who when they joined in junior positions are now key people within the business and are achieving their own goals because of the opportunities they have been given, The team is over 80 people strong and when I took over the UK our company meetings were held in the back of a car on the motorway as we travelled to look for new business, we have come a long way and that for me is that part of my job that I feel brings me the most satisfaction, and I hope I can continue giving good people opportunities as the business grows.
What was the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
I have worked with many different people and lots of different characters, what i have learned is that you should always listen to people because everyone can give you good advice from all levels of experience, it may be 1 small piece of advice or idea that can make a big difference to the business.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
There is no clear path that you can follow that will guarantee you achieve your goals but I believe its important that whatever you are doing you must have passion , energy and love for your role because without this you will not give 100% and thats the minimum needed to achieve success . Its not always about you, its about the team you have around you. Make sure you are surrounded by strong people who will motivate you and push you daily to be better.