‘Getting to Know’ Graham Boyle – iCandy Head of Buying
Next in our ‘Getting to Know’ series is our wonderful and extremely experienced Head of Buying, Graham Boyle who shares with us his insights into working at iCandy...
When did you start at iCandy?
What does a typical day at iCandy look like for you?
My day usually starts at 8am, I log on and check my emails and communications that have come in overnight from my colleagues and the factories in China. I deal with anything urgent and try to plan my day. I then usually catch up with our CEO Warren who I work very closely with on all aspects of production planning, forecasting, order and delivery queries, and any general projects we have ongoing which can be anything from company Healthcare to the current refurbishment of the iCandy HQ Bathrooms. After that I’m free to work on my tasks, respond to queries and support my colleagues for the rest of the day with pricing, promotions and various reports that help maintain the smooth running of iCandy.
What is your favourite part of your job?
The sheer variety of my days, I can easily get bored, and after 11 years in the same role I like that it is ever-evolving and changing. The fact we work very closely with the senior management allows us to be very agile and quick to respond to demands and changes.
What are the things you’ve done at this company that you’re the proudest about?
Having started my working life as a YTS trainee, I have been really proud to start the iCandy apprenticeship scheme and welcome two apprentices into their first roles, mentor and support them and ultimately see them go on to start their own careers. I was very lucky that iCandy supported me with achieving my purchasing qualifications through night classes, as a mature student I was immensely proud that I was able to put the time aside, study hard, and pass my exams.
What is your favourite memory since you started at iCandy?
There really are a great deal, simple ones like colleagues I have worked with, and we really do get a great bunch at iCandy. We have attended many of the baby shows which involve staying away at weekends, and it’s been great fun to get to know people from different departments so much better. Another is our MD Martin telling our retailers at the iCandy Midnight launch to hurry up as Sophie Ellis Bextor was waiting backstage, without announcing her. I mostly remember laughing with a few drinks after long days back at the hotels at the NEC, Olympia or Excel, and one of my favourite memories was sitting in a hotel room in California waiting for the birth of my twins, with a Peach Special edition boxed up next to me, ready to deliver to an A-List star in Calabasas, LA. That’s the kind of crazy life that iCandy has given me, and I wouldn’t swap it.
What three words would you use to describe yourself in the workplace?
Flexible, articulate, thorough.
If you weren’t working as iCandy’s Head of Buying, what would you be doing?
In an ideal world I would have loved to have been a TV presenter, even now I can daydream of presenting iCandy on QVC or something like that. In my 20s I had the opportunity to do some presenting and loved it, I did work experience at a TV studio, and worked as a production assistant for a short while. I have had the opportunity to get involved in some iCandy promotions on social media, both in front of and behind the camera, and present and produce the iCandy fashion shows, so I have been able to use and indulge this passion to some degree.
How has iCandy changed as a company since you first started working here?
We have massively grown, both in staff numbers, turnover and reputation. I joined iCandy at the start of the boom; Apple had come out of the blocks like a rocket, and Peach was in its 1st iteration. Since then, I have seen products developed and introduced, I have seen the worldwide growth of the brand. We have become a more corporate company, but maintaining our boutique feel and values.
Can you give us an interesting or surprising little-known ‘fact’ about iCandy?
iCandy has been the pushchair of choice for Hollywood actors, Olympic athletes, Supermodels, at least one Spice girl, soap stars, UK acting family dynasties, popstars, reality TV super stars, royalty, business magnates, some of the biggest influencers, Premier League and England footballers and ME, so I’m in good company.
If you were MD of iCandy for a day, what is the first thing you would do?
I wouldn’t want the responsibility or stress that goes hand in hand with being MD, but I would introduce a bring your dog to work policy, so that I could have my Standard Schnauzer, Felicia, under my desk with me all day.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grow up?
It’s a bit of a cliché but a popstar. I grew up in the Stock, Aitken and Waterman pop era with stars like Kylie and Jason, and I imagined I would be on Top of the Pops (despite having no singing ability or musical talent).
If you were to give your younger self some advice, what would it be?
This is a difficult thing to decide, all of my decisions and choices brought me to where I am now. If I had done things differently, I wouldn’t have my lovely family or the life I have. I look back, I guess like most people, at some of the choices I made as a teenager and cringe, but thankfully this was in the era before camera phones and social media. The main thing is that I grew up feeling invisible and desperate to not draw attention to myself, and I wish I had some of the confidence and experience that I have now, but you can’t put an old head on young shoulders. Instead, I hope that I can use this to instil in my own kids a sense of worth, belief, confidence, and to know they are special and important and deserving of happiness and success.