PEP&CO – one of the UK’s fastest growing clothing brands – has given a group of fashion students a tailored insight into the industry through work placements.
Three students studying for their Buying & Merchandising degree at the Fashion Retail Academy (FRA) in London have just spent three weeks at PEP&CO’s head office in Watford.
Renz Gagasa, 24, from Swiss Cottage, London, Lizzie Norwood, 20, from St Albans and Amber Fisher, 19, from Harrow, saw first-hand how the team of more than 60 design, source and merchandise the full range of PEP&CO clothing now sold in over 400 Poundland stores in the UK and Ireland.
PEP&CO, which last year became a top-20 clothing brand in the UK by volume, has a long-standing relationship with the FRA on placements, designed to give students an insight into the business and particularly the role of buying and how it fits into the organisation.
Gagasa said: “I worked in the menswear department, and it helped give me an understanding of buying. I didn’t know much about PEP&CO before this and was surprised at the range. I’d definitely wear their items!”
Norwood said: “I worked in buying and merchandising and it was really interesting to see how the process works. The range was much bigger than I expected. I’d really like to go into buying and I’m particularly interested in kidswear.”
Amber said: “I didn’t realise Poundland did clothes and was impressed at how fashionable the range is. I learned a lot about how much detail goes into buying clothes.”
Maria Epaminondas, PEP&CO’s head of buying and design, said: “We worked closely with the FRA to support the great work they do in training students to join our industry and we hope these placements will help the next generation of buyers with their career plans.”
Hermione Penny and Emily Smith, both industry development officers at the FRA who organise the placements, said: “Industry experiences are a great opportunity for students to network and build upon their professional portfolio for future roles.”
PEP&CO started life as a standalone store in Kettering in July 2015 and its growth was turbocharged when it joined the Poundland family and the introduction of PEP&CO shop-in-shops at Poundland stores.
Since its launch, PEP&CO has racked up more than £500 million worth of sales and sold more than 142 million items.
This year, PEP&CO has sold about one million pairs of jeggings, nine million T-shirts, one million pairs of slippers, nearly a million pairs of leggings, 6.5 million pairs of socks and more than one million babies’ bodysuits.