Toni Baston - Head of Buying for Women’s Apparel at THE ICONIC
I start my day with my phone – it’s literally by my pillow, and when the alarm goes off, I’m reviewing emails even before my eyes are fully open. I’m originally from Ireland, so between all of the work emails I receive from our UK office and messages from friends and family back home, a lot of my life happens overnight. Then it’s coffee time – I live for cappuccinos, but have recently cut back to two a day.
I never plan outfits in advance – I go with how I feel that morning, but smart casual styling is always my go-to. These days my office attire consists of wide leg pants and a tee or Bermuda shorts and a shirt. You’ll rarely find me in a pair of heels – I’m all about my flats, man tailored shoes, sneakers and sandals, as I spend a lot of time on my feet running to appointments.
The minute I get to my desk, I take a look at the sales figures to see what pieces performed strongest the day before. I love my team – they’re amazing! We’re all equally passionate about what we do, and there’s always a healthy competition across buyers to see whose categories our customers are responding to. It can get heated!
I also make it a priority to check our site early on – mostly for work purposes, but in actual fact, I’m always shopping. Every girl is a browser, right? While I’m glancing over the visual merchandising I can’t help but add to my own basket. I probably buy from The Iconic three times a week – we had a competition once and I was one of the top three staff customers. Most recently, I bought a Josh Goot jacket and new sportswear, and I’m just waiting for our new season to launch in February because I know what’s coming, and it’s good!
This probably isn’t something I should admit, but I never take a break during the day. Between showroom appointments and viewing upcoming collections to meetings with our top brands, so much of my day is social and on-the-go. People always ask me what it’s like to shop for a living, but that’s not what I do. It’s not about me – we buy what Australia will wear tomorrow. Finding new brands and seeing the positive reactions from our customers gives you the best feeling – for instance, we recently picked up the Melbourne-based brand, Single White Female, and it’s smashed it. The dresses sold out in just one week.
I end the work day by chatting to the team and ironing out any issues that have popped up. You’re never finished as a buyer – just as one season launches on the site, you’re on to the next. It’s a real adrenaline rush though. You put your heart and soul into a new season and when you see the reaction from customers, you go home happy.
I live in the eastern suburbs, so I always try to find time to get a swim in at Clovelly Beach, or try a new restaurant – my boyfriend and I are both transplants, so we never take the Sydney lifestyle for granted. Right now we love The Apollo for dinner, but I’m happy anywhere that does a good margarita. When I get home for the evening, it’s back to those emails.