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Meet the Okaïdians abroad!

The ÏDKIDS community is always on the lookout for new talent and offers a number of roles for those seeking an adventure overseas!  Let’s hear more from Sébastien, country director, Canada; Thomas, retail director, China and Timothée, international area manager.

With more than 1,100 sales outlets in over 60 countries, the ÏDKIDS group and its 10 brands, which include Okaïdi, Obaïbi, Jacadi and Oxybul, has become a key player in the global children’s market. With 6,000 employees in 70 countries, ÏDKIDS has a revenue of 779 million euros, with 8.7% of this generated from internet sales.

  • Sébastien, country director, Canada

After graduating from business school, I worked for almost 20 years in business and management, which were always the areas I was most interested in and wanted to develop further. First, I worked for a large French retail group in the textile sector before moving into women’s fashion and then joining the ÏDKIDS group.

At Okaïdi every day is different, as it is shaped by the priorities of our employees and customers. But some areas are always a high priority. These can be grouped into three categories: people, doing business and management. People, because recruiting, training and employing generous, energetic and passionate staff to serve our customers is the most important part of our job. In terms of doing business, a successful store relies on a wide range of skills from customer relations to sales and from merchandising to operational management. A typical day is also dependent on the network’s sales and marketing activities and what is required in terms of operational planning, pricing policies, marketing events, and so on. Lastly, the management aspect is very important. Generally speaking, it involves monitoring the financial indicators vital to the success of each branch and country and ensuring future investment capability. Consideration must also be given to each country’s medium- to long-term strategy (goals, key ratios and contribution capacity), development plan (e.g. how many stores, where and when) and the structuring of individual branches (e.g. key skills, when and who).

Multiple opportunities for career development

There are multiple opportunities for career development at Okaïdi because, as the group grows, it assimilates new brands and launches operations in new countries. I’ll soon have been working at ÏDKIDS for ten years and am already onto my fourth role in the group! I was recruited as regional director and now I’m working as country director in Canada.  Each new role is an opportunity for me to establish or join a new team and work with my colleagues to achieve the group’s ambitions, learning new skills, creating new innovations and taking new risks to move forward together. The Okaïdi environment is full of skilled people who are experts in their field and passionate about our common goal, which can only be achieved if every brand and employee is fully committed. It is underpinned by a management culture that puts people first. The business is there to support them. This motivates us to give 100 per cent every day.

  • Thomas, retail director, China

After graduating from business school, I worked in management control in the finance sector before joining the ÏDKIDS group as south of France regional director. My family and I have always wanted to experience living abroad, and now we’ve been in China for ten months! It has been rewarding both for my career and my family, and I would love it to continue.

No such thing as a typical day

The beauty of this job is that there is no such thing as a typical day. We are constantly doing something different. Every Monday I analyze our weekly performances with my teams. We decide what actions need to be taken, what challenges need to be overcome that week, what key messages to send our stores, and so on. I spend the rest of the week visiting stores around the country.

All stores have the same objective: to respond positively to customers whatever the country, region or channel used. To do this job you have to like people. It’s essential. If you don’t love your customers and are not willing to go out and meet them, it won’t work. There’s always something new to think about when you’re managing a project on the other side of the world: it’s important to retain the essence of our brand while remaining sensitive to the country’s culture. The three founding values of the ÏDKIDS group — respect, sharing and progress — are very important to us. They are part of our daily life. We are always asking ourselves what we need to do today to build a better world for our children tomorrow. It’s what motivates us, and we work every day to achieve it. For example, we always try to design products whose style and quality will endure and develop more environmentally friendly and socially responsible materials. We also make sure that our partners and suppliers are fully involved and our customers — both large and small — are kept regularly informed about the key areas of protecting children, their rights and their environment. Because we know that together we can make a difference.

  • Timothée, international area manager

After graduating from management school in Lille, I worked for Décathlon before getting involved in sports marketing through a business project. I then joined Nature et Découvertes as store director before moving to Okaïdi eight years ago to take up a position as regional director for the Paris region. After consolidating my experience, I became international area manager. I work with Cyprus, Malta, Israel, Greece and Egypt. What I love about my job is that there is no such thing as a typical day. Each day has different priorities: sometimes I am at head office where I organize my travel and work on cross-functional subjects, and sometimes I am out in the field. I travel once or twice a month and aim to visit each country twice per year. While I am there, I visit our stores with our partners. We help them with their merchandising, opening new stores, and so on.

I strongly believe in the group’s values. We should embrace them and make them part of our everyday activities. As we work with partners from other countries who don’t share the same history, values or culture, we take this into account while still instilling our fundamental values.

Four different jobs in eight years

I’ve had four different jobs in eight years — proof that it is easy to progress your career within the group. There are many others like me at head office. You can move from a branch to a partner company, or from France to an overseas destination.  It all depends on what you want to do. There is no set path: my future job may not even exist yet. Your career is as rich and varied as you want it to be. The door is always open – you just have to walk through it! When you do a job you love, you can move mountains.

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