A closer look at how three Okaïdi employees spend their days at head office in Roubaix. Their career paths, goals, values and what makes them tick!
Founded in 1996, Okaïdi is now a leading childrenswear brand for 0-14-year-olds with more than 700 stores in 60 countries. A universal and creative brand that respects each child’s identity, it encourages children to be self-motivated, happy and responsible through hopeful messages and social awareness. Like all brands in the ÏDKIDS community, it is committed to the basic principle of “Working to make a better world for growing children”. Our brands are always on the lookout for new talent. We offer staff a rewarding career with cross-functional, interbrand and geographical mobility.
After studying applied arts and then taking a fashion design degree at ESMOD, Carole attended fashion school in Paris. “In my last year of study my school entered into a partnership with Okaïdi. My collection was chosen, which was a turning point for me. To be a good designer, I think you have to appreciate quality. What I like most is being able to create a coherent world whose colours and graphics all make sense. That’s why I prefer to dress children rather than women. There’s a fun, playful element to it.”
Carole is involved at the very beginning of the process with the initial ideas, sketches and designs. “We create a collection that reflects the values of the Okaïdi brand. You can’t make a garment all by yourself. You have to rely on other people to create something stunning. And it also has to make sense. I don’t do ‘children’s fashion’, I dress children. It’s completely different.” She is very motivated by the work she does for Okaïdi. “The company has given me a lot so I am happy to give my all in return. It’s like a second family to me. We all support our colleagues and I thrive in this environment.”
Elodie is footwear product manager as well as a buyer and market manager. After attending business school and a number of work placements overseas, she developed a love of textiles. A work placement at a purchasing group in China cemented her passion for shoes.
”I have a very varied job. As product manager I create the collection with the designer based on current trends and the brand’s values. I manage the project and its budget. Once the collection has been designed and developed, we negotiate prices with our suppliers. That’s when I put on my buyer’s hat. I work on an invitation to tender for about a month with our suppliers. Then I review the situation with the order administrator. When the items arrive in store, I meet with the merchandising and marketing team to decide which products to showcase.”
Elodie is also market manager. This means she is more involved on the management side and helps to shape the strategy of the brand whose ethical values she admires.
“At Okaïdi, as well as our strong environmental values we have an important innovation focus. Developing products with innovative technical materials is a crucial part of our work. We work in the interest of children, so our styles have to be practical, wearable, attractive and affordable. For example, we modified the tongues of shoes and added reflective insets so that children can be seen on the pavement. We try to think of new ideas every day. It’s exciting!”
After initially studying science, Mathieu attended an engineering school specializing in IT. He started his professional life working for a Parisian consultancy firm helping companies with IT transformation projects. He has been data project manager at Okaïdi for six months.
“As project manager, my job is to turn the company’s strategy into concrete actions. I have to mobilize staff and unite them in a common goal while respecting a predefined budget, deadlines and scope.”
The data collected are used to optimize the services offered by the company to increase customer satisfaction and the brands’ reputation.
“We use the data to analyse our operations and make recommendations. It’s a rewarding job with lots of good collaboration. We make sure there are plenty of opportunities for information sharing and communication.”
What qualities are needed for the job? “I’d say you need to have an appetite for innovation, be a good communicator, know how to effectively leverage your analyses, keep it simple and adapt to your audience.”
Mathieu had no misgivings about moving to Lille for this interesting and innovative role.
“There’s a great work-life balance at Okaïdi. As a young dad, I identify with the company’s child-focused values. There’s a real community feeling and excellent communication between staff. At the heart of it all is our progressive charter: ‘Working to make a better world for growing children’.”