Each day in June, FN is highlighting female forces in the industry as part of our Women in Power series.
Ida Petersson, who was recently promoted to women’s buying director at Browns Fashion, talks about big career breakthroughs and lessons she’s learned along the way.
What was the biggest breakthrough moment in your career?
It was when I was first made buying manager at Net-A-Porter. I’d already been doing the job for almost two years, overseeing three departments and two buyers, while simultaneously doing my job as a senior buyer. It felt incredible to get the recognition and ultimately freed me up to do an even better job for the company.
Is there anything you would have done differently?
The biggest regret I ever had actually shaped me into the person I am today. When I was 16, I was going to do an exchange in the United States, but I pulled out last minute as I didn’t want to leave my then boyfriend behind. I have always wondered where I would be today if I’d gone ahead and done the exchange. Of course, a year later the boyfriend and I broke up, and there and then I made myself a promise that I would always seize an opportunity and embrace whatever challenge was put in my way. I still live by that motto today, and I’ve definitely learned a lot of valuable lessons along the way.
Do you think women do enough to support other women in the workplace? Why or why not?
I like to think that in the world of fashion, we do support other women because there are so many of us working in the industry. However, I still don’t think there are enough female CEOs or presidents, which is a real shame. I feel particularly blessed that I have had the opportunity twice in my career to work for two very strong and inspiring female leaders, Natalie Massenet and Holli Rogers. Having a female role model at the top is particularly inspiring for any woman who wants to believe that by working hard we can get anywhere and everywhere. Don’t get me wrong; I actually think there should be more men in this industry. Having a balanced office makes a great atmosphere, and ultimately I truly believe the best candidate should get the job, regardless of their gender.
What is the biggest challenge you faced in the last year, and how did you overcome it?
When I left Net-A-Porter and came to Browns, one of my objectives was to set up the accessories team from scratch. It was an amazing opportunity for me and part of the reason as to why I made the jump. It did, however, mean that for the first five months of my new role, I was covering most of the positions myself with the help of just one assistant. Moving between roles every day was very challenging. On some days, I found myself putting in 18 hours a day. It was incredibly rewarding, and I’m so grateful, as it allowed me to see how the business works at all levels.