As people around the world mark International Women’s Day and celebrate equality and empowerment, Supre’s General Manager, Elle Roseby reflects on her role as a leader and the importance of providing supportive and inspiring environments – both for customers and her team.
Tell us about your background and how you got to your current role as GM of Supré?
I have always loved retail, particularly youth fashion. I started my career on the floor at Myer and worked my way up over the years. When the opportunity arose to take on the role as GM of Supre, I couldn’t go past it. It represented a unique opportunity to reinvent an iconic Australian brand, reinvigorating and modernizing. The ability to do this with a handpicked team made it even more exciting. As part of the Cotton On Group, I was also offered the chance to build a philanthropic arm of the business, the opportunity to create real change and help make a difference.
99 per cent of the Supré team is female. Why is building a positive culture and empowering the women in your team so important to you?
We employ over 660 retail staff, of which 99 per cent are female; our head office team of 54 is 94 per cent female. We are connected to girls, we are surrounded by girls and we have a deep commitment to supporting girls.
The brand will only ever be as good as the team behind it and I’m truly fortunate to work alongside a world class team. A team, which over the past four years, has delivered an astonishing brand transformation.
I’m proud and excited by what the team have achieved; we’ve re-energised our product offering, led by the feedback of our customers; rolled out a new Club House store concept aimed at giving our customers engaging spaces to visit and shop; overhauled our digital offering to better cater for our tech-savvy girl and established the Supré Foundation, a unique part of our business which aims to empower girls.
We’ve come a long way and there is no doubt in my mind that the success of our transformation has been underpinned by the passion and commitment of our team.
Fostering that passion is only going to encourage and ensure our continued growth.
What role do you think you play in helping to shape the careers of women in your team?
I hope I inspire and empower, that I provide a supportive environment, allowing the team to learn and grow. It is very important I model the behaviors I am trying to instill, that I am accessible and enable our teams to be the very best they can as move through their careers.
Supré places a big emphasis on empowering its customers too (young girls aged 13 to 18). What is the rationale behind this?
Quite simply, we believe in the power of girls.
In 2013, when Supre was acquired by the Cotton On Group we had a vision to revitalize the brand and build a deeper connection with our customer. As we got closer to our girl, standing at the front of a store over school holidays and every Friday, we watched her, got to know her and felt an incredibly powerful responsibility to deliver something special that would resonate with her.
This is how our girl gang philosophy was born. In everything we do, we aim to embrace the camaraderie and harness the inspiring culture that is girlfriends.
We want every girl who enters our stores or visits our website, or social platforms for that matter, to feel accepted, supported and inspired.
That’s why we’ve designed our stores to be every teenagers’ dream, a Club House with no membership and accessible to all girls. That’s why our incredibly passionate team spends a great deal of time getting to know our girl, learning her language and finding new ways to be relevant for her.
Excitingly, we are proud to be on the cusp of launching our global philanthropic platform, the Supre Foundation. This initiative was an opportunity presented to us by the Cotton On Group and has been years in the making. What a privilege to be able to harness our incredibly passionate retail team and raise funds to support not for profit organizations.
As one of a number of female leaders at the Cotton On Group, why do you think it’s important for a business such as ours to have strong female representation at the executive level?
In a global business like the Cotton On Group, we have a responsibility to set the tone and ensure there is diversity at every level of our business.
On a personal note, as a mother of two daughters, leading an inspiring team of women (and men too) and working with a brand that speaks to young women, it’s critical that we continue to show our girl that she can achieve her dreams.
We want to empower our girl, all girls, because she is beautiful, she is smart, she is strong, she is our future and we believe in her.
Today marks International Women’s Day – what does the day mean to you?
At Supré we embody, share and celebrate at every touch point what it means to be part of the girl gang, every day.
We believe in our responsibility to help create change; after all, ‘little girls with dreams become women with vision.’ The Supre Foundation vision is to ensure every girl has the opportunity to achieve their dreams. This is such a fundamental part of our brand DNA, and International Women’s Day is also committed to empowering girls achieve their dreams, through challenging gender parity and raising awareness.
All of this equates to creating change and empowering girls and women to achieve their full potential.