The supply chain business is one of the main links that make all companies grow. When I understood that, I knew I was at the right place.” Mélanie Taleb (alumni GEM PGE 2003), Transport and Customs Operations Manager at Christian Louboutin, tells us she had never imagined working in logistics, it was more the supply chain business that chose her and she did not regret it.
Find out more about how she met the former French President Jacque Chirac, her daily missions and how it is to work in one of the most luxurious Maison.
First, what has been your career path?
My career path is not common and reflects a life made of encounters and opportunities around the world of fashion and more particularly footwear.
During my last year of study at GEM in 2003, I met Laury Golliet, a talented stylist/fashion designer who had already proven herself in the fashion world and who had the dream of creating her own brand of women's ready-to-wear. Fashion has always made me vibrate and she suggested that we join forces to realize this beautiful project: create our own fashion brand of "Urbanwear" called LAMDA. She was the creator, the artist and I was the business girl in charge of the management and the marketing. This first experience was exceptional, rich in emotion and success. LAMDA led us to the Elysée Palace to meet in person the President of the Republic Jacque Chirac. It really shaped us for the rest of our career.
After 3 years in entrepreneurship, I had the opportunity to meet the 4 founders of Spartoo.com, I joined this start-up in 2006 at the very beginning of the adventure, we were 6. Boris Saragaglia, Paul Lorne, Jeremy Touchard and Philippe Warnier explained to me their vision and ambition. I say : “why not !”. I stayed 6 years to manage the purchasing and the selection of fashion brands. I left Spartoo.com in 2012, we were 200 people.
In 2013, my personal life led me to live in Annecy where I continued my career to join the Christian Louboutin house in Geneva as a Retail Merchandiser. My career turned towards the international market with the management of the retail boutiques in Asia. In 10 years, I was able to do different jobs, from retail I moved to logistics and have been working in the international logistics department for 5 years. My nickname : Swiss knife.
Even though these are jobs with a technical and down-to-earth image, they have the possibility of bringing fun and creativity.
Can you briefly introduce your company? What do you enjoy particularly in your current company?
Christian Louboutin established his business in the heart of Paris in 1992, first with a collection for Women followed by a Men’s collection a few years later, both recognizable by the signature red lacquered sole. With a prolific collection of shoes, leather goods and accessories, Christian Louboutin now counts more than 150 points of sales around the world and several branch offices around the world including Geneva office which centralizes worldwide logistics activities.
Working for Christian Louboutin is being part of the Loubifamily. This is a luxury house like no other, where the creativity and passion that Christian Louboutin brings to the collection each season inspires us in our daily business activities and projects. The team spirit and the kindness are very strong values that push us to give the best and make us grow in this beautiful company.
What exactly does your job involve? What are your daily missions and main challenges?
As a Transport and Customs Operations Manager, my role is to coordinate all transports and customs export activities from our central distribution center to our worldwide stores and wholesale customers. My missions are a good mix with operational activities and projects to modernize our tools to a logistics 2.0. I work closely with transport and warehouse partners to make all transportation flow as smooth as possible.
This activity is completed by transformation projects in which we rework the IT tools and processes to match the ambitions of the Christian Louboutin Maison. My challenge is really to balance the shortest transportation lead-times at the lower cost with the highest level of security.
Why did you choose a career in the supply chain field?
Maybe this is the funny part of this interview. I actually didn’t choose supply chain field, but it was rather the supply chain which chose me. My background is Sales and I had never imagined working in Logistics until the day I was offered it.
It was a big challenge, start from scratch and learn a new job, in a new field with codes, processes and technical knowledge far from the retail business. But now I would not change because the supply chain business is one of the main links that make all companies grow. When I understood that, I knew I was at the right place.
What advice would you give to a candidate who wants to start a career in Supply Chain?
I would tell him that you have to be curious and dig deeper into all aspects of the supply chain business. There are so many jobs and interaction with all departments of a company. And above all, even though these are jobs with a technical and down-to-earth image, they have the possibility of bringing fun and creativity.
In your opinion, what are the 3 main skills and qualities you must have to succeed in your position?
- Keeping a cool head to deal with daily issues
- Really think out of the box
- Make Excel your best friend
- Knowing how to convince people always take them a little further than the standard way
- Be positive with everyone because those same people will give it back to you
- Be solution oriented because no task is too big
What is your motto or philosophy?
The most important thing is to try without being afraid to make mistakes. I have learned that it’s thanks to failure that you will succeed in the next chapter of your career or in your personal. Life is short so go for it and enjoy in what you do!