Dec 22, 2018 | By Meghna Sarkar
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Aug 25, 2017
There is a strong possibility that our WGSN associate travel editor Quentin Humphrey has racked up more air miles than you. This summer alone he has been to Miami, Portland, Boston and Los Angeles, but don’t be too jealous because it’s all for work. In his role as travel editor he’s in charge of travelling the globe to help compile our City by City guides. The guides that sit on our main subscriber site help our subscribers with both design inspiration and competition analysis. It’s a highly detailed job as the guides need to be rigorously checked and updated, so our travel editors have to have their fingers on the pulse, hence all the travel.
For Quentin, his path to this role was an interesting one. After studying a marketing degree and working hard through a bunch of internships (first with an indie marketing company and then Giorgio Armani and DKNY), he ended up working in creative development at LF Americas. The fashion experience at Giorgio Armani and DKNY helped him understand how big luxury brands operate, cast for campaigns, tap into influencers etc. While the creative role at LF Americas involved pitching new private label brands, demographic research, brand building and marketing research, a trend led role that actually introduced him to WGSN.
“I was using the WGSN Instock services and the main fashion subscriber site regularly in that role, and then I was invited into the office for a trend talk presentation. I remember thinking this looks like a great place to work. Then like a month later, the travel role came up online and I sent off my application. The rest is history.”
Quentin started his travel role earlier this summer, and here, in his own words, he talks through what a day in his life is really like at WGSN:
8am- Wake up in Portland
It’s my second day here and I’m working on creating the Portland city guide. Each city guide needs to have a very detailed list of retail hotspots, must-visit food spaces and key attractions that cater to our subscribers, and that consumers love. We’re focusing on the Pacific Northwest right now, because there’s a huge push towards wellness, and Portland is known for its very outdoorsy lifestyle. Retail in Portland is very advanced when it comes to wellness, the city was showcasing outdoor active, eco friendly/sustainable attire and artisanal eats long before a lot of places, so as the wellness movement accelerates it remains a key hotspot.
I start the day by checking some emails from colleagues in the New York office where I’m normally based, but I’m three hours behind them, and my counterpart in the London office is almost ready to go home. Luckily my team member in our LA office, Lourdes, is up so we communicate on our internal IM service about the cool denim stores that I need to try and check out during this trip in Portland.
Right now, in addition to highlighting key micro trends in different cities I also work with the global team to research and forecast macro travel trends. Looking at, how does what’s happening in Portland reflect what’s happening in the North America market as a whole, and across the world? We’re also preparing our trends day presentations where the whole team present on the future of travel. With huge advancements in the travel money sector, with new online transfer sites like Tranferwise, travel friendly debit cards like Monzo (which you can control from your phone), and huge developments in travel accommodation, thanks to Air Bnb, I’m looking at what travel will look like by 2020, what is the future for hotels ? The future of guest accommodation? How will we spend abroad? And what destinations will we all be clamoring to visit?
10am- Grab a coffee, I’m a huge coffee drinker (I should probably cut back) and then look over the list/rough itinerary/travel framework that I’ve carved out for this trip.
I’m a hyper organised person, so it definitely helps to have my research set up ahead of time. That said, I like to leave a few hours for serendipity. Once I land in a new city, I also find out so much from talking to people. I love talking to everyone from my Uber driver to the local retailers to get intel on any more hidden places that I need to check out.
After coffee, I jump in my Uber, on my first day in Portland I tried to use the train once, but as a New Yorker I found the pace a little too slow, so I’m in the back of an Uber and headed to Pearl District, a cool shopping area with nice stores, and perfect for spotting street style.
12pm- Meet my friend who lives locally in Beaverton, Oregon for lunch (fun fact: Beaverton is where the Nike, Inc World Headquarters are located).
Her family are Nike executives so post lunch, I’m luckily enough to go to the Nike employee store – a real highlight. And then we drive to the Multnomah Falls, Oregon’s tallest waterfall. I’m not much of a hiker, but for this stunning view, I’m willing to get my shoes dirty 🙂
4pm- Come back to the hotel and jump on my computer.
While a lot of this role is about travel, you also need to be obsessive when it comes to details. The city guides include all the store information from location, to correct phone number, to store hours etc. And once each guide is done, we update them regularly to include store closures, or changing opening hours. It’s a bit like Time Out listings, everything needs to be checked and double checked to ensure our subscribers have the latest information at their fingertips.
5pm- head back on a flight to NYC
Outside of travel and my day job which I love, I’m a huge music fan, and it nicely compliments what I do here at WGSN, because I have intel on all the latest musicians, music hubs, emerging talent and cool areas where the music scene is really developing. I also live with a bunch of A&Rs so I never escape music. At the moment, an artist that I live with is starting his music residency at a new spot in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. So I close out the day with dinner, before heading to a listening party of his live performances at this new venue.
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