From farm girl to the bright lights of retail

  • In association with Affin Group
  • April 26, 2017
  • Affin Group
From farm girl to the bright lights of retail

Retail specialists Affin Group would like to introduce their new portfolio manager, Cecile Hayman. Hayman looks forward to serving the retail community in a job she believes is the best in the world – here’s why. NOTE: Affin Group is now in liquidation.

Hayman’s role has been especially created for her unique skillset, experience and knowledge. She joined Affin Group in 2016 as project manager following 10 years in retail. Her experience spans the retail spectrum ranging from wholesale, distribution, consumer retail, visual merchandising, marketing and promotional activations to stores-within-stores, store concept development and design, partnership programmes and project management. 

Hayman considers herself lucky to work with Affin Group’s managing director Gabriel Nicolau, who saw the potential within her immediately. The key objective of her new role as portfolio manager is to work closely with clients to create ‘outside-the-box’ solutions which will meet all their needs, whether they’re creative, concept, look and feel, budget, quality, urgency or, as she says, “all the above”. Among the projects Hayman assists clients with are: visual merchandising; signage; promotional activations; window display; shop joinery; retail fixtures; displays and point of sale; pop-up stores; store refurbishments; new store concepts and new store builds.

Hayman is highly driven to “live a life less ordinary.” She’s inspired by the thought of creating exciting, engaging and appealing retail environments and is passionate about partnering with quality brands and companies. Over the past 10 years, Hayman has worked with a large variety of retail brands locally and internationally such as Dior, Swarovski brand Lolaandgrace; OPI; Calvin Klein; Lancome; Smith & Caughey’s; Selfridges UK; JR Duty Free; JR Watch Co.; World of Wearable Art; childrens’ product company Seedling, and Prada.

So, why the bright lights of retail?

“Retail is the cream, chocolate sauce, sprinkles and cherry on the top of a good cake,” says Hayman.

She believes retail can seduce and engage people if packaged innovatively, and appreciates how people are attracted to the beauty and creativeness within retail environments. Hayman loves that retailers can create a subtle path to guide customers on a journey, passing every execution, new release, display or promotion.

Hayman’s career path couldn’t be more different from her early years. She was raised on a farm and pet lodge in Karapiro with three siblings. It was a new-age version of Old MacDonald’s farm with dogs, cats, peacocks, cattle, ponies, sheep, budgies and rabbits. Given the nature of the environment, with so many animals to look after, Hayman learned the value of hard work from a young age.

Hayman caught the project management ‘bug’ while tackling multiple house renovations with her mother. A big challenge came in the form of a derelict house she bought in Auckland. Undaunted, she managed to overhaul the entire interior of the house in just two weeks. People said it was impossible to gut the contents; remove walls; do lighting and plumbing; add a new kitchen and bathroom; repaint inside and out; polish floors and add new window furnishings within such a short amount of time. But she had a plan! Hayman and her twin brother Garreth did everything they could with their own hands and camped out with small amounts of sleep each night. The doubters only made Hayman push even harder.

She took this same attitude when breaking all records at Swinburne University in Melbourne by completing her Diploma of Project Management within just six months while working full time as the visual merchandising manager at JR Duty Free for Australasia.

Hayman fell for retail thanks to Seedling and JR Duty Free, and had numerous highlights and achievements on her journey. In 2013, she partnered with Westfield shopping centres nationwide to bring to life their school holiday centre court displays; kids’ club sponsored activities; and Seedling’s retail space. This activity generated over 10,000 brand interactions. The same year, Hayman was selected to be a stylist for the Your Home & Garden Tour, and in 2014, Your Home and Garden featured a four-page editorial on the Seedling flagship store and party rooms which Hayman masterminded.

Hayman believes that while ecommerce has disrupted the traditional brick and mortar status quo to an extent, it won’t replace physical outlets:“We all still love the physical experience of shopping and are attracted to new and engaging retail platforms.”

She believes there is now an opportunity for the retail sector to be more daring and creative. Great products, solid customer service, and a unique, well-designed, constantly changing environment can keep customers coming back for more.

 “At the Affin factory I’m Charlie from ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and I have won the golden ticket,” Hayman says of her current role.

“As soon as I saw all the machines and met the technically skilled team, I saw the possibility for dreams to come true.

“Affin Group combines my love of design, visual merchandising, Kiwi ingenuity, DIY and my drive to get involved and sometimes break a nail. It’s the true magic of watching something go from nothing to something on so many different levels!”

Hayman attributes her success to hard work and the support and learnings from her colleagues, family and friends. She has found her home with Affin Group and is excited about combining her expertise with Nicolau’s vast manufacturing experience as they set out to make Affin Group a force to be reckoned with.

Hayman is working with clients day and night bringing their visions to life. Feel free to contact her to facilitate any visual merchandising, signage, promotional activations, window displays, shop joinery, retail fixtures, displays and point of sale, pop-up stores, store refurbishments, new store concepts or new store build requirements.

Cecile Hayman

Ph. 027 539 6440


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