Candice Thomas, marketing executive at Cape Union Mart Group, tells us that what's really behind her mask is a fierce female who loves bubbly a little too much, takes life a little seriously, but knows the importance of working hard and balancing that out with some good fun!
So, Candice, you’re Cape Union Mart Group’s marketing executive. Tell us more about your role and what it is you do exactly on a day-to-day basis.
I have the great privilege of leading like-minded people in the business. My role oversees the marketing department which consists of brand, digital, visual merchandising, design and photography. From concept development to fruition, the feeling of launching a new campaign or product never gets old. Like any Marketer, if we're not applying our minds to strategy, we're diving into budgets or dealing with the beast that is retail. To add, Cape Union Mart has a stable of brands namely, K-Way, Old Khaki, Poetry, Tread+Miller, and Keedo. We switch brand hats multiple times during the day, it keeps us very busy.
Growing up, what did you want to be?
When I was younger, I wanted to be a Diplomat and work for the UN.
Why did you decide to study politics, and what motivated you to get into marketing?
I went into politics to support this dream... The plan at the time was to continue with a degree in law. Getting into marketing was so haphazard. I have a friend who was and still is, so passionate about Marketing, he approached it with such vigour, attention to detail and he was never afraid to be ballsy. It was all or nothing, that's what drew me in. I loved the fact that Marketing not only allows you to flex your creative muscle, but the application of strategy and science makes it so rewarding.
Tell us more about your experience and any career highlights to date.
I've been in marketing for just over 10 years now. Some of my highlights include rebranding Poetry, the birth of Tread+Miller, and my appointment as the marketing executive for the group.
How has the pandemic and subsequent national lockdowns affected your work?
The last year has been a rollercoaster. Learning how to juggle home schooling with my seven-year-old daughter, a very busy two-year-old son, while working from home could have been shot as a movie. But here we are, alive and well.
On a business front, we worked smarter and certainly harder. It forced us to think differently as we took on new challenges weekly, sometimes daily. Our e-commerce platforms catapulted, and we didn’t see it coming, but we embraced it. We learned some hard lessons, but we’ve invested in the right systems to support our growth for the future.
What do you love most about the creative and retail industries?
The pace makes it thrilling, the trends keep you excited, and the challenges keep you on your toes. Our customers force us to be better thinkers in the industry, if we’re not meeting their needs, we won’t be successful.
What's your typical workday routine?
A typical workday begins with dropping my daughter off at school, arriving at the office, grabbing a coffee before I check my calendar and get cracking with emails. Thereafter, between meetings and working on projects, I’m tackling any new challenge that may arise. When I do get a chance, I love visiting our stores and connecting with the teams.
When you're not busy working, what do you do? How do you socialise these days?
I spend most of my free time with my family. We do just about everything together. Socialising with friends usually includes a kid-friendly restaurant, beach picnic or a trail run. Anything with open spaces and fresh air is great these days, and I wouldn’t be a true Cape Union Mart employee if I didn’t love the outdoors and some kind of adventure.
What are you reading/listening to/watching at the moment?Sounds of Summer
is my favourite playlist on Spotify right now. I just finished the book Dare to Lead
by BreneBrown. I have a very bad habit of watching the same series over and over again. It includes anything from Friends
What’s the first thing you plan to do when things go back to normal?
Definitely international travel!