ASSOCIATE SPOTLIGHT SERIES: AN INTERVIEW WITH HERVÉ XI
June 2, 2023
In our Associate Spotlight series, we are highlighting associates across the company who are shaping our community and who embody our Centric Brands philosophy every day.
Meet Hervé Xi, Senior Sourcing Manager, Buffalo Men’s Denim and Sportswear Division. In his interview, Hervé shares his dedication to continuous learning and proactive problem-solving, and how it has been instrumental in his personal and professional growth.
Can you tell us about your role as a Senior Sourcing Manager and your team?
Collaboration is key in my role as I work closely with the sales and design teams throughout the entire product lifecycle. Starting from product development, sampling and costing, my responsibilities extend until the final order confirmation with each vendor.
One of my primary tasks is to coordinate with vendors and gather their latest fabrics and samples for the design team’s selection. Before the design team embarks on developing each season’s styles, I ensure that all vendors have submitted their materials. Once the development styles are ready to be sent, I provide the design team with a vendor allocation list, indicating which style will be developed by which vendor.
After the design team sends out the Tech Packs (T/P), I work closely with the vendors to obtain initial pricing based on the provided specifications. If the initial price exceeds the target price, I collaborate with the design team to explore design changes that can help align with the budget. Simultaneously, I assist the design team in urging vendors to submit Salesman Samples (SMS) on time. This enables us to have the correct samples ready for sales meetings with our esteemed customers.
Throughout my 12-year tenure with the company, I have witnessed the evolution of my role from production to sourcing. By continuously expanding my skill set and knowledge, I successfully transitioned into a sourcing role, allowing me to contribute effectively to the growth and success of Centric Brands.
Working as part of a dynamic team, I take great pride in my ability to facilitate seamless communication, manage vendor relationships, and ensure the timely and efficient execution of sourcing activities. The collaborative efforts between the sales, design, and sourcing teams play a crucial role in delivering high-quality products to our retail partners, while meeting their specific requirements and maintaining a competitive edge in the market.
How do you typically approach problem-solving?
First, I control [my] emotions and keep calm. Generally, when there is a problem, we can quickly become frustrated, and emotional fluctuations can affect my judgment. So, it is essential to maintain a controlled emotional level, although it takes work. Secondly, think carefully and find out the root of the problem. Because, if the root cause is not found correctly, even if the problem is solved, it is only temporary. Finally, consider all possible solutions, compare the cost and time of the various options, and choose the most appropriate one. If the problem is beyond my ability, I will seek help from others – my leader, colleagues, vendors or even buyers may provide me with a better solution.
What qualities do you bring to your role that make you stand out?
I’m good at time management; I always complete my assigned tasks and requests within the workday. I avoid delays that can sidetrack meeting my set deadlines. I finish anything as soon as possible after confirming my work is accurate. You may say, “I dot the eyes and cross the t’s.”
What is the best career advice you have received?
There is no end to learning. Learning is a lifelong activity. Some knowledge that may seem irrelevant to your work now may greatly help your work in the future. I am inspired by Steve Jobs – by taking a calligraphy class at Reed College, he learned about multiple typefaces and proportionality-spaced fonts. This enhanced his typography knowledge and proved immensely useful when designing the Mac computer a decade later.
You are based in Montréal. Can you tell us about your office culture and what makes it unique?
Montréal is an immigrant city with people from all over the world. Different cultures get along very well here. We call it a Cultural mosaic. French is the official language in Quebec province. So, people in our office, even from other countries, speak some French, more or less.
What hobbies do you enjoy?
I like all kinds of repairs, such as plumbing, fixing appliances, repairing my car, and improving my home. When tackling maintenance or repairs, I have realized no one cares more about your stuff than you do. I take great pride in my possessions and get satisfaction when fixing a faulty appliance, installing a new MP5 player in the car, replacing new plastic roofing in my backyard and repainting the porch. I enjoy hands-on experiences and getting my hands dirty; these activities motivate me.