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Claire Harper

Claire Harper

Business Leader and Speaker,
Claire Harper is an expert in retail, digital, marketing, change management, branding and enterprise. Having worked for prominent UK brands including Argos, Ocado, Sainsbury’s and Mamas and Papas, and run her own award-winning best of British kids’ clothing brand IndiaCoco, Claire is one of the UK’s most formidable business leaders. Her journey from senior corporate leader to business entrepreneur and sought-after consultant is inspirational and full of messages gleaned from working at the very heart of business. An expert in implementing innovation and cultural change in influential and progressive brands, Claire’s initial foray into the retail market came as Argos was embroiled in a hostile takeover. With the challenge of reinventing a struggling brand she faced a steep learning curve in people management, understanding the customer and innovative multi-channel technological change. It was this experience that triggered her passion for taking retail brands to the next level. At the age of 26, Claire joined Ocado as its first Head of Customer Acquisition and PR. However, she was soon promoted to Head of Marketing and led the visionary revolution in grocery shopping, turning the experience on its head to create a whole new customer-centric space in the market. By 30, Claire was headhunted to join Sainsbury’s. As new CEO Justin King’s Head of Online Marketing she was part of the new senior leadership team entrusted with the brief to ‘Make Sainsbury’s Great Again’. Drawing on her proficiency at adapting business plans (to reflect the ever-changing retail market), appreciation of the need to get back to basics and understanding of the customer, Claire launched Sainsbury’s multi-channel experience and consolidated the brand with its customer communications. Having helped place Sainsbury’s back on the map, Claire became the first female board director at Yorkshire based Mamas and Papas, a family business that had moved from the wholesale to retail market. Tasked with developing and growing the brand’s presence in the UK and abroad, Claire helped build and strengthen a positive culture and ensured the business prioritised understanding the customer at the deepest level. In 2011, following the birth of her second child India, who along with her sister Coco provided the name and inspiration for the business, Claire took the plunge and decided to mix her vast retail and commercial experience with her entrepreneurial spirit, determination and resilience to set up and successfully run for a number of years, IndiaCoco. Claire has recently completed a three year high profile Non-Executive Director role working for Blue Diamond Garden Centres. A robust ‘customer centric’ business model continuing to perform very well in a challenging retail environment. Claire is also leading all commercial and marketing activity for London Pulse Netball Club. London Pulse are now approaching their fifth season and are the rising stars of the Netball Super League Championship. Working for the CEO and England Netball, Claire is using her retail and commercial skills to really help grow the club in terms of acquiring new sponsors, partners, increasing commercial revenue to support the growth of the sport and accelerate professionalisation. London Pulse is now firmly established as a flagship franchise within the Netball Super League. Claire’s passion and energy is a feature of her keynote speeches. Added to her vast knowledge of the retail market and understanding of business growth and change, she is well placed to convey her wisdom, know-how and strategies.