Furniture has the power to change your whole mood and overall well being. Ala Tahseen knows this well and can predict when people will come rushing to get their hands on the latest interior goods and furniture at Sofology — UK’s leading furniture retailer.
With an appreciation for good design, Ala is Sofology’s Demand Analyst. She has loved being a part of predicting people’s furniture needs for the past four years.
A whole new world
Originally from Jordan, Ala and her husband wanted a fresh start in a new country. A trip to Europe one year to visit a cousin opened her eyes to a whole new world. It was the first time she had travelled outside of Jordan and was captivated by the beauty, the people and the opportunities. She immediately knew she wanted to experience life and career outside of Jordan.
Tenacity and hunger for new beginnings meant they saved up for almost five years before moving to England.
“I decided to start a new chapter in my life in England, so I moved to Manchester to support my husband with his master’s degree. During this period, I found opportunities to explore life in England and to enhance my English language skills by taking language courses in Manchester.”
Ala was originally an engineer; however, she didn’t find it fulfilling. An unexpected career in sales was the perfect fit for her.
“I graduated from the university with a bachelor degree in Chemical Engineering. My first job was as a Quality Control Engineer in Jordan. However, I did not feel that this was my long-term career goal. So, I decided to move into sales and was very successful in my role. I progressed quickly.”
Ala was in a senior role at a prestigious company back in Jordan. It was worth leaving to move to a new country — even with no friends or family in England.
“When I arrived in England, I restarted my career. I have a passion for planning, predicting customer behaviour and analysing data, so I decided that demand planning and forecasting is the best balance between both – my passion and technical work experience as an engineer.”
Loving the sales ‘crystal ball’
Sofology is the first company Ala has worked for outside of Jordan. She started in July 2017 and was immediately blown away by the friendliness and supportive environment. She felt a sense of belonging — which is always helpful when you are new to a country.
As for many businesses, the pandemic did throw a spanner in the works. Ala is in charge of forecasting sales, and numbers crunched before the pandemic hit became inaccurate because of changing customer behaviors. The lockdown meant no foot traffic in the stores. But then online sales increased as people looked to refurbish their home spaces because they were spending so much time inside.
“I plan and predict customer behavior. I’m responsible for creating and managing sales forecasting. I enable our suppliers to build up a clear view in advance so they can plan their production and source materials.”
Like any business, the sales forecast is extremely important to see how well you expect the business to perform.
“Generating an accurate forecast is very important to the business and the suppliers. My main goal is to reduce the lead time from what to what, to improve delivery performance across all the suppliers and ultimately increase customer satisfaction.”
Ala has come a long way, from barely knowing any English to being selected as one of the speakers at Sofology’s first business conference. She spoke in front of hundreds, sharing the finer details of demand forecasting and how the company could stay ahead of trends to drive lead times down. Her talk and passion for her work were well received.
It takes a combination of drive and the right environment to thrive. Ala counts her lucky stars because Sofology has made it so easy to settle into a new country while advancing in her career too.
“At Sofology, I believe we live our values in every project we undertake, and the way we work together as a team to leave every customer feeling at home on a sofa they love. We are committed to excel in our work and be committed to the progress each day, on the other hand as a team we celebrate success, enjoy it and have fun.”
An eye for detail and design
Sofology is the perfect fit for Ala because she loves art and interior design. Maybe add in her work experience that she likes here too?
“I’m always on Instagram looking at the latest interior design trends. This began long before I joined Sofology.”
Aside from beautiful furnishings, Ala loves painting and has taken a liking to eyeshadow palettes, which she loves collecting. She says eyeshadows remind her of painting because you can experiment so many looks with your eyes.
We enjoyed our chat with Ala. Her story just proves you can move anywhere, work in any company and learn a new language, if you have the drive, curiosity and willingness to give things a go. We’re pretty sure she predicted her success at Sofology!