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Deb Fribbins

Deb specialises in mentoring retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers with a five-step approach.
She identifies their current issues and long and short term plans before analysing their current business in relation to the local, international, online and bricks and mortar market place, then plans sustainable strategies to achieve their desired outcomes. Her strategies cover ranging, logistics, marketing, key stakeholders, processes and procedures. Changes are implemented in a timely manner and Deb monitors the effect on the business both short term and long term.


  • Management-
  • Planning-
  • Sales-
  • Marketing-


  • Retail trade-
  • Wholesale trade-
  • Manufacturing-
  • Administrative and support services-
  • Education and training-

Primary Locations:

  • Geelong-
  • Ballarat-
  • Melbourne CBD-
  • Melbourne West-
  • Surfcoast-
  • South West VIC-
  • Western Victoria-

Locations by request:

  • Western Victoria-

Current Occupation:

Branch Director Business in Heels Geelong and Business in Heels Melbourne CBD. Franchise owner organising events for small business women with informative, educational, guest speakers and event speakers, at convenient locations. Managing Executive, "deb" Developing Excellence in Business. SBMS mentor

Detailed CV:

Professional SUMMARY

Deb has more than 30 years’ experience in retail buying and planning.  Setting the range strategy, developing appropriate core and innovative product ranges, which are first to market, has enabled her to achieve increased sales and profit margins in all areas.  She has managed budgets over $400 million and worked in Australia’s largest retail stores – Myer, John Martins, Target and currently Harris Scarfe. Her successes have been regularly recognised by senior management.

Deb’s skills, knowledge, experience and passion for end-to-end process enable her to regularly exceed her KPIs. Her strengths are financial management, product development and marketing. Effective range and finance planning has enabled Deb to successfully increase profit margins by 11.5 base percentage points and increase sales by more than 240 per cent.

Deb has been instrumental in instigating and implementing changes in logistics, promotional opportunities and micro-merchandising. Her success is attributed to working collaboratively with store management, planners, marketing, logistics and suppliers which substantially helps increase market share, sales and profits.

Managing and training a variety of teams ranging from four to 80 staff in different roles has resulted in improved productivity and efficiencies. Deb has mentored several trainees, all of whom have gone on to become very efficient, successful planners or buyers. 

Through regular buying opportunities in China and Hong Kong, Deb has developed excellent supplier relationships and a strong understanding of the Asian market. Her relationships locally with national brand suppliers, both large and small, developing exclusive ranges, increasing their import base and the marketing of their products has resulted in significant increases in sales, profit and improved stock flow.

In each of her areas of responsibility Deb’s passion, commitment and innovative approach have resulted in successful achievements throughout her career.


  • Extensive retail experience across many a variety of disciplines has enabled Deb to draw on the different expertise required, applying sound judgment to problem-solving.
  • Proven ability to create and implement product strategy.
  • Strong commitment to building relationships with all stakeholders and build partnerships with internal and external business partners in a collaborative manner.
  • Vast experience in sourcing and developing appropriate supply base to maximise all Key Performance Indicators (KPI).
  • Established supplier relationships in both national and international markets, with a strong aptitude for finding new suppliers to provide quality value for money products.
  • Strong ability to negotiate price, flexibility, exclusivity and logistics with new and current supply base on core and fashion ranges, increasing sales and profit.
  • Identify a customer base by analysing sales directions and pricing effectiveness.
  • Focus on research for relevant information to make and execute well-founded decisions.
  • Proven financial management and analysis at departmental, and buying group level.
  • Analytical and thorough, displaying outstanding attention to detail in product and planning.
  • Strong focus on empowering, motivating and nurturing teams to achieve the best results.
  • Excellent communication and influencing skills based on thorough research and analysis.
  • Willingness to continuously learn and maintain skills.
  • Introduced innovative logistical, marketing and visual merchandising programs.


Employment history

March 2105-present. Director, Developing Excellence in Business. 

The “deb” philosophy is to Develop, clear, focused, practical, sustainable strategies, to enable small businesses to drive to the next level of success in sales, profit and market share.

Business owners need to be confident their operations are headed in the right direction and that strategies are in place to ensure they achieve their goals. More than 30 years’ experience across a broad spectrum of company specialities allows Deb to help all business operators transition from the struggle stage to the profitable phase quickly.

Key Responsibilities

  • Determine realistic goals.
  • Analyse available history in sales and marketing.
  • Develop specific sustainable strategies.
  • Develop a range strategy for product, space.
  • Work up a 12 month a marketing plan.
  • Work up a 12-month advertising plan.
  • Work up a 12-month sales forecast.
  • Plan logistics for 12 months.
  • Set 3 and five year goals.
  • Mentor staff on changes.
  • Develop monitoring tools to constantly analyse, and record.


January 2106-present. Branch Director, Business in Heels Melbourne CBD.                                                  

January 2106-present. Branch Director, Business in[CC1]    Heels, Geelong.                                                                

Business in Heels is an international networking organisation for women. Meeting regularly, events provide easy opportunities for entrepreneurial women to learn about each other’s companies, offer assistance and develop targeted and purposeful connections. It offers inspirational and educational speakers, value-packed goodie bags, a glass of bubbles and a room full of like-minded ladies who go home with more knowledge and contacts than when they arrived and goodie bag of exclusive offers.

Business in Heels understands that women do it differently. It provides the avenue for start-ups with lots to absorb and seasoned ladies savvy with the right mindset to mingle and learn, listen and mentor. This makes the evenings a wonderful opportunity to grow your opportunities while helping other women do the same. 

Our motto says it all FUN WITH PURPOSE 

July 2013-September 2014. Senior Buyer, Harris Scarfe                                                                                      

Key Responsibilities/Achievements - Buyer

  • Developed strategic range plans for the bedding department and achieved a reverse sales decline from negative nine per cent to a positive one per cent.
  • Sourced an innovative and commercial range of products that improved sales by 10 per cent, with stock holdings reduced by seven per cent.
  • Developed and created seasonal buying plans that achieved key strategic objectives.
  • Reviewed weekly sales/stock, analysed performance and instigated key changes that increased bottom line profits.
  • Led and developed a team that brought to market the right products at competitive prices, on time, and with increased volumes efficiently.
  • Drove vendor negotiations to gain maximum rebates and subsidies to increase profitability.
  • Worked with key vendors in consultation with all areas of the supply chain to improve stock flow.
  • Developed promotional products according to marketing plan on time and within budget.
  • Reviewed and analysed all marketing performance to increase market share.
  • Continuously reviewed sales performance to manage stock flow effectively.
  • Developed and nurtured relationships with current suppliers and introduced new suppliers that lead to increased market share and profitability.
  • Planned financial budgets and continuously monitored in season ranges to achieve KPIs
  • Continually developed new and innovative products to offer a range that differentiated HS from other retailers with quality products.
  • Constant research of the world market to ensure “first to market”.
  • Developed overseas suppliers and introduced a comprehensive Private Label product range at competitive prices with improved profit margins.

1992-2013. Buyer (2002-2013), planner (2000-2002), buyer (1998-2000), planner (1997-1998), buyer (1992-1997),Target Australia Pty Ltd                                                                     

Key Responsibilities - Buyer

  • Lifted bedding sales by 240 per cent and profit base 11.5 points in nine years.
  • Sourced boys wear, children’s nightwear, men’s shoes and accessories, general house wares, bedding and kitchenware.
  • Set strategies for each area and implemented range planning.
  • Reviewed weekly sales and stock to determine future forecasts and implement changes to products, purchases, marketing and advertising.
  • Conducted quarterly and seasonal reviews.
  • Established effective supplier relationships both locally and internationally, to develop core ranges of “on trend” products at improved profits.
  • Initiated the movement of manufacture from local to off shore with suppliers.
  • Worked closely in consultation with all areas of the supply chain to improve stock flow by state.
  • Converted all suppliers to be EDI compliant locally and many others throughout Asia.
  • Reviewed catalogue sales performance to manage stock flow and pricing.
  • Set and monitored financial budgets to achieve and exceed all KPIs. 
  • Developed new and innovative products which differentiated Target to other retailers.
  • Researched local and overseas markets to be “on trend” and first to market.
  • Moved purchasing in bedding from zero to 75 per cent imports.
  • Responsible for the mentoring of trainee buyers.

Key Responsibilities – Planning Manager

  • Developed homewares financial plans involving more than $400 million.
  • Worked with the senior leadership team in setting and developing the strategy.
  • Coordinated divisional finances, working with planners to achieve KPIs.
  • Monitored stock, sales, markdowns, and profit for ten soft home departments.

Key Responsibilities – Planner

  • With the introduction of a planning structure, I was appointed the Senior Planner responsible for training the first 12 Planners in Target ladies’ wear.
  • Developed individual financial departmental plans from $30-$90 million.
  • Led teams of up to 55 support staff to work cohesively to common goals.
  • Ensured personnel understood and operated within legislation and OH&S guidelines.
  • Analysed sales performance history, instigated markdowns in collaboration with buyers.
  • Managed stock for the marketing calendar.
  • Reordered product within set ranges to achieve agreed plans.
  • Managed logistics with supply base.
  • Communicated with stores on products and marketing.
  • Mentored trainee planners.

Key Achievements

  • Developed Business plans for start-up companies.
  • Prepared range strategies for manufacturer to sell into retailers not previously achieved.
  • Transitioned an Australian manufacturer to imports, increasing profitability.
  • Provided range planning for fashion importer form Bangladesh.
  • Provided the tools for small retailer to achieve first profit in 13 years.
  • Successfully moved 75 per cent of a $98 million business offshore.
  • Turned a negative slide in sales and profit into a positive growth in five months.
  • Lifted sales in bedding 240 per cent and gross profit 11.5 basis points in Target.
  • Pioneered the first Taiwanese buying trip for footwear in Target.
  • Negotiated and conducted the first ever underwear fashion parades in store in South Australia with Myer.
  • Pioneered the first in store kitchens in John Martins with cooking demonstrations with leading local chefs.
  • Pioneered the first underwear buying trips internationally to China with Myer.
  • Started the first “Petites” department in Australia.
  • Introduced “La Perla” range to Australia exclusive to Myer.


  • Kardinia Rotary (1991- ).
  • Past President, Director of Fellowship, Director Youth Services, PR Chair Conference Committee, Chair of Fund Raising. Chair conference events, Paul Harris Fellow   
  • President Third Highton Scout Group, Scouts Australia (1993-2001)
  • Chairman Geelong Regional Scouts Finance Committee (2011- 2013)       


  • Certificate IV in Small Business Management (2015)
  • Diploma in Sales and Marketing (1999-2002)
  • Certificate IV in Training and Assessment (2002)
  • Target Management and Performance Management Programs (2012)

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