At the Retail Week Awards which took place at a glittering ceremony in London yesterday evening, Kirsty Keoghan, eBay’s Senior Director UK Trading, won the coveted Okta Future Leaders Award which recognises outstanding talent in the retail sector.
Many will have met Kirsty in person over the past year at eBay’s 12 Roadshows which crisscrossed the UK in 2022-23, but she joined eBay back in 2011 as senior development manager. Since then, Kirsty has held a variety of positions that saw her leading the company’s home & fashion categories, as well as Global Partnerships & Seller Marketing.
She became Senior Director for UK Trading in March 2021, leading a team of 35 and has been a key driver in eBay taking a leadership position in the resale economy. She recognised early on, while Head of Fashion and Home, that the preloved category was a booming opportunity for eBay UK, with consumers increasingly looking for sustainable, quality, value-driven options.
Through her leadership, in Q4 2020 alone, active buyers of eBay’s fashion category grew by 30%, driven by the success of Brand Outlet. Today, two preloved items are sold every second, with the eBay marketplace seeing a surge in searches for preloved fashion since the ground-breaking Love Island partnership was announced, up 700% in July 2022 compared to May 2022. In 2021, eBay also helped save over 17,770 tons of fashion items out of landfill – equivalent of 1,404 double decker buses.
Some of the key initiatives Kirsty has overseen include:
- Convincing the business to use their biggest trading moment of the year – Black Friday – to only promote refurbished and pre-loved deals across all marketing content, a distinct shift for eBay that has previously promoted both new and refurbished items.
- Leading the successful launch and expansion of eBay’s Authenticity Guarantee in the UK, which now authenticates over 400,000 items this year across sneakers, watches & handbags.
- Expanding the reach of Brand Outlet, a dedicated fashion hub stocked with last-season goods from over 200 high street and designer brands. This has made it easier for customers to shop from brands like Puma and Joules at great prices, while giving brands a viable option to shift unused stock and meet the growing demand for eco-conscious shopping.
- Launching the ‘Imperfects’ range, offering clothes, shoes and accessories considered new, but with defects, from over 100 high-street and high-end designers including North Face, Off White, Puma, and Timberland at up to 60% off.
- Expanding eBay’s Collectibles business – a key category for eBay globally that has reached $10bn in gross merchandise volume, roughly 10% of everything sold on eBay. Kirsty recruited a team in the UK to boost growth in the category, launching activations and initiatives such as an AR experience with Comic Con so that fans could appear on personalised trading cards, as well as a “Direct from artist” category of art on eBay to make it easier for people to find artworks directly from the artist.
Kirsty is a brilliant leader who has played a transformative role in our business, and is now leading the global fashion function. We have been deepening our focus on pre-loved and second-hand goods, and she has been integral to that success, opening up new opportunities with partner brands and driving forward our growing Authenticity Guarantee segment. She is also highly regarded by her team, a true inspiration.– Murray Lambell, Outgoing UK General Manager, eBay
It was clear to judges that Kirsty’s broad leadership has impacted so many parts of the business – people, product and customer, change and innovation – and it has been transformational. She is the very definition of a future leader.– Charlotte Hardie, Editor in Chief at Retail Week