AO, let's go! Budding Lancashire superstar businesswoman trades painting nails for big sales with online retail giant

The year is 2000 and John Roberts is in the pub with a friend. They get to talking and conversation turns to business. John's friend bets £1 him he can't disrupt the white goods market with a new online retailer. John reckons he can and starts Appliances Online, later to be known as the retail giant AO.com.

Thursday, 30th December 2021, 4:55 am
Georgia Soden

Having grown into one of the UK's biggest players in the electronic retail sphere, AO has since expanded onto the continent, opening a European headquarters in Bergheim, Germany in 2016 as well as moving into sectors such as recycling - their plant in the midlands has processed over one million fridges - mobile phones, finance, and house building.

But AO is also the place where a certain up-and-comer first got her big break. Six years ago, Georgia Soden was just a 15-year-old with a bagful of initiative, grit, and determination. Then again, there aren't many 15-year-olds with those kinds of virtues in their arsenal.

Having landed an apprenticeship in beauty therapy with AO.com, Georgia soon found herself working at the company's onsite spa, with the company providing its employees with a nail and hair salon, massage rooms, and free breakfasts. Her determination to succeed was evident from the start and, with help from a few colleagues, she soon blossomed.

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AO's store in Middleton

In fact, Georgia actually interviewed for the apprenticeship whilst she was still at school studying for her GCSEs, impressing one and all at the retail company and landing the coveted position. She went on to complete her Level 2 and 3 NVQ in beauty therapy to become fully-qualified while working onsite four days a week.

From her very first day with the company, she made it her business to know the business, speaking to everyone and anyone about their roles, their responsibilities, and their remits in between massages and nail treatments. As a result, Georgia gained a keen appreciation for the minutiae involved in each department.

Keen to get her own doubtlessly well-pedicured foot in the door, Georgia soon secured a promising role as an administration assistant on the AO Business Team, which had been newly established in 2019. But soon Covid came, and Georgia saw another opportunity, moving into her first sales role making outbound calls.

Going from nails to sales, Georgia - who is from Adlington near Chorley - has since taken a few significant leaps up the food chain at AO.com, a Bolton-based electrical retailer. Armed with experience and nous but still a relative greenhorn at the age of 21, Georgia is nevertheless smashing sales targets as part of the company's B2B division.

Georgia has been working for AO for over six years

“I’m really proud of my progression at AO," says Georgia. "My determination has really paid off over the last five years. For anyone else looking to really grow in their company, I’d advise them to be confident and keep asking questions. I have had so many wonderful mentors over the last few years who made the transition to sales so enjoyable.”

Anthony Sant, managing director of AO Business, is similarly thrilled. “At AO, we really value employees who want to develop and grow, and Georgia’s potential was evident from the beginning," he says. "She’s a fantastic example of tenacity and willingness to learn paying off. At only 21, she’s a huge asset to the AO Business team.

"I can’t wait to see where her sales career takes her.”

Working as a client executive in the company's business division, Georgia recently posted an unbelievable £250,000-worth of sales in October of this year alone, a period which represents her most successful ever month with AO. Managing clients including property managers and kitchen retailers, Georgia regularly hits her six-figure monthly personal sales targets

Gaining a reputation as one of AO's best and brightest, Georgia has gone from from therapy to hard numbers before even her 22nd birthday. Safe to say one would be hard-pressed to bet against Georgia.