Since I began working at 17, I have had several jobs. I worked in retail, food, teaching, program-coordination, and back to retail. Being so diverse in my jobs, I’ve got a good feel for what working in a service industry is all about. For all of you who are probably 18 or have never had a job before and are looking into retail, here are a few quick tips on what to expect:
Dealing with Customers/Clients
You’re going to have a large range of different customers all with a wide variety of attitudes. You will absolutely fall in love with some of them, and others, you’re going to have deep wishes of bad things upon them. You’ll be ignored and a little bossed around at times and some people will be straight up rude. But don’t let that discourage you! People are people. Tip #1 – No matter what, keep a positive attitude, stay helpful, and friendly. You’re working to make that sale and you’re trying to represent the brand that employed you in the best way. So what if they’re mean? You’re making moolah.
Being Real with your Customers/Clients
When you’re helping someone at your store, it’s great that you have the mindset to make a sale, but it helps a lot when you’re being real with them as well because you want to make sure that what they are getting and spending money on will make them feel good once they get out of the store. You don’t want them to feel regretful and not come back. If a dress is unflattering on a client, tell her that, and tell her why it’s not the right choice for her. But also, have some solutions on the back of your mind on what else you can give her that might look better. If you think she looks bomb in another dress that she has on, tell her that too, and if she’s unsure, give her accessories or shoes and all that to give her a better idea of the great possibility the dress provides her.
Looking your Best
In most retail stores, you have to dress a certain way. When I worked at Hollister, I had to wear their clothes and have a relaxed, beach feel. Now at BCBG, I have to dress more professional. Both had its limitations, but they both still required me to show off my personal style. If you don’t have a uniform and think that you can come to work in a way that’s not presentable, it’s just not going to be a good day for you. As a sales associate/stylist, customers and clientele will look to you for fashion advice. If you’re not looking your best, most likely, they’re not going to trust you to give them that advice which may not help you reach the sales you need that will then lead to a pep-talk from your manager.
While working in retail, you get to see the newest arrivals and you also get to see when things go on sale. Because you’re working, you’re gonna think “I’m working to make money, so I’ll be able to spend on these, especially because I get a discount.” Makes sense right? But what you don’t realize is that you’re spending a whole lot more of money than you think and a lot more than you would if you didn’t work in retail. Another thing is where you’re working can have an effect on how you spend. Hollister was priced with $20 for a shirt and $40 for pants, and by working there, I thought anything higher was a rip off, and anything at these prices were fine. When I left and worked at other places, I saved more money because I realized $20 for a shirt is pretty pricey when I could go to F21, HM, or thrifting for it for cheap. Now, working at BCBG Max Azria, I see large prices all the time with sweaters priced at $198. And I sell to people who think that’s a good price alllll the time. So now $100 price tags don’t scare me as much… WHICH IS SCARY because now I have the mindset that I can spend that much even though I honestly don’t have or even make that kind of money. Next tip: Monitor your wallet and spend wisely. Know what you can actually afford or else you’re working to pay for your own paycheck.
I’ve had managers on different ends of the spectrum, let me tell yah. I’ve had really amazing ones, ones that were just…. not great, ones that kind of flipped flopped, and ones that I just didn’t talk to ever. At Hollister, my managers changed ALL the time. I only had 2 favorites that moved on to higher positions, and the rest either ignored me or had favorites. At the food place, I had the BEST manager and I still say hi to him all the time. At my other work place, it was almost like a surprise every day where either she’d be really nice, or the exact opposite. My current managers are honestly the coolest and most relatable I’ve had thus far. Regardless of what kind of managers you end up with (although, I hope they are great ones), you wanna make sure you have a good relationship with your manager and make sure you stand out. Be attentive when they train you and let you shadow them, and work hard. This person will observe you, could give you a raise, and could one day be your reference for a bigger position so you don’t want to burn bridges with them.
These were just a few tips that I feel like you should definitely keep in mind while applying or if you’re starting your first job! If you’ve worked in retail, comment below other tips for those looking for a retail job! (: