Life After Retail

CREATIVE WAYS TO TURN YOUR EMPLOYEE DISCOUNT INTO A LUCRATIVE CAREER!
BY APARNA ALLAM

SCHOOL’S OUT, EXAMS ARE OVER AND YOU’RE PROBABLY WELL INTO THE GRIND OF YOUR SUMMER JOB. SOME OF YOU HAVE STARTED INTERNSHIPS, SOME HAVE STARTED VOLUNTEERING AND MANY OF YOU WILL BE WORKING IN YOUR LOCAL MALL. THINK RETAIL JOBS ARE JUST-FOR-THESUMMER, GO-NOWHERE GIGS? THINK AGAIN.

The Canadian retail industry is responsible for nearly 400,000 jobs and brings in more than $300 billion (yes, billion) every year!

WORK THE FLOOR:

The most valuable training ground is the shop floor. Hone your talent for persuasion, problem-solving and your knack for negotiating and closing a sale. This experience can direct you to high-end, commission-based sales jobs – anything from jewelry sales to real estate.

Earning Potential: $14K (entry-level) to $150K+ (commissionbased)

TECH SAVVY:
Focus your expertise on the exploding e-commerce world. Become a web developer or a search engine optimizer. With online shopping
becoming the norm for the vast majority, consumers need YOU to make their Internet shopping dreams happen.

Earning Potential: $40K to $120K

NUMBERS GAME:

Are you a whiz with figures? Get your feet wet in a management position and parlay that into risk management, financial analysis, loss prevention or budget management.

Earning Potential: $50K to $120K

PEDDLING THE PRODUCTS:

Here’s your chance to get to know brands, trends, consumer preferences and buying patterns. This can be your path to advertising, public relations, buying, marketing or product development.

Earning Potential: $65K to $110K

MANNEQUIN DUTY:

Showcase your creative talents – use your flair for windowdressing to chart a career in art direction or visual merchandising. Give your artistic side free reign and you could end up designing breathtaking windows for retailers like The Bay or Macy’s.

Earning Potential: $100K to $150K

DO IT YOUR WAY:

Can you do it all? Be your own boss and carve out a place for yourself in the retail world. The market is always looking for the next original and unique concept/product/service. Put your ideas out there and be on your way to (retail) world domination!

Earning Potential: Limitless

SUCCESS STORIES:

Shelly Simmons started out as a ‘Saturday Girl’ on the floor at her local Body Shop. She wanted to change the world, and The Body Shop’s ideology promised to help her do her part. Today, Shelly is the Head of Global PR for the Body Shop, and she is still madly in love with her job.

“In my career, I’ve always looked to what my interests are – what moves me. If I have to work, then I want it to matter and to be somewhere I enjoy.”

She suggests that the key to success is finding a company that you like and can relate to. Get to know the products and the brand and develop your vision for the company.

“If you have a genuine interest in the company and brand, you can become anything – even the president.”

Retail is an industry that caters to extroverts and introverts alike. Talk to your manager, be inquisitive and find out what the company is planning to do. Showing that you’re interested and aware will make you a more visible candidate.

Erin Nadler grew up in the garment industry and she always knew that she wanted to set up her own business. She started out working in Banana Republic. The company’s emphasis on a bonus/rewards/incentive structure gave her a taste of what a commission-only environment is like.

“I had to learn quickly and [be able to] manage customer preferences while keeping up with industry trends.”

Erin initially aspired to become a Buyer, but she found her calling while advising customers on their wardrobe. She quickly became popular for her instincts and keen sense for fit and fashion. After university, Erin worked with a fashion-consulting firm for four years.

“It was great to network and learn the ropes of the business I wanted to get into. I was also able to build a solid client base of my own.”

Better Styled was set up a year ago, and Erin couldn’t be happier. “I love that I can be involved in every aspect of my business. I’m able
to control what comes in, in terms of quality and  t. I also get to work with real women in an intimate setting that’s about them.”

Check out Erin at BetterStyled.com