Most people, when they think about any retail job, they automatically think hell. Everything about it just scares them. From the rude customers to the endless shifts, retail just isn't for everyone. But for me it has been one of the best experiences I have gone through.
I started working at Ann Taylor Loft three years ago. This was my first job and I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I had been out of high school for a little less than a year and wanted to face a little bit of the real world. I was very hesitant to even apply because of all the horror stories I would hear from my friends, but all these stories were coming from stores like Forever 21, Hollister and Abercrombie and Fitch. Loft was a different experience. While it can get a bit crazy from time to time, it doesn't compare to how crazy stores like Forever 21 get.
There is no doubt in my mind that working at loft has shaped who I am in a professional environment. Customer service, organization, and teamwork are just some of the skills that one acquires, but personally, I believe that patience is one of the most important. Patience is not something that everyone has, especially in the world that we live in, individuals expect to receive anything and everything in an instant and if they don't they become extremely aggravated. If you have ever worked in a customer based environment then you know that the customer "is always right". Every now and then, you will get a difficult customer that believes that they know more about your job and the store's policies than you. These are those times when there is nothing more that you will want to do besides scream at them and tell them that if they know more about the store then they should just work your shift. Unfortunately if you ever do such a thing, prepare to say goodbye to your job. So the best thing to do is to put on a bright smile, take a deep breath and do everything in your power to try to help them. You will soon get a very nice and caring customer, right after, who takes their time to go and brag to your manager about how amazing you are, making your day just a little better. It is those customers that get us through our shifts.
If you are so lucky to get to work with a team that is more of a family than just co-workers then it will make going to work way easier. When I first started I was the youngest employee. All my coworkers were 22 and older, I was only eighteen-years-old. At first, I felt like I didn't fit in at all. It wasn't till I started to open up to them, and them to me, that I began to realize how amazing my coworkers are. Three years later and I am so happy to call them family. Most of them have moved on with their lives outside of Loft. Some are starting their families others their careers, but one thing is for sure, when one of us needs something we are all there to help. We might not all hang out as much as we used to but we're all there for each other and we have Loft to thank for the special bond we all have.
The best part about working at Loft is that it made me realize that I, without a doubt, want a career in fashion. I have always been into fashion, but just like many other fields, it is a very competitive one. I always pictured myself working for a big fashion company but since the fashion world is so competitive I wasn't sure if it was something for me. After working at Loft I know that it is. Everything from unpacking the clothes, to styling, to selling the clothes, the whole process interest me and I enjoy it.