Career of the week: retail manager
Sarah Lengsfield is the fashion floor manager at Jarrold. Fiona Muller talked to her about how she got into this role and her experience working in the US.
Why is it a good profession to get into?
I like the fact that my job is always challenging, but rewarding. No two days are ever the same. I love working with all the new seasonal brands, colors, key fashion and accessory trends and ensure that any product knowledge is passed onto the relevant teams to help enable them to give great customer service and advice.I find it very rewarding to see our customers clearly enjoying their shopping experience with us, building strong rapport with our team members and purchasing regularly from the fashion floor.
What does the work involve?
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Trading hours for Jarrolds are 9am-5.30pm, until 7pm on a Thursday. I generally work a 37.5 hour week. My first priority is to walk the sales floor prior to opening, checking we are ready to trade. Sales targets are communicated to each team member first thing, along with any relevant department or store-wide promotion. Correct stock levels are also checked and replenished at the beginning and end of the day to ensure we maximize sales.
Prior to this position I spent 14 years in premium fashion retail in the US, working in a couture huse in New York City. It was my first introduction to all aspects of retail. I then relocated to Los Angeles and worked as store manager for Kenzo on Sunset Boulevard, then moved to Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, working again in management for Hermes and then to Louis Vuitton. These were invaluable experiences for me.
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What are the positives/negatives of this profession?
I enjoy working for Jarrolds as it is still one of the few family run and owned independent retailers in the UK. This means there are lots of opportunities for many of us to get involved and try our hand at different things!
It is a widely respected store throughout the city of which I am proud to be part of the team. The environment on the fashion floor is fast paced and ever changing, bringing with it a mix of challenges to ensure there is no time to be bored!
I suppose on the negative side there sometimes feels there is not enough time in the day to complete everything on my list and you sometimes have to deal with a variety of types of customers and staff.
Is there much local demand for people trained in this area?
There is a demand for people trained in this aspect of retail. As long as there is a thriving retail sector in Norwich, there will be demand for experienced Managers who can run all areas of a sales floor.
If you would like to work for Jarrolds check our website for current vacancies which is: www.jarrolds.co.uk
What would employers look for in someone applying for a vacancy?
To work as a floor manager you need lots of retail experience and know how to manage and motivate a sales team, ensure great VM standards and be sales and service focused. To work in my particular role a good knowledge and interest in fashion is key. You also need to be organized, flexible and be prepared to work at after hours events.
Lastly, it is important to enjoy your job and have a sense of humour.