Everything I Learned from Working in Clothing Retail

This summer, I was fortunate enough to work at a high-end independent boutique to broaden my resume while helping people with what I truly love, fashion.  It was a great experience: a fun one, but also an educational one.  Not only did I learn the ins and outs of customer service, marketing merchandise, and buying, but I also learned a lot about how I personally view shopping.  Globally, retail has been struggling for years due to the rise of online shopping.  The few “brick and mortar” stores that are thriving embody the concept of “fast fashion”, a notion that is also destroying the independent small store.  Younger generations, which includes me, look solely for convenience because we have been raised to believe that everything we could possibly want is available, always, just one click away.  I admit to contributing to much of this behavior, but after working a summer in retail, I have decided to change some habits.  Here are 5 things that I learned:

 

  1. Shoppers, especially those who are older than me, take a long time to contemplate items before purchasing them.
    • As I mentioned, my generation tends to be lazy and thus, impulsive.  When I shop, I don’t always take the time to try everything on since I’m lazy.  Even if I don’t love the item, I’ll still buy it if I think I like it right in the moment at the store.  I do examine prices, but not as much as I should since I’m impulsive with my purchases.  At the store I worked at, seldom would anyone not try anything on, and customers would always ask me my opinions.  They took their time to decide before purchasing what they were trying on.  Granted, the store’s expensive, so people will have to decide whether or not a purchase is worth it, but this common practice is something that my generation lacks.  I realized that I need to shop smarter in order to both save money and space in my overflowing closet.Screen Shot 2018-08-31 at 6.04.40 PM.png
  2.  Trying on items is essential to making smart purchases
    • This continues with what I was saying above, but when you try items on before buying them, you automatically look for all of the flaws in the clothing.  Mentally, you will buy the clothes that fit “perfectly”.  Online shopping doesn’t allow you to do this which ultimately wastes money in the long run since you’ll end up buying “imperfect” clothes.  This is a significant flaw of online shopping which I’m only just now realizing.
  3. The rudest customers are the ones that try on a ton of clothes and don’t hang any of them up in the fitting room
    • While I wouldn’t say I’m really guilty of this, I had no idea how rude it truly is until working in retail.  It’s a total pain to pick up clothes, especially when customers end up not even buying anything.  That is obviously totally ok, but if you’re not going to buy anything, at least be nice about it.  Moral of the story: I now know to always pick up and put back any un-purchased clothes on hangers because it really is the difference between a pleasant customer and a difficult one.  Screen Shot 2018-08-31 at 6.16.15 PM.png
  4. Small businesses are essential to the economy as a whole, including the retail market
    • I have always found it sad when stores close, but after having experienced everything that goes into running a small independent business, they really need to be valued.  The particular store that I worked at prides itself on a being a fashionable head-to-toe retailer.  The experience that you get in there is unlike any chain store, especially any kind of fast-fashion store. The store tries hard to support small scale up-and-coming designers, in addition to brands that are more ethically manufactured ( ie. made in the USA, or other developed European countries).  The freedom of the owners and buyers of the small business allows them to do this which then, in turn, fuels the industry from the ground-up.  More than ever before, I will try to buy smaller brands since they are truly the backbone of the economy.  Screen Shot 2018-08-31 at 6.12.31 PM.png
  5. Customers value small businesses more than you’d think
    • While retail is definitely in trouble, I didn’t realize how there are people out there that do go out of their way to shop small and local.  At the store I was at, customers would come in just to request special orders for something they saw online, knowing that we would be able to get it through wholesale and, thus, make a profit.  It surprised me that people would do that since ordering online is the much more convient option.  However, it did make me see that retail has hope, and that people do value it.  It also, frankly, made me feel lazy about both my shopping habits, and my generation’s.
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5 Of My Favorite Products To Get You Through The End Of Summer

I have never really written a post about products and cosmetics, but I figured why not?  I’m a big Sephora fan, and I’m also always on the lookout to try new things, whether it be hair products, skin products, or makeup.  The summer heat and sun get to be rough on your body (that’s not to say that winter weather isn’t), so here are 5 new beauty products that I’ve been trying this summer that I totally 100% recommend.

*I am not being promoted for any of these suggestions

  1. Buddy Scrub Coffee Body Scrub

We all love drinking our morning coffee, but did you know that coffee, and to a larger extent caffeine, has skin health benefits when used externally.  In fact, coffee is proven to help reduce cellulite and promote smoother shinier skin.  This Buddy Scrub is the perfect product to use in order to get that “summer bod”.  Just lather and scrub your body a couple times a week and you’ll have yourself smooth and healthy skin.  The scrub is totally natural, vegan, and cruelty-free with no harmful products or ingredients you can’t pronounce.  It smells amazing too!

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Buy it here through Anthropology for $18

2.  The Pocket Palette, one-use make-up kits

The Pocket Palette is a start-up company that created these mini makeup kits for on-the-go travel and disposal.  Each palette contains a single portion of BB cream or foundation, a single portion of lipstick that doubles as rouge, and a single-use mascara brush.  The palette is tiny and can easily fit inside any pocket, purse or container making them super easy to carry with you.  I have used my pocket palette for overnight trips when I don’t feel like lugging a large makeup kit around and for after events such as golf where I need to quickly cleanup and make myself look presentable before dinner.  After use, you simply throw the kit away, and the makeup is great quality and very versatile.

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Buy them here in sets of 3 or 10 ranging from $12 to $35

3.  Tarte Mermaid Glitter Gel

Glitter is having a major moment right now thanks to the growing popularity of music festivals and festival fashion.  This gel-like body glitter is just the thing to get you festival-ready for all those instagram pictures.  It isn’t an eye shadow like other glitter products.  Instead, the liquid gel dries on to the skin, keeping it in place anywhere on the body.  Not only does the glitter work great against skin, but the jar is super fun and aesthetic.

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You can find it here from Sephora for $18

4.  Too Faced Hangoverx Replenishing Face Primer

This primer doubles wonderfully as a face moisturizer since it restores and helps contain moisture in the skin.  As the name suggests, it’s ideal for hangovers, but also any activity where your skin looses moisture such as working out and sun exposure. For those long summer days outside, this works as the perfect remedy making skin supple, smooth and lively.  As a bonus, Hangoverx has no shine or oily effects which is much appreciated when it comes to a good everyday primer and “lotion”.

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Buy it here at Sephora for $34

5.  OUAI Sun of a Beach Ombré Spray

Ever tried the old trick of squeezing lemon in your hair to make it lighter?  And it kind of works? Temporarily.  Well, OUAI has come up with a product based off of the classic lemon hack, but works stronger and stays longer.  Sun of a Beach Spray lightly bleaches the hair in a healthy way that doesn’t dry the hair out.  It smells nice and has little texture.  And, it actually really works!  The spray gives you a summer sun-kissed look which we all want while still looking very natural and healthy.

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Buy it here from Sephora for $24

*Pro Tip:  As I mentioned, I swear by Sephora.com since I love their loyalty program. Living in a rural area means that I need to order most of my products online, and Sephora is amazing for that.  I pay $10 a year to get free shipping which saves a lot of money in the long run, plus I get free samples which are great for travel, loyalty points for free awards, a birthday gift, and special deals that include a lot more free samples/minis.  It’s a fabulous program especially for college students.

Your Guide to Scottish Cuisine (What and Where to Eat)

My trip to Scotland brought me all over the country which allowed me to experience a wide range of cuisine and foods.  Scottish food is underrated.  People seem to associate the “only” quality British cuisine with London, and while London is a huge culinary capital, Scotland is overlooked, especially as they provide so much industry and agriculture to the foodie world.  Take smoked salmon: the delicacy is a favorite in much of the world.  The best smoked salmon?  Scottish smoked salmon, fished straight out of the North Sea and prepared to perfection.  I recommend eating all that you can if you find yourself in Scotland.  And that isn’t all.  Scotland is known for its meats and game, along with cheeses, seafood and hearty breakfasts.  If you want to know exactly what foods to try, check out my post for Spoon University here! 

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Great places to try across Scotland:

Luigi’s (Dornoch, Scotland):  Dornoch is a tiny town up in the Highlands with a world famous golf course that attracts people from all over.  The best restaurant in the town is Luigi’s which is an excellent Scottish/Italian/seafood restaurant serving fresh oysters, lobster, and pasta.  The seafood here is amazingly fresh, and this is definitely the place to try fabulous North Sea oysters (which are, by there way, delicious).

-Boath House (Nairn, Scotland):  Boath House is a hidden gem; slightly off the beaten path, but wonderfully rewarding.  It has a very Scottish menu with most ingredients coming from the estate or nearby farms.  Everything taste extremely fresh and high quality.  The duck was one of my favorite dishes that I tried in Scotland since it was prepared perfectly and served with amazing foie gras.  The smoked salmon is also a thing of beauty.  Boath House is considered one of the top restaurants in Scotland outside of a major city and it is easy to see why.  It’s a great find and a great experience.

Scran and Scallie (Edinburgh, Scotland):  I talked more about this restaurant and the next one mentioned in my previous post about Edinburgh, but it’s worth mentioning them again due to their impeccably high quality Scottish food.  Scran and Scallie is where I tried haggis, a momentous occasion, and it is also where I had these dedacant savory pies.  You have to try haggis at some point, and a gastropub is the perfect place since they prepare in a gourmet fashion.  Scottish savory pies are really delicious in the most comforting of comfort food ways.

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The Wedgwood (Edinburgh, Scotland):  The Wedgwood is one of the top restaurants in Edinburgh, but what makes it really great is that they make an effort to serve true Scottish cuisine in a gourmet setting.  Ingredients include foraged mushrooms, Douglas fir pine, venison, pigeon, and sea spaghetti.  They put on the ultimate display of Scottish food to showcase the potential it holds.

Tail end (Dundee, Scotland):  You cannot go to Scotland without having fish and chips (unless you’re vegetarian, of course), and although the classic dish can be found in any pub, I recommend seeking out more contemporary chip shops that specialize in locally sustainable fish.  Tail end in Dundee does just that.  They take great pride in their “handsome halibut” and their delicious homemade tartar sauce.  The place is cute and trendy, making it the perfect spot to enjoy true Scottish seafood.

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-The Drouthy Cobbler (Elgin, Scotland):  Another mandatory experience in Scotland is going to a pub.  They are everywhere, but it can be a little difficult to a find a really good one that truly cares about the food they serve.  The Drouthy Cobbler is a little known hidden place in the small town of Elgin.  You can’t even access it from the main road, finding it instead in a little alley way.  The atmosphere is quaint and trendy but still feels pub-like and they serve solid Scottish food like smoked trout and salmon, sausage rolls, and bangers and mash.

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