The retail industry can be a meaningful, fulfilling and lucrative career option. Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions about working in retail. We spoke to the owners of Bedpost Dunedin, Alan and Denise, who set the record straight - the industry is more than just standing behind a counter and taking peoples money. Retail is not just a job to make do, or fill in a gap while you look for something better! Alan and Denise have owned Bedpost Dunedin for the last 22 years. They shared with us what the retail industry means to them, how they got there (as unexpected as it was) and some fantastic advice for youth interested in working in retail.
Denise studied as a biologist and worked all around the world for what she thought would be the rest of her life. She soon discovered that she had a passion for the people side of the research, interacting with the client base and building relationships. It was then that she realised that she needed to move into an industry that built on her natural empathy with others, but also allowed her to use her problem solving and analytical skills.
Alan began his working life in a more consumer-focused job, working in the tourism industry as a travel agent and then moved into IT. He also needed a change, with being his own boss one of them. Becoming co-owners of Bedpost Dunedin was the perfect fit.
Alan and Denise are determined to eliminate the common misconceptions that are often associated with working in retail.
“When you are working in this industry you need to realise that it is hands on. You have to want to be there and work hard otherwise you’re not going to succeed. There is always something to be done, if you are standing around all day, looking bored, with your hands in your pockets or checking your social media, then your heart isn't in it.”
So what advice do Alan and Denise have for youth looking to work in retail? After being in the industry for such a long time, the pair certainly knows what they are looking for in their employees to run a successful business. The pair stressed that the key is to have a positive attitude.
"Customers can feel this vibe as they walk into a shop. You are the face of our business. You need to learn to listen to your customers, to learn which products to present and what will best suit their needs. Your passion and enthusiasm for the product you sell will strongly influence the customer and you must want them to have the best experience possible. You need to be prepared to use quiet times to make sure you learn all there is to know and to present your products in the best light. If you are open to new information you will learn a lot. With over 20 years in the business, we are still learning new ways of presenting product and new technology."
Bedpost Dunedin is proud to be a Youth Friendly Employer and offers a wide range of opportunities that include; CV reviews, Desk shadowing, Industry Entry discussion, Internships, Role reversal Interviews, Mentoring and a Mock Interviews. If you think you would be interested in getting in contact with Denise and Alan check them out on the Youth Employer website, here.