I had an interesting conversation with a friend the other day that lead to some back and forth banter about the retail industry. Designers, labels, fashions and even the fine line when it comes to purchasing these goods. Many of us, ourselves included, know someone who has worked, presently works or intends on working in the fashion industry. A career path that is thought by many to be a promise of glitz and glam; travelling the world purchasing the latest and greatest upcoming fashions for which house or department [store] you may work for. And then, as you come of your plane, you head home to your well-appointed condo with all your friends and family waiting… not!
If there is anything to be said about the retail world, it’s that there are many myths and those who choose to believe them. They think the minute they graduate from some of the world’s top fashion schools, or at least those in your home towns, that they’ll come into some prestigious buying job or merchandising position. Although sometimes true, most often times not and rather leaving these some what poor-starving artists to fend for themselves. This is where they turn their god given creativity into commission strategy as they enter the sales floor — let the battle commence –.
Creativity is just apart of what it takes to be living and working in the industry, beyond the usual drive, passion and also talent for the work that’s often at hand. The one problem though, which from this conversation is more apparent than I thought, is where these young fashionista’s — and mista’s – learn to draw the line at work. They’re exposed to so many designers, brands and styles throughout the day that their main topic of conversation with fellow associates is nothing more than “omg, should I get this?”
But when is the right time to draw the line, saying enough [shoes] is enough? For many they don’t know when and the time is actually when there is no available credit or the dreaded “really, declined.” So many work so hard to make their way through the industry not realizing that in doing so, they’re actually ruining themsleves into the ground at the same time. For some though, not for all, this debt might not be that big of a concern “how is credit ever going to effect my life, or even my job?” For such a simple thought, the realization is all wrong.
In a world such as ours “money makes the world go round” and that it does. If you’re able to afford life’s simple pleasures, your set, but if you can’t – well, you’ve still got time to smarten up. And that’s what it comes down to, being smart about how you spend. Not something they necessarily teach you in school but rather something life does instead. With anything in life we learn about respect and knowing when enough is enough; whether it’s eating till you’re going to burst or drinking yourself sick, you need to know when to stop.
Unfortunately shopping has become an addiction that many on the sales foor can’t shake, it’s called an addiction for a reason. Whether it’s this seasons Prada loafers or Gucci handbag, you’re always going to hear “I have to have it.” As easy enough as it is to say that, many don’t realize the impacts behind it. I bought these great 10 bags, but I could’ve had a down-payment on a condo; I bought a great new pair of shoes each month, but I could’ve had a car; I bought the most beautiful watch the other day, but I could’ve paid off my tuition loans. These are all discount dissapoitments that many people have put themselves into, not realizing how tempting or dangerous that 30, 40 or even 50% off card can be.
So to them, my brothers and sisters who I have worked with in the retail world or who are about to start, think. As much as you’ve gone to school to understand why wool doesn’t like bleach or who revolutionized a women’s modern-day wardrobe, there are certain things they haven’t taught you. They’ve not asked you to attend a one semester long class on the dangers of discount abuse; no, not sharing it with friends or family but rather asking them for money because last month’s rent went to new shoes. Instead, be smart about how you spend because it’s not only your credit that will be hanging out on the line to dry.