All Articles Tagged "retail"

Polo, Peeps and Movie Premieres: I Still Don’t Understand How Some People Celebrate Easter

April 19th, 2014 - By Toya Sharee
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Whether you celebrate Easter, Resurrection Day or The Memorial, like every other holiday, unfortunately Easter Sunday has its fair share of commercialism. I’ve seen pastel Peeps lining store shelves since the day after Valentine’s Day and Sears Portrait Studio has been pimping the Easter Bunny in the weekend circulars for at least a month now. They even want people to bring their pets to get their pose on with the oversized rodent.

I’ll admit most of it is pretty darn cute. I love seeing little girls twirl in their Easter dresses with their barrettes and bows and dangling from their braids and puffballs. It’s funny how amazing regular eggs become when drowned in a little dollar store dye. But for some, Easter celebrations couldn’t be farther from what the holiday was intended for.

When I was a child my mother would set up Easter baskets and candy on the dining room table (always making sure to get yellow Marshmallow Peeps for my father). Chocolate Easter bunnies were no longer welcome in the house after our Yorkie Terrier stole and devoured a whole one when I was a toddler. A few early Easters she would buy my sister and I pretty dresses and take pictures.  Mom was never big on church on Easter Sunday, because she wasn’t big on religion all year round. Which brings me to my first tradition:  I don’t understand how people can make such a fuss out of praising the Lord in church on one day and don’t find the energy to do so any other day of the year. I’m not the most religious person, but I understand Christ doesn’t quite work that way. He’s not like the hairstylist that you slighted for the summer because you wanted to save some money and rock braids; he’s always waiting with open arms. But if you’re going to have faith, why not make the effort to incorporate it into your life for the rest of the year?

Speaking of church, most people aren’t going to make their annual appearance in the house of the Lord without being dressed to impress. I’ve witnessed people spend their whole tax return on “Easter” clothes. And we’re not talking about pink dresses and tailored suits. Every year at this time Polo and Air Jordan sales rise a little higher. People will fall behind on their student loan payments just so their babies can rock the new Lebrons in their Easter Sunday pictures. Again I ask, “What exactly does this have to do with Christ rising from the dead?”

I’m not knocking tradition. Even if it’s your family ritual to see the latest superhero movie every Easter Sunday, that still gives a child something to look forward to. It shapes your identity as a family and that’s what most important about the holidays. I’m not even saying that you even have to embrace the religious origin behind every holiday, but you should at least educate yourself and your children about it. After all, the Easter Bunny is a lot less scary to kids  than someone rising from the dead.  But your kids should know as much about the resurrection as they do retail when they’re celebrating the holiday. Whether you’re dying eggs or taking a half day at work so your baby can have the latest Air J’s to rock on Easter Sunday. As long as you’re spreading a message of family togetherness, that’s the best thing about the holiday. But if you’re going to make such a big deal out of Easter or any holiday for that matter, at least teach your children its history.

Toya Sharee is a community health educator and parenting education coordinator who has a  passion for helping  young women build their self-esteem and make well-informed choices about their sexual health.  She also advocates for women’s reproductive rights and blogs about  everything from beauty to love and relationships. Follow her on Twitter @TheTrueTSharee or visit her blog, Bullets and Blessings.

Add Retail To Your Resume: Valuable Skills That You Should Highlight On Your CV

March 17th, 2014 - By Caressa Sanford
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iStockphoto

Many people, particularly in the throes of lingering global financial issues, have taken retail jobs to supplement their income. While it may see as though these are toss-away jobs that don’t mean much in the grand scheme of your resume, there really is great value to these jobs.

While a job in retail (as a sales associate… not as an executive, manager, etc) is probably a stepping stone to bigger things, it’s worth it to take a look at what these positions offer. Retail employees should be using these jobs as a way to transition their unique skills into new careers and a source of valuable experience. There is a lot more skill than often meets the eye in retail, which ought to be highlighted when applying and interviewing for new jobs.

Here are some of the skills that you can takeaway from a retail job and showcase on your resume.

Not Just For The Holidays: National Retail Federation Clip Tells The Story Of A Career Retail Worker

January 24th, 2014 - By Tonya Garcia
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Most people, when they think of working in retail, imagine a part-time job for college students looking to make some money for books, or temporary work around the holidays; something to do for a few weeks to make some extra money and get a discount on gifts.

But there are some people who make a career out of working in retail. That’s the focus of the National Retail Federation’s latest campaign “This is Retail.” On the campaign website, the group (the largest retail trade group in the world) wants to show the depth and breadth of professional opportunity across the retail industry. There are 42 million workers in retail, the NRF says, and not all of those people are “behind a cash register.”

So here we have the story of Claudine McKenzie, who says she started at Walmart when she was three months pregnant with her first child. After 17 years of winding her way through a number of stores and up the chain of command, she’s a store manager working towards a Master’s degree. Besides offering a glimpse at what’s possible in retail, the clip also acts as a bit of a love letter to Walmart — she refers a couple of times to the “support” she got from the retailer during both her pregnancies — who usually figures much more negatively when the talk turns to how they treat their employees.

Have you ever considered a career in retail? Does this clip make you think of retail differently?

With Two NYC Stores Open For Business, Brittanie Yvonne Built EHVonnae From The Ground Up

January 16th, 2014 - By Priscilla Ward
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Brittanie YvonneAfter a layoff left her two years removed from the corporate world and unable to find a new job, Brittanie Yvonne took matters into her own hands. “I didn’t just want a job. I wanted something that was going to further my experience and help me gain the knowledge to eventually have my own business,” Yvonne tells MN Business.

All of this, she thought, was a sign that if she couldn’t find a job that would make her happy, she shouldn’t be working for someone else. “It was time for me to start my own business. So I did,” Yvonne said.

Capitalizing on a strong sense of style, she started EHVonnae, a New York-based  brick-and-mortar boutique with a dual online component. Yvonne opened up her first location in trendy DUMBO, Brooklyn. And she did it without having a large amount of financial backing.

Her parents’ first reaction to the news that she wasn’t going to be working for anyone else any longer was, “Well what are you going to do? You have to do something.” To prove just how serious she was, she started with lots of research, reading about how to start a business from the ground up. She then wrote a carefully articulated business plan describing how she was going to make being her own boss work. “From then on my parents understood, and started to support the start of my business,” Yvonne said.

She used her unemployment money, help from family, and counsel from a business advisor to get all of her paperwork together. With the groundwork laid, she took the next big step of finding the perfect home for this business venture. “Having a budget was essential,” Yvonne said.  She found a location within her budget and went for it. “It was the scariest thing to do, but no risk, no reward. It was the best decision I could have made,” Yvonne said.

She reached out to a friend who worked in real estate for help. “I was surprised to find out that there are some very affordable rental spaces in New York City due to the state of the economy and the unfortunate closings of businesses,” she said. “Some are even month-to-month situations. It all comes down to research and negotiation. Anything is possible.” Not only did Yvonne open shop in one of the most desirable addresses in Brooklyn. Her first shop opened in 2010.

Seasonal Job Ideas For Students During The Holiday Break

November 27th, 2013 - By Blair Bedford
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With the holiday season quickly approaching, many college students are in search of seasonal employment to hold them over financially during their winter break. Much better than lying around catching up on Netflix! Here are a few suggestions to make a few extra dollars while school’s out of session. Be sure to pass this along to the story to those college goers in your life looking for ideas!

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New York Attorney General Investigating Barneys NY Discrimination Case

October 30th, 2013 - By Madame Noire
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Source: Barneys

Source: Barneys

 

From StyleBlazer

Things have gone from sticky to super sticky now that the New York State Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman is involved with the discrimination cases against Barneys and Macy’s stores.

On Monday, Schneiderman’s office sent requests to both retailers requesting a long list of documents concerning policies for stopping, detaining and questioning customers based on race. They must comply by Friday. In a matter of one week there have been four reports of unfair racial profiling of customers who would otherwise have been enjoying a shopping experience.

“The alleged repeated behavior of your employees raises troubling questions about your company’s commitment to that ideal,” Kristen Clarke, who heads the AG’s civil rights bureau, wrote to Barneys CEO Mark Lee and Macy’s Chief Stores Officer Peter Sachse. In the past Macy’s has been accused of racial profiling, settling a case in 2005 for $600,000.

Read more at StyleBlazer.com 

Sean John Exec Alain Lafontant Discusses The Ongoing Diversity Problem In Fashion

October 22nd, 2013 - By Tonya Garcia
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Macy's Terry Lundgren, Iman, and Alain Lafontant on the red carpet at the BRAG gala.

Macy’s Terry Lundgren, Iman, and Alain Lafontant on the red carpet at the BRAG gala.

Fifteen years ago, Alain Lafontant was an intern at BRAG (the Black Retail Action Group). On Thursday, he was accepting the organization’s BRAG Special Recognition Award  in front of 600 guests alongside other awards recipients, Macy’s CEO and president Terry Lundgren, and Iman, supermodel and CEO of Iman Cosmetics, Skincare and Fragrances.

BRAG is a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing African Americans and other people of color into the retail and fashion industry fold. This year, they hosted the 43rd Annual Scholarship and Awards Gala, which was hosted by style expert Lloyd Benson and featured a special performance from Nick Cannon, who just recently launched a line of ties at Macy’s. In addition to the awards, the organization handed out 67 scholarships, more than double the previous year. The event raised more than $1 million, including $35,000 at a live auction during the event.

Since the days when Lafontant was working on his BRAG project focusing on the changes in retail on Harlem’s iconic 125th Street (today there’s a MAC, an H&M, a Starbucks, and an American Apparel steps from one another), things have changed in stores. But diversity continues to be an issue. Each year it seems, diversity gets attention around Fashion Week, when people notice how few models of color are walking the catwalk.

Kerry Washington in Alexander Wang at the designer's show a few weeks ago. David Bodrick/DMBJ/WENN.com

“Fashion Week always brings diversity to the forefront because it’s an easy visual to see the lack of diversity,” Lafontant told MN Business during a phone call. But for him, it’s not just about racial diversity, but a “diversity of background” that’s missing. And, just as important, is the lack of diversity at the upper ranks where decisions are made is an issue.

“This sea of sameness doesn’t promote evolving changes,” Lafontant added. “I’m interested in the diversity on the business end.”

To that end, it’s worth noting that Lafontant is the VP of business development and brand manager at Sean John, Diddy’s successful fashion line. This is his second time with the company. In between, he was the VP of men’s sales at Rocawear.

“In my career, whether it’s Shawn Carter or Sean Combs, they saw a void in the market and they filled it themselves,” he said. This is a model that other aspirants in the fashion industry should follow. “You don’t have to wait for the company to come and hire you. The industry is fueled by big dreamers.”

It also benefits from both diversity of culture and diversity of ideas. While the Ralph Laurens and Armanis of the industry continue to garner name recognition, there are others coming up behind them like Alexander Wang, who Lafontant noted for his “innovation in product.”

“Creativity is one portion of it,” Lafontant said.

One of this year’s BRAG scholarship recipients, quoted in information we received from the organization, may have listed the other components best: “Because of BRAG scholarships, we are given the character, confidence and education we need to succeed.  To us, these scholarships not only represent funding for school, but it affirms our dreams, our hard work as students and our individual ambitions.”

Holiday Slump: Seasonal Retail Hiring Numbers Expected To Be About The Same As Last Year

September 24th, 2013 - By Tonya Garcia
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Conservative holiday spending and a desire to keep costs down at retail shops around the country are expected to keep hiring numbers down this coming holiday season. Global employment consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas says seasonal hiring at retailers across the country will be around 700,000, falling short of the all-time high reached in 2012 of 751,800. That number was up 14 percent from the year before.

In a sad bit of cyclical logic, analysts say that unemployment and underemployment are making people nervous about spending a ton of money on holiday gifts. As a result, there will be fewer jobs for people who are unemployed or underemployed. Sigh.

Seasonal holiday hiring usually goes from October 1 to December 31. The shopping season kicks into high gear on Black Friday, the big post-Thanksgiving shopping day. This year, there are only 25 days between Black Friday and Christmas, down from 31 last year. Sales this holiday season are expected to be up 2.4 percent over last year, but that’s less than the past couple of years.

Among the retailers that will be staffing up in greater numbers this year are Walmart, Toys R Us and Kohl’s. Walmart says it’ll bring in 55,000 workers this year, 5,000 more than last year. And Toys R Us says it’ll maintain last year’s figure — 45,000. They’ll start hiring this week with positions lasting through December. And the AP says 15 percent of 2012′s seasonal jobs turned into full-time positions. Kohl’s is looking for about 53,000 workers, a small increase from last year. The Kansas City Star also says FedEx and UPS hired 20,000 and 55,000 workers last year, respectively.

Target, on the other hand, will be seeking 20 percent fewer workers this year, or 70,000 workers.

Now’s the time to get those applications in. So if you’re looking for work, get cracking.

Forget Diamonds! Shoes Are A Woman’s Best Friend: Why Women’s Shoes Are A Good Investment

July 2nd, 2013 - By Ann Brown
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The U.S. shoe business is a $48-billion industry. And women spend $25,000 on stilettos and sneakers in our lifetime according to Glamour. Are women addicted to shoes? Some will answer a definitive yes. In fact, The Age says, “Shoes are fashion crack. Highly addictive they provide the user with an instant gratification high like no other.”

There are several theories why women love shoes—you can be fat, tall, skinny but you can most always find a shoe that fits and looks good. People have even put some actual study into it. “There’s some science behind it with experts agreeing that women can/do experience an absolute physiological response when shopping,” reports The Age. “The neurotransmitter dopamine is released into the brain flooding it with a feel-good high that intensifies all the way up to the actual purchase… which explains why some women occasionally swap relationships, food and even sex in favour of a pair of Jimmy Choos.”

That’s why retail outlets are taking notice and expanding their women’s shoe department—some even devoting an entire floor to women’s shoes. And they are raking in the sales.

“Barneys New York, sales of shoes are three to four times higher per square foot than in any other department. The average purchase in the shoe department there is about $850, among the highest in the city” reports The New York Times.

Over the past five years there was been sort of a shoe war going on, with retailers trying to show who has the largest shoe collection. Macy’s in New York introduced a 39,000-square-foot shoe department last year, which it claims is the “world’s largest.”  Nordstrom, which has been a favorite among shoe shoppers for years because of its selection and service, plans to open a store on West 57th Street in Manhattan. All the high-end shops have impressive shoe departments now. Saks Fifth Avenue’s footwear department has its on vanity ZIP code, 10022-SHOE. And recently Saks debuted a 1,600-square-foot shop selling only Christian Louboutin handbags and shoes.

“Shoes are the one thing that you can wear regardless of your size,” Kathryn Finney, The Budget Fashionista, points out. “In a way, shoes are the great equalizer. It is capable of democratizing fashion. You probably can’t buy a Zac Posen dress if you wear a size 14, but you can surely buy a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes.”

She argues shoes are a good investment because updating your wardrobe is possible by just buying shoes rather than an entire closet of clothes. “You can save a lot of money by dressing head to toe in Target, and up the style factor by pairing your bargain duds with a single, really great pair of shoes,” she explains. “Plus, no matter how much your weight changes, your trusty shoes will always fit.”

And, says Finney, you don’t have to spend a fortune on shoes. “Always check the clearance section for investment pieces at a fraction of the price. These shoe classics aren’t at the mercy of shoe fads and ‘New Arrivals’ trends, so never pay full price for them,” she advises.

How many pairs of shoes do you own?

Controversy Catching Up To Abercrombie & Fitch? Company Reports Sales Drop in Q1

May 26th, 2013 - By Tonya Garcia
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abercrombie fitchAfter weeks (one could say years) of bad press and controversy over comments made by company execs and an overall exclusionary attitude, it looks like Abercrombie & Fitch is getting its comeuppance. The company announced that sales had dropped 17 percent for the first quarter of this year. According to The Huffington Post, the numbers were falling before the controversies erupted, but sales certainly won’t be helped by the scandals. The CEO of the company, Mike Jeffries, says a lack of inventory was the problem.

“It took a little bit longer than anticipated to flow in some of our spring deliveries,” Reuters quotes Jeffries, who spoke during a conference call on Friday. The company has cut sales forecasts for he year as well.

Just last week, Abercrombie issued an apology after teens protested outside the company’s Ohio headquarters. They asked the company to start selling larger sizes (above a 10 and a Large), to cut down on its racy ads, and to focus on anti-bullying and diversity efforts. The company’s statement, after meeting with the students, read, “We look forward to continuing this dialogue and taking concrete steps to demonstrate our commitment to anti-bullying in addition to our ongoing support of diversity and inclusion. We want to reiterate that we sincerely regret and apologize for any offense caused by comments we have made in the past which are contrary to these values.”

The question is, will it help?

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