Wednesday, September 30, 2015

5 Things To Never Do During A Retail Job Interview

Landing the interview often feels as an accomplishment on its own. You have tailored your resume to match the company’s needs, and have received notice to come in for an interview. Many candidates reach this point, however not many leave a good impression with managers during the interviews. Of course, being under qualified, lacking experience and the skills needed to perform the job are often why a candidate might not receive a call back, but sometimes it is because of a seemingly small mistake that may have ruined your chances of being hired. The following are small mistakes that might seem silly but you might be surprised what you are capable of doing in a moment of high stress as interviews often can be.

1. Leaving your cell phone on

It is incredibly rude to interrupt an interview due to a personal call. Most people know that it is required to silence your cell phone during an interview. What some people don’t realize is that a vibrating cell phone or even a light up screen can be incredibly distracting to an interviewer as well as the person being interviewed. It is best to turn your phone off completely and keep it out of plain sight. The presence of a cell phone can send the interviewer the wrong message, and make you seem uninterested in the job. Leaving your cell phone on might be perceived as if you have more important things to do than to seat through an interview, and that is never the impression you want your future boss to have of you. Turn it off, make it disappear!

2. Describing your previous/current job negatively

You must always remember that when interviewing, you are not yet guaranteed the position. When asked about your previous or current position and the reason why you are pursuing employment with a new company, you should always give a positive answer. Perhaps, you might say you are ready for a bigger challenge, or maybe you are looking for a change. What you should never do is talk negatively about the company, your former boss or any staff members. When doing so, you show the interviewer that you are not mature enough to see a situation as a challenge and not a problem and give the impression that whenever you encounter a less than desirable situation you will respond negatively. All jobs have their ups and downs, especially in retail, but you should never air a company’s dirty laundry to your potentially new employer. Plus the retail world is often close knit, with upper management employees having worked for several companies. You never know if your interviewer may know the person you are putting down and happens to disagree with you. Keep it vague and keep it positive.

3. Going on and on about your multiple other commitments

Managers look for candidates that are dedicated. Mentioning your many extra commitments may give the employer the impression that you are not ready to commit to the position. Retailers invest time in developing their associates to become future leaders and a candidate who has too many personal commitments may seem like they are only interested in work temporarily. I’m not implying not to have outside commitments, as many of us do, or refraining for mentioning some of them to prove you are a well rounded individual. However, creating scheduling difficulties before you even begin the job might become a turn off for the employer regardless of how impressive your resume may seem. Only speak about your outside responsibilities if directly asked and try to maintain a flexible schedule that matches the employer’s needs.

4. Showing up late or too early to the interview

As a retail manager, I am never idle. My agenda is filled from the moment I walk into the office. Most employers have a very limited window of time in which they can perform interviews. Showing up later than the time already determined is completely unprofessional, takes for granted the interviewer’s time and may cause you to lose the interview altogether. This also happens when an applicant shows up too early. Loitering around the store can become distracting to the associates working and might make the interviewer feel rushed. The golden rule of 10 minutes early is on time and on time is late is to be followed. This way you are not too early to make an employer uncomfortable, but you are also readily available once the time for the interview arrives.

5. Asking about the store’s discount policy

Most retailers offer a competitive associate’s discount to keep their staff motivated and to aid them in representing the current trends and brand image of the store. It is professional to negotiate a compensation package during your first interview, but you must be tactful enough to not ask about the employee discount too far in advance. It might be of much interest to you how generous the discount may be, but it can give the employer the sense that you are only interested in working for them because of the amount of the discount. The employer might then rationalize that if the discount policy was to vary, as it sometimes can, you will become disinterested with the job and potentially quit. Retail managers want you to become a customer, but they also want to know your dedication to the job will be intact regardless of what perks come with the position. Leave the question for your second interview or your first day on the job.
As always, make sure you are properly groomed and prepared to give the best interview you are capable of and remember to refrain from these 5 common mistakes that can take you from a great candidate to an interviewer’s nightmare.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Currently Reading: Creative Visualization

I am currently reading Creative Visualization by Shakti Gawain. This book was cited in a recent audiobook I discovered which was 50 Self-Help Classics by Tom Butler-Bowdon . I loved listening to the 50 Self-Help Classics so much, it basically gives brief synopsis of some of the best self help books of all time. The audiobook gives short enough descriptions so if you are not too into a specific book it is quite painless to listen through its description. The short overviews are very detailed and insightful and I had the feeling of having a few breakthroughs while listening to this book. There were books mentioned that I am familiar with like Meditations by Marcus Aurelius , The Tao De Ching and even the Bible.

The 50 Self-Help Classics book lists one of Dr. Phil's book as part of their list, which I was a little surprised about, I have never read his first book. I was actually surprised to find out the entire story behind Dr. Phil and how he became a part of the Oprah show. The 50 Self-Help Classics reminded me of books I have read and really liked and also helped me discover a few new books to read, Creative Visualization was one of them.

I am halfway done with the book, it is a super fast read! The book discusses very basic visualization concepts that if you have watched The Secret then you get the basic idea. The book was originally published in 1978 so I am assuming that this topic was perhaps less popular back then. I like the book as a basic guideline for visualization but for someone who has read any law of attraction material the content of this book is very basic. I know that this book predates The Secret and other similar books but the directions of what to do when 'visualizing' are basically the same. The author tells you to do it in the morning after waking or right before going to sleep. She states that you should sit up while visualizing because it allows for energy to flow through your spine more powerfully, I have never heard of this before and am a bit skeptical.

I do believe in visualizing and feel like I have seen proof of it in my own life ever since I was a child, way before I have ever read anything about thie topic. For a time in my early twenties I was practicing visualization a lot and I got strong and positive results from it. Unfortunately after that time I was never again able to maintain a daily regimented practice of it, which I feel is what it takes to achieve some big goals. Lately I have been struggling with some excessive and reoccurring negative though patterns that are frightening and I can't seem to shake. These negative thoughts were what lead me to listen to the 50 Self-Help books in the first place, I like listening to audiobooks when I am doing mindless work or chores.

A topic that Gawain, the author, talks about in the book is prosperity and believing that there is enough for everyone and resources are bountiful. Lately I have really struggled with believing this, maybe that is what is holding me back from achieving some of my goals. It is just hard to believe that there is enough for everyone when the visuals of the world show otherwise. I guess I feel better when I think of it in a different way, that there is enough but all the resources are not all properly allocated and this is what causes lack, pain and suffering.

I also checked out Creative Visualization for Dummies basically by default, I am not sure why I keep trying to read these For Dummies books because I really don't like their layouts. The For Dummies book was written in 2011 and it is pretty dense, so maybe there is some gems of information on there that will be interesting, we shall see.

I love books and am constantly reading 2-3 books at a time, mostly non fiction. I decided to write monthly or bi-monthly about the books I am currently reading. Books have helped me so much in my life, so many times I felt like I didn't have someone to go to with my problems and I found solace in reading.

 Books I recommend:

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Interview with Scavenger Life

My partner Ryan and I were interviewed by Jay from our very favorite blog Scavenger Life. We talked about the day to day operations of running our Etsy shops. I have listened to their podcast for a year and a half now and I have learned so much from them! I hope you enjoy this interview!

If you are interested in opening up your own Etsy shop you can get 40 free listings by signing up using my referral link: .

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

9 FREE Tools For Entrepenuers

When you’re just starting out it is always wise to exhaust all the free tools you can get too before spending money on hiring extra help. Luckily the web is filled with tons of free resources for entrepreneurs and startups no matter how far along you are in your project. Below are some of my favorite tried and true sites that make the day to day of running my business so much easier. -This site is a huge directory of tools and resources all caterogirzed so you can easily find what you are looking for. My favorite is the ‘naming’ tab filled with sites that help you brainstorm and come up with the perfect name for your new business or project. - I use this website daily to make perfect sized instagram photos, make collages needed for my business and have used to design all of my logos. It is very easy to use, it gives you professional results that you achieve by simply using their drag and drop tools. - Fiverr is a huge marketplace filled with talented graphic designers and marketers that can help you jump start small projects. The best part? Every service has a starting price of only $5, it is easy to find someone to work with without fear of spending too much upfront. - Truly one of the best sites for organizing your mailing lists and sending out beautifully dsesigned e-mail. I cannot believe this tool is free! - ‘If this then that’ this is a website that puts the internet to work for you. I use it to automate my social media by setting up one of their ‘recipes’. When I post to instagram the image gets added to twitter (via an image post), pinterest, tumblr and facebook! - This is an easy logo maker that helps you get something drawn up quickly for your project. The image quality is excellent and no one will know you paid nothing to get a cool logo. - Checking through all of your social media channels can be a pain and often times you forget to check something. Hootsuite is a beautiful platform that organizes and lets you review all your social media happenings in one place! - As an entrepenuer it is critical to stay on top of your accounting and expenses. links up to your bank accounts and tracks and categorizes your business expenses. It even lets you make invoices. - This is the perfect site for when you need a beautifully shot photo for a blog post or for marketing materials. All photos are completely free to use and very high quality.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Lessons on Creating a Bad Ass Company from Reformation's Yael Aflalo

You may not recognize the name ‘Reformation’ but you have definitely seen their amazing flowy floral cut out dresses and button front denim skirts being worn by Rihanna, Karlie Kloss and fashion bloggers. Reformation is the newest “It” girl label made even more remarkable by the fact that their manufacturing uses all vintage, dead stock or eco friendly fabrics. Below are some steps Reformation’s founder and CEO Yael Aflalo took to turn her company into fashion’s new must have label.

Have a vision and plan. Yael Aflalo has discussed in interviews how she has a vision board in her bedroom to help her focus on what she wants to accomplish. She is also known for being very structured and organized with her time. Her technique is scheduling tasks at the same time on a weekly basis and setting time limits to her activities. This helps her never having to worry about what to do next, she simply follows her plan.

If at first you don’t succeed...Before Reformation Yael had another clothing line called Ya-Ya, which was a typical fashion brand she ran for 10 years. The label eventually closed due to difficulties during the recession. After running a conventional label for nearly a decade she knew that following the fashion calendar and dealing with overseas factories wasn’t for her. Her experience led her to build her new more innovative and more successful company.

Go against the grain. While in China for a work trip Yael noticed all the pollution around the clothing manufacturing regions. She recounts how in some areas the pollution was so thick it was hard to breath. When she returned home to the U.S. she immediately started researching how to manufacture clothing that had less of a negative impact on the planet. She focused on reducing waste and built her business following Earth friendly principles. This is the exact opposite of what most other fashion labels were doing at the time.

Look for gaps in the marketplace. Eco-friendly clothing is not necessarily known for being fashionable. A lot of green brands suffer from being too granola and often ignore design. Reformation filled this gap by producing clothing that is every bit ‘It Girl’ worthy.

Make it special. Since Reformation uses vintage and dead stock fabrics that come in limited supplies they only make about 200 pieces of each garment. Aflalo says "We want to always make less than what people want us to make so, in that way, it's special. It keeps things exclusive." They also focus on making pieces that aren’t too seasonal and can be worn over and over as Aflalo says “Clothes that are versatile and sustainable."

Friday, September 11, 2015

Travel Guide: New Orleans, LA

Ryan and I found a great deal on tickets from Chicago to New Orleans, so we decided to go for a last minute trip. While in New Orleans our friends showed us around some amazing places to eat! Below is our favorite eats list.

Peche is an amazing seafood restaurant. They serve small plates that are meant to be shared. Everything on the menu is great! I suggest you try as many items as possible.

Shaya serves Mediterranean small plates. They serve you a huge bowl of hummus with endless pita, I had to pace myself not to just eat that. The falafel is great as is their pickled dish.

Elizabeths is a great brunch place serving New Orleans style breakfast dishes. I went the safe route and ordered a strawberry waffle, it turned out to be the best waffle I have ever had!