Retail is detail – James Gulliver.
This year is the third year in a run I’m working retail as Christmas fast approaches. I’m working specifically perfume retail, because I wouldn’t work any other retail if it was the last retail option on earth. Since beginning my job at The Perfume Shop back in June 2015, I quickly fell down the perfumed rabbit hole that I still haven’t scrambled out of yet. Perfume is one of my primary loves in life because it is not just a perfume and it is not just a gift: it is a love story, a careful one that has been moulded for months on end, and you choosing it for a loved one is an intimate and delicate thing. I might sound crazy, but buying perfume for a loved one is pretty hard just as it is satisfying, which is why I love selling it during the busiest time of year.
Aside from the obvious being I want and need more money, I decided to take on weekend work at The Perfume Shop because of a multitude of reasons, all of them coming back to my obsession with all things fragrance.
1. It’s been planned since before I left for Australia.
I’m not kidding. Even before my final month working at The Perfume Shop, we’d already planned my return back for Christmas 2017, no matter what. When a plan has been that concrete for well over a year and a half, you know you have to follow through with it, and so it was inevitable that I’d return.
2. I love helping people find the perfect perfume at Christmas.
Finding the right perfume for somebody can be really hard. Add that to the stress that Christmas shopping brings already and you’re set for a disaster. It is true that a lot of people already know the exact fragrance they want, which makes my job a lot easier, but when a customer has no clue but knows they want it to be special, it is an incredible satisfaction when they leave the shop grinning because they know their loved one will adore that wrapped up box. Side note: if you’re planning on buying a brand new fragrance, don’t leave it until Christmas Eve to make the decision on which one. By then, it’s crazy central with lots of customers, meaning impatient, angry people.
3. I secretly miss Christmas retail.
I miss the buzz. The festivities and the music and the rapid speed of getting every single customer’s perfume sorted so that they are on their way. It even makes me even more excited for Christmas Day because I know I’ve earned it more so, in a way. I worked Christmas Eve in 2015 and 2016; I remember leaving the shops and wishing my colleagues and friends a Merry Christmas, absolutely buzzing to go out during the evening to have my own celebrations. Last year, I had a glass of prosecco waiting for me in our Melbourne apartment; the year before, I got glammed up to go to the local. A part of what made them extra special was working during Christmas Eve.
4. I’ve lost touch with what’s new in fragrance.
I have no idea what is the latest and greatest in the world of perfume any more. I know of some new launches that I have gathered information on through social media and extensive google searching. However, it’s not the same as getting a delivery and having a brand new bottle, a brand new scent and a brand new packaging to match. I really miss knowing the ins and the outs of the industry as well as guessing what the customer is really going to love and what they aren’t.
5. I miss my work friends.
This is probably the most obvious reason to me. Some of my bestest friends work in The Perfume Shop and I don’t see them nearly as much – ever – as I used to. Going to work, aside from the actual working part, is an excuse to hang out with my friends too and get paid whilst doing it.
Do you work in retail over the Christmas period? What do you love about it? Or, hate?!
Love, Faye xo