Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Movin' On Up

A rags to riches tale of a county kid, determined to succeed in a new industry.

I grew up in the county, hailing from a small town in the middle of nowhere that required a dedicated “trip” in order to find the nearest mall. When I did go to purchase clothes I dove towards the nearest skate shop, avoiding and ridiculing anything in between. My understanding of fashion left something to be desired, which explains why I’m so surprised that today I’d rather wear a collared shirt with tie when my younger days dictated that a skateboard tee would suffice.

I moved from my tiny town and home into a much larger house and city after graduating OAC. It wasn’t until I began to work in the service industry at a night club that I started to appreciate what being a well dressed young professional could do for a person’s confidence. Every evening I would watch men dressed in nice shirts with nice pants and matching shoes flirt with beautiful women who wore fancy flowing summer dresses that shone in the spotlights. The liquor flowed freely, but it was this new scene of style that I found so intoxicating.

After admiring the drunken crowds, I found myself buying nicer shirts. One day I looked in my closet only to find that half of it was filled with shoes and belts that matched! Without realizing it, I had begun to enjoy participating in fashion. The new fall seasons meant new sweaters; the next spring season meant more tee-shirts, with a healthy dose of footwear in between. I didn’t mean for it happen, but my newfound appreciation for fashion was too strong to ignore. I continued to work until I reached a tipping point, and after two years I made a decision, it was time to go back to school.

It was time to move to Toronto! So now I’m a kid from a county living in the biggest city Canada has to offer. Lot’s of stores, plenty of boutiques, and (depending on the area) more well dressed individuals in one area then the entire population of Saskatchewan. This was a daunting task for me; even before school started I had to learn to become one of you. Which latté do I order, what style works on what street, what am I doing here? It wasn’t until I got a job in the industry that things began to reveal themselves to me. If you want to succeed socially in school and in retail keep this in mind:

1. Buy cappuccinos at Starbucks and take it with you wherever you go.

2. Work at a retail store selling something. Start in the stockroom if you have to, just getting a job will give you inside information that schools can’t offer.

3. Look like you’ve always wanted to look. Before you were an outsider but now you’ll blend in.

4. Don’t be a brat. That doesn’t get you further in life and it won’t get you further in retail.

5. Have one foot in and one foot out at all times. Fashion is overwhelming so have space set aside to breathe.

Just remember boys and girls, if a hick from the county can do it, so can you!

1 comment:

cassandra ray said...

John, this is a fantastic article. I relate with it a lot, your last point is very true. Topics like this, every first year should read, you never really know what to expect.