Coal Miner’s Daughter – The Important Role of an Employee
When thinking of the topic “Escape”, an instant thought for myself is retail therapy. One of the most individualistic places that came to mind was a charming boutique called “Coal Miner’s Daughter”. Something about the store’s Down Town Toronto location allows the customer to feel detached from the world as if they’ve entered a whimsical place where all clothing and jewelry is beautiful and ethically produced – that’s an escape if I’ve ever heard one. I reached out to the company and instantly received a response within the same day. I had the opportunity to meet with an assistant buyer for the company, Cassandra, a new Assistant Buyer that also maintains her older position working as an Assistant Manager. Yes, you read that right, she upholds two positions at Coal Miner’s Daughter, both of which are very contrasting. Cassandra said it has been difficult detaching herself emotionally from the new role as a buyer. She told me, “It’s hard to buy items you really like while trying to please the customer, it’s almost impossible to buy something that everyone is going to love as much as you do.” Since she started out as the Assistant Manager for the Queen Street location, she’s used to selling product day to day, the adjustment comes when a customer critiques your decision as Buyer.
In meeting with Cassandra, I’ve learned that an individual can contribute so much more than just one role to a company. Often employees get promoted, very rarely do they get promoted while still maintaining their old position within the same company. “I was offered the retail position first, from then I started buying a bit for the company. Which I really like having a say in what I sell in the store”. As someone who is actively in the store, it is important that the employees are selling products that they love.
I learned that Cassandra has so many additional opportunities in fashion – especially with her experience, although she does not currently possess any qualifications or previous education, her ability to adapt exceeds any limitations. A position like “Assistant Buyer” is a dream for many in the fashion and retail world, for Cassandra this has become a reality within a year. When asked if she ever thought she’d become an Assistant Buyer, Cassandra responded “No, I never really took fashion or retail to be a serious option. I initially took this job as the Assistant Manager then I gained more responsibility throughout.” A buyer does not just have to be a buyer, they can work in retail, visual merchandising, design, textiles, and public relations and so on” Cassandra explained, “it is important to know what the customer wants and by being a part of the creative and business side, it makes it easier to reach a target market and sell cohesively”. The unique chain of three boutiques called “Coal Miner’s Daughter” located in the GTA is owned by Janine Haller and Krysten Caddy, who have worked with and mentored Cassandra for three years now, “it’s a lot of fun…I’ve worked with the owners, Janine Haller and Krysten Caddy, and they’re really cool. I like the environment and the creative vision they have for the store”.
In the modern age of retail many employees work for companies and brands that they don’t personally believe in. It’s refreshing to hear an employee genuinely excited and passionate about the success of their employer. A lot of this may have to do with Cassandra’s promotion, regardless, the trust and ability to create such a positive space to work in is something many companies should take note of. Not only is the Coal Miner’s Daughter boutique an escape for the customer, but also for the employees. The opportunity to thrive and be excited is constant, the owner’s, Janine Haller and Krysten Caddy, encourage individuality to better their company every day. The company predominantly promotes Canadian designers and have handpicked every international designer based on design and ethics of their sourcing. The individuality of the brand has always been a main focus as well as quality. Cassandra has the same creative vision for the store as the owners, which can turn an employee into an entrepreneur.