Iain has been working at the Livingston Designer Outlet in West Lothian, Scotland for six years.

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Last modified on 15/08/2018

Iain has been working at the Livingston Designer Outlet in West Lothian, Scotland for six years.

After leaving school at 15, he never knew where he was going to end up but is hugely proud of all that he has achieved on his journey in retail.

“When I left school, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I completed a few college courses and worked in a variety of different jobs, but they just never quite felt like the right fit for me. Like most people working in retail, I suppose you could say I fell into it.’’

“My first step into retail came when I was 20. While shopping in Morrisons, I was chatting with a guy about the difference between eating apples and cooking apples (this was pre-Google, so that kind of information was impressive at the time). A manager who worked there overheard our conversation and must have been impressed, as out of the blue, he offered me a part-time job in the produce department… selling apples!”

 

“Back when I was at school, I had never been a very academic learner. I learn things best through physical practice, by experiencing new situations or by making mistakes and then learning how not to do them again… 

…Working in Morrisons, I practiced my product knowledge and selling skills every day and became the Supervisor of the produce department within a year. It was a brilliant experience for me that only came to an end when a regular customer told me I didn’t need to settle for selling fruit and gave me my next opportunity working as a concession manager for Lloyds shoes – a footwear department based in Topman. I started learning about everything from stock management to how to run my own team of part time staff and I found it all so fascinating! I got carried away with learning not only about footwear but about every operational process I could be a part of and that’s when I knew I had caught the retail bug.”

Now Iain, 32 years old, has twelve years of retail experience under his belt and is the store manager of the Fred Perry store in the Livingston Designer Outlet. His day to day role is to ensure high operational standards in the store are maintained and drive sales performance through efficient training and coaching of his team.

“When you strip it right back, the heart of my job is motivating and inspiring people to succeed at what they do. I get a buzz from the achievements of the people who I’ve helped develop and nurture. For me, the best thing about working in retail are the people. I’ve travelled all over the UK with previous jobs, including a four year stint at Topman, where I got to meet people from many different backgrounds and that really makes you feel like you’re part of something bigger.

 

What would Iain say to someone just starting out in retail?

“It’s really not about what you know, it’s all about your personality, confidence and desire to be involved. Things like selling skills and product knowledge are all teachable, but the kind of person you choose to be when you’re at work is all down to you.”

“My advice is to sell yourself, talk about your passions, life experiences and then you can relate all of that into why you want the position you’re applying for. Everything I have achieved is because I took an interest and that’s all you really need – if you invest in people, they will invest in you and that can be a very rewarding part of the journey.” 

Fun fact: I have worn something orange every day since I was 8. When I was a child, I read a story about how the Egyptians painted all their uplifting stories in the colour orange, by using a mineral colour pigment known as realgar. It inspired me to wear it as a symbolic nod towards creating my own life story that is positive & uplifting.

 

First posted Wednesday 11 October 2017

 

Tags: Sustainability & Community Engagement

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