I have a colossal confession to make. There has been a distinct lack of post updates recently and I can now reveal it is because I have a new job (I also managed to pick up a bug within my first week and have been as sick as a very sick dog but we won’t dwell on that).
I am not exactly a high-flying business woman complete with Louis Vuitton filofax yet but if you were to take a trip to the Kids Department of Primark at the new Westfield shopping centre, you may find me under a pile of baby-grows.
I can practically hear the gasps of horror at the very mention of the P word, yes, I know:
“the only place on the High Street where you can buy shit in more than one colour.”
I’ve heard all the jokes and, for the first few weeks, even I hid my badge from basically every other store’s employees except perhaps McDonalds. We can all agree, Primark will never have an army of hot, Hollister-like models selling its products in a ridiculously poorly lit space. Our Kate will probably never meet Mrs. Obama in that Primark dress but, you know what, it was still pretty damn popular on Tuesday’s opening!
Either way, I am not aiming to plug the brand here but the Primark people and the opportunity they have given me. Despite top grades to A-Level, relevent experience and an insatiable interest in Fashion, I spent three months looking for a job in retail. You won’t normally find me stuck in doorways because my head is too big but the fact is, I’m not incapable and very keen to learn.
Gumtree, Retailchoice and Totaljobs became more frequently visited than Facebook and the ‘New In’ section of the Topshop website. I found advertisements for everything from ‘experienced sandwich maker’ to ‘luxury footwear assistant...preferably with smaller feet’ (if you’ve seen my feet you’ll know that is a problem). On low days, I even considered begging on the streets; apparently you can get paid if you do it for charity!
Then Primark finally took me on and, in spite of everything said about it, I have enjoyed every minute so far...well ok...most of it. You can’t spend eight hours listening to screaming infants and being repeatedly run over by prams without once asking what crimes you committed in a former life.
Quite frankly, I am grateful to have this job at all though and excited to be on the first rung of the Fashion Industry ladder. I've been involved in the preparation of the store since the first deliveries, when we had to send out search parties between the piles of cardboard boxes to find missing employees. On my second day, the Visual Merchandiser allowed me to pick out pieces for the displays, having picked up on my Fashion interests and, by opening day, I found myself engaging in a lift conversation with Breege O’Donoghue. Admittedly, I had no idea Ms. O’Donoghue was a Director and the HR Manager of Primark at the time but the fascinator suggested she had to be of some importance!
I’m guessing most people stopped reading this post when they realised it is not about the latest style finds or London Fashion Week updates but it is about the realities of the Fashion Industry. I finally know Fashion is exactly where I want to be and yet it is one of the most difficult industries to break into!
It would be unfair to say I am starting at the bottom; for all the jokes, Primark is still a thriving company with a clever business model to target the masses. Nevertheless, I am doing the equivalent of making the office tea rounds.
Oh well, time to look at the silver lining again! I am certainly learning by the day and if I can survive the pressures of a shopping centre opening day, I can get through anything! Besides this is just the first step; Chapter One of my life in Fashion...
...and if you are still laughing at the idea I think I am working in Fashion as an employee for Primark, check out their Autumn/ Winter collection courtesy of Marie Claire!