Shop Girl

Whenever I’m at a cocktail party or in any mingling situation, someone will ask me what I do and I always say that I’m a Design Associate at Room & Board.  Design Associate is one of those corporate-y terms that only exist within the vernacular of a particular company and, I’m relatively sure, totally meaningless to anyone who doesn’t belong to our little club.  But somehow, “retail sales person” doesn’t fit the bill. 

It’s hard to explain this job to anyone who doesn’t do it — even, and maybe especially, to people who work in retail.  It’s unlike any retail job I’ve ever had.  In addition to the autonomy, required expertise and professionalism that distinguish this role, it’s not very sales-y (I am loving these -y’s). 

Solution-based selling (some more R&B jargon) means focusing on uncovering and then meeting the needs of our customers.  The sale seems somehow unimportant in the midst of those interactions.  When you’re trying to navigate a challenging space issue, or integrate new modern pieces with existing heirlooms, you’re not thinking about whether you’ll get the sale.  You’re thinking, “Which fabric will work with this frame, but still hold up to sticky kids and a dog?”  There’s no pressure.  If it’s right, you’ll make a sale.  But more importantly, you’ll develop a lasting relationship with another person and have a hand in making their home a warm, beautiful and functional space.

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