So here we are, at the 23rd. edition of That Girl in the Red Coat’s Tales of Truth. The past weeks have been, well, lets just say, interesting. The summer has arrived and with it the rising humidex and the lowering of common sense. So gather ’round ladies and gents, boys and girls for it is time for some Tales of Truth.
- a woman came into the shop, came up to the counter and said “So, you do hair huh?”. I let her know that I personally do not, and offered to introduce her to one of our stylists. “So, you work here and don’t do hair huh?”. “That’s correct.” I told her I manage the shop and asked if I could help her with anything. She looked at me for a minute and then said “Yeah…where is the mailbox around here?”.
- I was told my shop isn’t family friendly because I wouldn’t let a woman’s child try on the nail polishes that we have for sale. I was told that I should keep them out of children’s reach if I don’t want them touched.
- A woman asked “Do you have toe nail files?”. I showed her our selection of emery boards and nail files. She sighed and looked perplexed. “Oh no! No toe nail files?!?”. It took me 5 minutes to convince a woman that she could use a nail file on her toenails, that nail files and emery boards can be used on finger nails and toe nails. “You promise nothing bad will happen?” she questioned. I assured her it will be fine. …I refrained from calling the authorities.
- A woman asked me if the tweezers I sold were any good. I assured her that they were and that I actually own a pair. She asked me if I could get at those pesky hairs. I let her know that yes, even the shortest of eyebrow hair can be plucked with our tweezers. Then she asked “What about nipple hair?” …sweet baby Jesus, thankfully she didn’t feel the need to show me what she was talking about.
- A woman was looking at our travel size display and sighing. I walked over and asked her if I could help her find something or if she had any questions. “No. I don’t know why I am looking at these. All they do is make me sad knowing I don’t travel.” ….oh my.
- “Hey honey! You got any of those flat irons I could buy? Not for me. For my lady. A man like me don’t need these girly things” – Yep, said to yours truly as he adjusted himself, I shit you not.
- I was asked if it was alright to use a travel size hair dryer at home…you know, because it is meant for travelling. …sigh
- Last but not least…I was asked if shampoo would help hair…down there. (her words, not mine). You see, because it gets dry and itchy – HEY! If I gotta go through it, so do you. I told her it would be best to talk to her doctor about her south of the border issues as I searched for my hand sanitizer
It happened, again. I lost a fabulous rep. She was lovely. She came every 2 weeks. She emailed me the sales flyers before they went to print so I could preplan monthly specials. She sent complimentary products to use in the Salon. She sent products specifically to me to use, knowing that since I do most of the selling, the more product I use, the more I know and in turn, the more I sell. She sent us complimentary retail bags. She shared her knowledge and her stories. Not only did we have a great professional relationship, over the years we became friends. I received a call over 3 weeks ago from the company that she was no longer with the company and that a “suitable replacement” would be visiting me soon. Lets just say, there are some big boots to fill and by first impressions, my hopes have faded a tad.
10 days ago, the replacement rep. – lets call her the R.R. came by the shop, mid afternoon on a Friday. No call to see what day or time works for me. No appointment made. No email of introduction. Not even a tweet. She introduced herself, I the same, exchanged pleasantries and such. I let her know that my old rep. had a standing biweekly Friday at 10 appointment. I asked if that worked for her. She said yes. We decided on a date for our first official appointment, shook hands and said our goodbyes. Fast forward a week. Yours Truly had the order ready. Special customer orders had been added. Clients and customers had been assured an order was being placed that day and by Tuesday afternoon at the latest, as long as the product was in the warehouse, their beloved product would be in their hands. …or so I thought. Yep. You guessed it. Yours Truly was stood up…and you all know how much that thrills me. 10 a.m. came and went. No call. No email. No text. No fax. No tweet. No Facebook message. No Instagram. Not even a snap. Nada. Nothing. Not a word until this morning after I emailed my order and was told that Friday’s don’t work.
I have said it before and will continue to do so. We are in the business of Beauty. The business. When a rep. doesn’t show up for my order that means that my inventory gets too low or worse, my shelves are empty which in turn hurts my reputation and our revenue. Listen, I have been a rep. on the road. I know that you are told that “color accounts are key”. That they are your money maker. I have some news for you. So are retail accounts. When serviced properly and the value of your retail brands explained, retail can increase your commissions just as much as color can. Something many reps and companies seem to forget, or put on the back burner. I can’t help but wonder if I was a color account, would I have been dismissed so easily? Over the years I have brought over $250000.00 – $350000.00 of retail revenue to our shop…you’d think that everyone would want a piece of that pie. It seems not.
A little bit of advice, for reps. and companies alike – your small accounts could become big accounts, if you show up. Plain and simple.
Today’s tale offers yet another glimpse behind the curtain of That Girl in the Red Coat. Those familiar with me and my Salon Tales are well aware of my sass and my firm believe that a little pixie dust goes a long way. That with hard work, kindness and belief in yourself, sooner or later, what you need or desire will most certainly come to pass. Over the past few days, I, as well as many others around the globe, found themselves saying good bye. The world lost a great athlete, humanitarian and human being. I can still remembering asking my father “who’s that?” when I saw Muhammad Ali being sassy with Howard Cosell during an interview on ABC sports. I remember wondering how he could get away with it…and wondering if I could too. Safe to say, Mr. Ali had a fan in me from the start. I loved his sassy quips like “If you even dream of beating me, you’d better wake up and apologize!”, “I’m so mean I make medicine sick” and of course when he went on about how pretty he was. He was pretty.
It wasn’t until I was much older that I learned about all Mr. Ali had won, then lost only to rise once again to the top. How he stayed true to himself and his beliefs, no matter what the cost. He spoke with an educated elegance that resonated in me, and continues to do so. He never gave up. Any time life knocked him down, he got back up. Something I try to do everyday.
Since I was about 12, I have been a collector of quotes. Some funny, some rude, some inspirational. Many of my favorite quotes have been Muhammad Ali’s. I remember when I was pondering starting my blog and later when I was pondering the idea of becoming an Independent Retail Consultant and my fears and doubts crept up… “what if no one reads it?”. “What if no one thinks I am qualified?”. “What if I fall flat on my face?”. Then Mr. Ali’s words popped into my head “It ain’t braggin’ if you can back it up!”. …and he was right. Slowly but surely my fears and doubts faded away because I could back it up. I had the knowledge, the experience and the know how. I also knew when to ask questions, to admit when I did not know something and then learn about it with a vengeance.
In the infamous words of Mr. Ali himself “I hated every minute of training, but I said, don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion”. So here’s the deal Beauties. If you want something, go for it. Believe in yourself and your abilities. Refuse to hear “you can’t do it” and listen for the whispers of “you can do it”. Be patient with yourself. Keep trying. Keep getting up. Always remember, Impossible is nothing.