Beauty, health and wellness, lifestyle, That girl in the red coat, writing

It’s been a time

Here we are. March 22, 2020. I work in the Ladies department at a local shoe store. The shop finally made the decision to close up shop last Thursday evening. Let me tell you, it felt like 20 pounds had been lifted off my shoulders. I don’t think I’ve meditated or gotten “right with Jesus” so much in my life as I did everyday last week. Every morning I would be getting ready to go to work with a sense of dread… not the usual retail job dread. Trying to quiet my mind from all the what if’s, what’s happening, it is safe questions swirling around in my head. I cannot even begin to imagine how all our beloved health care workers are feeling. My hat goes off to them and my heart goes out to them.

Many people are abiding by the new social rule of social distancing, self isolating and such… and many, I am sorry to say are not. This past week, with every world leader (except for Mr. Trump… yes, I said Mr., the buffoon has not earned the title of President… don’t get me started), radio station, television network and social media site declaring the rise of Coronavirus and what to do to decrease the impact and flatten the curve, there are still people out there that just don’t get it. Here are just a few things I personally heard and saw this past week;

  • Families with babies that aren’t even walking yet coming in to look at shoes.
  • People bringing their elderly parents, that have oxygen tanks in tow, in to shop for shoes.
  • People walking right past our sanitizing station.
  • Lady comes into the store. There are literally no customers, just her. I ask if she needs some help. “No. I was told to work from home, but I got bored so I thought I’d look at shoes.”.
  • Lady comes into the store, carrying her dog. Walks through the entire store, touching everything in her path. We ask if she needs help to which she tell us “Nope. Just looking. Just got off a plane from out West. I showered though, so it’s all good.”
  • A couple comes in looking for men’s sandals. They ask if this is all we have. I tell them “Yes. We will have more in April. We are closing until March 31st. to help flatten the curve.”. “Oh, well that’s good” the lady says. “If more people stayed home, the virus would get under control.”.  … lady…you are out of your house.
  • A lady came in the store, freshly tanned bragging about her trip that she just returned from. My coworker stood 6 feet from her and the lady laughed at her, going on about “are you doing what the news is telling you to do?”
  • A father and daughter… I think it was his daughter, came in looking for tall black boots… I hope it was his daughter. I passed them the boots then stood back. They asked how late we were open, and I told them our usual time that we close then added “it could change at anytime because of what’s going on.”. The Dad… I really hope it was the Dad, looks at me and laughs “I don’t get what the big deal is. I’m a nurse and I’m not worried. Everyone needs to calm down.” …sigh
  • A woman and her daughter came in to “look around”. I didn’t have the size she was looking for. She said she was going to go to the mall. I let her know all the stores in the Mall are closed until at least March 31st. Her exact words “Really? How come?”. I shit you not people. I had to explain about the closures to non essential services…then had to explain what non essential services meant.

I have also witnessed many acts of kindness and courtesy. Customers keeping their distance, telling me they can help themselves. Customers asking if I was alright and if my family was alright. Customers thanking us for putting a shoe aside for them to pick up and go. Maintenance workers thanking us for getting them the proper safety footwear. Nurses thanking us for helping them get new footwear. I even had a customer ask if I had my own hand sanitizer.

 

These days we wake up each morning to new stats, new “how to’s”, new rules. We may not be able to control much these days, but we can control ourselves. Our actions, our reactions, how we treat one another. Check on your neighbours. Check on your friends wherever they may be around the globe. Shoot them a text. Your phone does more than host your apps and filter your pics, it actually is a telephone. Once and a while, call someone. Let them hear a voice other than their own. If you hoarded toilet paper, redeem yourself and give out some rolls to the people in your building or on your street. Donate food to the food bank. Wash your damn hands. Take a breath.

Be kind. Be compassionate. Plain and Simple.

Beauty, health and wellness, lifestyle, That girl in the red coat, Women, writing

2020 Vision

Here we are. The first day of a new year and a new decade. Every time I scroll through Instagram, Facebook or Twitter I see post after post of the decade challenge, descriptions and memories of the past ten years. Achievements, celebrations, life changing moments, you name it, it’s been posted. Few posts celebrate the lows, the struggles, the set backs.

Over the past week, all I could think about was writing again. All I could think about was how I started this blog, all that had transpired in my life, professionally and personally that steered me away from writing. No matter how hard I tried to place blame on any and all events, I came to one irrefutable truth. I was the reason I wasn’t following my gut, my passion, my calling…name it what you will, it was me and me alone that allowed my circumstances to control my life, my actions or lack there of.

I look back on myself and my life 10 years ago. It began selling shoes, missing the beauty industry I adored and the shop I had run for many years. Then the powers that be gave me an opportunity and I grabbed it! Managing the Salon/Shop I adored. Soon after, I began my blog and opportunity after opportunity came my way. Writing for beauty sites and online magazines, consulting Salons on how to improve their retail presence and sales. Being invited to Beauty industry galas. Things kept falling into my lap. Sadly, in 2016, the shop closed. I tried to keep writing, but the fire within was slowly growing dim. A dear friend of mine had a cheese shop and she was looking for some help over the lunch hours. I thought it would be fun, so I said yes. 15 hours a week turned into 40 and I was enjoying it. Learning new things, helping increase the retail presence and forging relationships with the regulars. Yet I was still longing for something. I felt like the world was spinning around me and I was standing still. Sadly, the shop closed. I took a few months off from working. My husband has supported my writing and my drive from the start. He said “take this time to focus on your blog, your consulting, whatever it is you want.”. I found myself staring at my computer, re posting old blogs. I had no idea which road to take. Do I continue to consult? Do I continue to write about Beauty? Do I continue to review products? Do I write about parenting? Do I write about lifestyle? Do I write about kindness? Do I write about how not to be an asshole? …. exhausting reading this huh? Try thinking it all…the…time.  All the while having real life staring me in the face. Husband having a heart attack in 2012 at 39. Father having a heart attack a week later. ( I told them both to stop competing for my attention). My lovely, beautiful, intelligent daughter struggling with mental health issues and trying to get her the help she needed. Be a good wife. Be a good daughter. Be a good Mother. Laundry to be done, child to raise, marriage to keep intact, pay the bills, get the groceries. …this is how I know there is a higher power…god, the universe, the smurfs, whatever you call it, it’s real. I know it’s real because I firmly believe that is how I got through this past decade. There was many a morning I did not want to get out of bed, many a day I did not want to leave the house, but something helped me. Something got me moving, and I may think I’m all that, but even I’m not that good.

Even though I had the support of my family to focus on me, there were bills to be paid. My old employer at the shoe store heard I was free and offered me a job. Whatever hours or days I could give. So here I am, 10 years later, back where I started from. Funny thing, most people find that sad. I get many a “Oh…so you’re back there again huh?” comments. To be honest, I felt the same way for the first few months. Once again, a higher power knew what I did not. That this is exactly where I was and am supposed to be right now. My life for the last 18 months was turned upside down and all around. … a tale for another time.  Being back at this job allowed me to change my day off at a moments notice. Being able to tell my boss “I gotta go” in the middle of a shift and him responding “Do what you gotta do, see you tomorrow.”. It also gave me the time for me. I had time to read, to educate myself, to take a hard look at my life and my responsibilities. To take a hard look at myself, to be accountable about my part in how my life was going, professionally and personally, to own my shit if you will. I may physically be back where I started, emotionally and mentally, far from it.

I have no idea where my feet will land next. I do know this. It is up to me and me alone to decide. To do the work. To put forth the intentions AND the effort. No one, I mean no one is going to do it for me, nor is it anyone’s fault I am unfulfilled but my own. It is up to you and you alone to fill your cup, and today, it may just be a small drop, but my cup is beginning to fill.

 

Beauty, Hair Care, That girl in the red coat, Women

Brushes! Flat Irons! Blow Dryers! Oh My!

This month marks 3 years since the Salon/retail shop closed. Even though 3 years have passed, everyday I am asked about hair products. At the grocery store, in line at the bank, even at work, from coworkers and customers alike. Sure, I live in a relatively small town, 150000 people…in comparison to Toronto…it’s small, so it’s not a big surprise that the shop’s old clients & customers run into me from time to time. What is surprising is the lack of product knowledge and advice being given by their stylists. At least once a week I am approached by a woman asking about a product, how to use a product or where to purchase a product. Most of these women are at a loss because their stylist told them, I hope you are sitting down, to go to the drug store and grab shampoo or hairspray off the shelf. We all know my opinion on that. For a reminder;

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2016/01/26/yes-there-is-time-for-that/

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2012/08/15/if-you-dont-wanna-play-get-off-the-field/

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2016/07/05/hair-surance/

 

Since it’s Thursday morning on my corner of the globe, I thought I would give you all some Throwback Thursday Tales about brushes, flat irons and blow dryers. A “what’s what” if you will. Feel free to share.

The Wet Brush = life changing!

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2015/07/20/monday-motivator-the-wet-brush/

 

A breakdown of blow dryer motors, wattage and more

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2013/03/18/blow-out/

 

There are many flat irons on the market – these 3 brands will give you what you are looking for and if you want to try a new brand, at least you’ll have the knowledge of the desired features.

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2012/07/11/would-a-flat-iron-by-any-other-name-still-be-as-good/

 

For more great hair tips, just enter any key word, such as hairspray in my “What can I help you find?” search bar, up on the right hand corner of my blog, hit enter, and read away!

 

 

 

Beauty, health and wellness, That girl in the red coat, Women

A different kind of Monday Motivator

It’s Monday once again. It’s December 17th and holiday preparations are in full swing. School pageants, church socials, pop up Christmas markets, holiday open houses, tinsel and Christmas lights as far as the eye can see. …oh, and my favorite of all…holiday retail hours. Yours truly is working 8 out of the next 9 days. Perks of being a strong salesperson I guess. For many of us, the two weeks before Christmas can be exhausting for we have our own life and family responsibilities on top of all the other responsibilities and to do lists that accompany this time of year.

Usually my Monday Motivator’s are to cure your hair woes and ensure a good hair day on Monday and everyday. Today is to bring a smile to your face, some warmth to cure your soul and add some joy to your day. I have compiled my most popular holiday posts and “Tales of Truth” for you all.

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2013/12/16/christmas-presence/

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2016/12/20/its-the-little-things/

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2015/12/14/tales-of-truth-the-holiday-editions-2/

 

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2012/11/25/the-emily-post-of-holiday-retail/

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2012/12/08/tales-of-truth-the-christmas-chronicles/

 

Be happy. Take a breath. Take five minutes for yourself, to sip a hot tea, a crisp chardonnay, savor a Christmas cookie, text your friend a funny holiday meme, share this blog. Add some joy to your day and that joy will spread.

 

 

 

Business, That girl in the red coat

First Impressions

Yours truly has been in the customer service/sales biz for over 30 years. I have sold everything from luxury cars to hairspray, shoes to gourmet food items. Training, product knowledge, product testing, having the right person for the job, having a strong sales team and a firm yet fair management team are vital to any business’s success. All of the above factor into the image you want your business to convey, be it a car dealership, a shoe store or a Salon. Dress codes are put into place, policies and procedures are followed to convey knowledge and professionalism to the customers and clients. The proper lighting, shelving and product placement are mulled over until they are just right. Phone scripts are followed for consistency. The list is endless.

A few weeks ago I was contacted asking for my opinion on an Infographic. It was an Infographic on “curb appeal”. When we hear the term curb appeal we automatically think of selling houses. Graphic House Inc. , http://www.graphichouse.com gave yours truly a light bulb moment. Curb appeal has a huge impact on businesses as well. Business owners spend thousands of dollars on their image, their social media presence, their products and their store layout yet many times their outside image falls to the way side. Think of it this way, if your business looks disheveled from the outside, more often than not, the customer will assume the inside of your business is the same, if not worse and will not come in.

To give you a how to if you will, here is the link from Graphic House Inc. I was telling you about;

https://www.graphichouseinc.com/blog/how-to-improve-your-businesss-curb-appeal/

I have personally washed windows in 4 inch heels while managing a Salon. I have swept more front stoops than I care to remember. I have picked up trash that was not mine because it was in front of the shop. I have spoken with landlords about painting parking spaces for wheelchair accessibility. I have watered plants and planted greenery to make shops more welcoming. It takes a few moments of everyday to keep it clean and appealing. A fresh coat of paint may cost you a few hundred dollars. Trust me, invest a little and your sales will follow. A little bit of effort goes a long way. The more appealing your business looks from the outside, curiosity will spark and more people will want to see what’s going on inside.

 

Business, communication, lifestyle, That girl in the red coat

… oh the things I hear

As you know, I have been in the retail/customer service biz for over 30 years now. Yep. 30 years. From running the first central dispatch for Pizza Hut Canada back in the 90’s, to selling everything from hairspray, shoes and luxury vehicles. Over the decades, there has always been one commonality. The strange, the rude and the down right odd things people say to salespeople. In sharing these zingers, my hope is to bring a smile to your face and if you happen to know anyone who behaves/speaks like this, maybe together we can help them. …and yes, I am sorry to say, the following have been said to me. I constantly have to remind myself “do not show it on your face”. I can’t make this shit up.

  • “Will this boot shrink?” – a woman asked me if the Hunter rubber boot she was trying on would shrink in size. I asked her if she meant would it stretch. Nope. Her concern was it would shrink.

 

  • “This sandal is too big…look how much my foot moves!” …she was trying on a flip flop.

 

  • “How am I supposed to hold the hairspray?” …the can stated it was “hard to hold”. …psst…that means the hold factor of the spray itself.

 

  • “If I never use the back seat why do I have to get a 4 door car?”. I let the gentleman know we offered a 2 door sedan. “Oh, 2 doors won’t do.”. …sigh

 

  • A couple did not think it was fair that they couldn’t get approved for a car loan. We explained that they hadn’t paid their phone/cable bill in 9 months to which they said “well, they changed our plan and we didn’t like it so we won’t pay until we get what we want!”. …FYI – that’s not how that works. If you don’t pay your bills, your credit rating plunges and lenders aren’t a fan of bad credit.

 

  • “I need a shoe that fits my Orthotics.” I asked her if she had them with her. “Oh no, I never wear them.”.

 

  • “These are men’s shoes! There is an “M” on the box!” …we were in the ladies section. FYI – an “M” = medium width. A “W” = wide width.

 

  • “Can you tell me where my toe is?” … a woman trying on a 4 inch pointed toe stiletto heel.

 

  • “Is there enough room in this shoe for growing room?” … a question posed to yours truly from a woman in her 40’s. I let her know that her feet have probably stopped growing to which she said “Yeah, but what if I gain weight?”.

 

  • “Are these slippers slippery?”

 

  • A woman came in looking for winter boots. She picked up a pair and asked if they were winter boots. I let her know that although there was fur inside the boot it was a fashion boot. It had no thermal grading and was not waterproof or water resistant. I was told I didn’t know what I was talking about because “anything with fur is for winter.”.

I could go on, but I would get carpel tunnel, so I shall save more for later. Enjoy the giggles Beauties.

Beauty, Business, Hair Care, That girl in the red coat

VIP Treatment 2018

Usually once Monday rolls around, it is met with sighs or groans, cozy in our beds not wanting to face another Monday. Thanks to the Beauties at Venus Beauty Supplies this Girl in the Red Coat jumped out of bed before her alarm. This past Monday, October 15th., I knew there was a ticket waiting at the door at the Sheraton On The Falls that would allow me to experience another fantastic VIP event put together by none other than Venus Beauty Supplies.

       

 

 

This hair show is not your run of the mill hair show. It is filled with education, one on one consultations, brand ambassadors, complimentary products and more. It is a 2 day event, with the option to attend the gala on the Sunday evening and the show on Monday, or to attend the show on the Monday to accommodate any schedule. Venus takes it upon themselves to book hotels rooms at a special price ahead of time for those who decide to make it a weekend in Niagara Falls. Everything is taken care of, event info., accommodations and directions, all you need to do is show up. Quite a lovely aspect, and certainly not the norm. Upon arrival, you are given a “passport”. This enables you to visit all the brand booths, find out about their products, get your passport stamped and on your way out, with your passport fully stamped you receive a FABULOUS swag bag valued over $150.00 with goodies from all the brands you just visited.

The brands in attendance this year were;

  • AG Hair
  • Alterna HairCare
  • Schwarzkopf Professional
  • FRAMAR
  • Elchim
  • UNITE
  • Revlon Professional
  • REUZEL
  • Moroccanoil
  • Y.S./PARK
  • WAHL
  • Peter Coppola
  • KASHO
  • COLOR WOW
  • Uans
  • DannyCo

…and let me tell you, I was quite impressed. Any question I had was answered on the spot. It was so refreshing to meet people that knew their stuff, that had an understanding of their product and were able to explain any question or misinterpretation of their products.

Did you know? Unite’s Doggy’Poo pet shampoo gives all their proceeds to local charities, for people and pets alike.

Y.S./PARK Combs are stain resistant AND heat resistant! Every comb is created with little holes along the ridge – these are meant as measuring tools for the stylist and for the client. You are able to show your client exactly how much hair will be trimmed or cut. PSSST…their parting comb is amazing!

Peter Coppola has revamped their line and their packaging. A clean, crisp scent accompanied by clean, crisp packaging. This line is a beauty, their products for smoothing are outstanding!

You all know that yours truly is a fan of The Wet Brush. The beauties at FRAMAR have created their own detangling brush. The colors are bright and cheery, the brush is very light to hold, the handle is a little slimmer and longer and the head of the brush is a little wider which means more bristles to detangle. It works.

RUEZEL offered all day cutting techniques and product how to’s. This brand is a MUST for any barber, or Salon that offers barbering. Created for the gents, from packaging to scent.

The Beauties at Revlon Professional offered an interactive booth that allowed you to swipe a screen to educate yourself on all or any of the products they offer – which product was best for your hair type or hair woe. The Beauties at the booth offered their own swag bag and I was fortunate to be given one. Filled with samples of styling products, treatments and color. DID YOU KNOW? – Revlon Professional owns and creates their own color. They are not under the umbrella of any other beauty company, one of the reasons their color stands out and stands on it’s own two feet.

Venus Beauty Supplies has their VIP event every year, in different cities throughout the year. This is an event that you want added to your calendar. Visit Venus Beauty Supplies on their website for details on all their upcoming events and promotions and for a list of their sales team to find out who is in your city.

http://www.venusbeauty.com

I have been a client of Venus Beauty Supplies, and have worked with their reps for over 12 years, and when you are a client of theirs, you receive the VIP treatment everyday.