Business regardless of what type, will always be fueled by having the right people on the team. The biggest challenge many people face is where to find them. With the accelerated growth that the pet industry has enjoyed, luxury products for pets will propel the business to the next level. But once the products are in the store, it takes a talented team of people to understand how to sell the products to a high end client. The biggest challenge that many face is making sure that the team can relate to a luxury product.
The luxury customer expects to meet sales associates that are knowledgeable about the product and above all understands the client and how to cater to them. In business, there will always be tough decisions. No question that assessing your team is one of the toughest challenges when changes have to be made because of the direction that you are moving into.
Many business owners with pet boutiques are constantly challenged to find quality individuals that can assimilate into a pets business that is targeted to a luxury customer. In the luxury business, the relationship with the clients, the building of the relationships and referrels from clients will grow the business. A few things to note when staffing your store will make all the difference when running your business for profit.
1. Building your team will be inclusive of ensuring that the right personality and profile meet with the changing culture within your store. Interviews by other members of the team will help to determine if the potential candidate is a fit.
2. Your business is evolving into a luxury environment and you need to upgrade your staff. How do you do this? First look within your team and ensure that each one of them shares the same passion for the business that you do. Difficult to do? No. The leader always sets the example and passion, energy and commitment to the overall goal is contagious. If members of the team do not share the same passion, then they are working for the wrong store. Always remember, that the longer you wait to make the change, the more missed revenue you are missing. Does the image of your team attract high end clients?
3. Once you have assessed your team, train them. Bring in the vendors who always give great presentations because of their passion to host a morning meeting or give a product seminar. Knowledge is power and knowledge breeds confidence. Make the meeting fun. Treat your team as you expect them to treat the client. Bring in breakfast on a silver platter, serve them with a cocktail napkin under their coffee or juice. Set the example and they in turn will set the example for the client.
4. If you have determined a change may need to be made, hiring additional members of the team will be your number one priority. Where do you find them? Everywhere. If you are in business, looking for quality people is a 24/7 job. Even when you are fully staffed. Remember that each member of your team should always carry their business cards as often times they can be your biggest ambassadors to finding the right people. If you are moving into the luxury arena, then it becomes even more important to go after people that are currently working in the luxury sector.
5. Great people to hire are everywhere you just have to look and be aware at all times. People who are currently working in cosmetics, luxury boutiques, upscale department stores, etc. are excellent contacts because they already understand what it takes in working with a high end client. People that are working at 4 and 5 star hotels are excellent candidates to speak to. Sometimes, the best people to hire are the ones who may not have the most experience, but they look the part, understand the luxury client because maybe they are one, are passionate about the business and can cultivate clients. Networking should be a constant practice.
6. Be confident when you are out recruiting. After all, you have taken the big leap to start your own business and do what you love and are passionate about. People respect that and look up to people such as yourself. Often times, clients are great resources to tap into and get a referral as they understand what the business needs and what they want.
7. When you hire great people, they in turn attract great people because you have provided a fun and uplifting environment to work in.
8. Above all, always remember that the person that joins the team could also be the one that helps to train and elevate your team. Meaning that if she has a client following already, that means that he/she knows and understands how to cultivate relationships, how to clientele, how to take care of the client which sometimes may mean delivering to their home or hotel.
Where ever you are, remember that how you look, how you dress and how you carry yourself are important to attracting potential candidates. When you speak to people always ensure that you speak about your business with excitement and enthusiasm. Remember. . . . . . . it is contagious. In life, people want to be a part of something great. That's what you have to offer. More importantly, people who love animals want to work in environments where they can work with other like minded people. Above all, remember that your team is YOU.
Hedy Woodrow is the CEO of Designer Paws International. Designer Paws specializes in luxury pet carriers that look like handbags and are fashionable. The products are made of the finest Italian leather and hardware. Quality and workmanship of her products are a priority. Prior to starting Designer Paws, Hedy spent 20 years in the luxury fashion business as a Senior Vice President of Retail for a major luxury brand. Her broad retail experience included sales, marketing and advertising, working with buyers, visual teams and planners. She has traveled extensively throughout the US and Europe attending high profile celebrity events that have given her exposure to a very high end client. Her insights come from personal experience both as a leader in the fashion industry and as a client. Her website at http://www.designerpaws.com features luxury products that are unique to the pet industry.