A long and rambling blog post during the first week of January NOT about resolutions… how different and novel.
Instead, I’ll be wrapping up quite the chunky chapter of my life, my time working at Lorna Jane.
I honestly never expected it to be what it was for me. It was stressful, overwhelming, commercial and demotivating. It was also inspiring, positive, ridiculously entertaining, and a huge jump-off point for me for the future.
I started working at Lorna Jane in Noosa in early 2013, as a casual retail assistant (although my official job title was Sales Gun and Active Stylist – ergh). I had previously been employed by Lorna Jane as a Store Manager when I lived in Brisbane in 2010/11, but left just as I started due to bad timing and other opportunities. When I commenced in 2013, I didn’t want a full-time role, I just wanted to have a little fun, earn a little money (and try not to spend it on work clothes) and spend time thinking about what I *really* want to do, particularly with the blog. (Since my level of blog posting has dropped since working at LJ, we can conclude that it wasn’t the best idea.)
I was employed by a dynamic and inspiring woman, and really enjoyed spending time with my Store Manager. The wonderful 2IC Carmel was (and continues to be) one of my dearest friends, mainly because she’s got a heart of gold, and is the best listener I’ve ever met. I enjoyed my work, I grizzled about the drive (50 minutes each way), and loved the location. Noosa’s Main Beach really is a stunning spot, and being able to connect with visitors from all over the world was the best part of my days. Not too long after I commenced at Lorna Jane, my Store Manager (a woman with fantastic entrepreneurial business interests outside her day job) resigned, and both Carmel and I were temporarily promoted, to Store Manager and 2IC respectively. I remember thinking at the time, is this really what I want? But to retain control of my hours, and continue working at a boutique-style store I loved (instead of being shunted around as a casual to icky shopping centre stores), I rolled with it. I spent hours encouraging the store’s social media following, and helped to really grow the store’s mainly tourist trade into a strong local market.
Spending time snapping pics for social media really was the easiest part of my job, with stunning views like this. (Pic from @livinglovingnoosa Instagram page.)
After a busy 2013/14 Summer, Carmel and I switched roles, and I became the Store Manager of Lorna Jane Noosa with a brilliant team around me, which made everything easier and cruisier. I drove to work 5 days a week to spend long and sunny days with girls who were funny, enthusiastic, and supportive.
My store enjoyed a visit from blogging royalty with The Remarkables came to Noosa.From left: Nikki of Styling You, Chantelle of Fat Mum Slim and bub Luella (who I’d steal if left unattended), Mrs Woog of Woogsworld (hates activewear; and due to my supreme bullying skills, now wears huffy-puffy pants with pride), me (grinning like a Cheshire Cat), and Beth of BabyMac.
As always, circumstances change, and when the great casuals moved on to uni, babies, and other exciting things, Carmel and I were left wondering what was next. As fortuitous fate and excellent circumstance would have it, we worked close to the Witchery store on Hastings St in Noosa, where our lovely friend Bev had worked. (You may know her as the very stylish blogger Iris May Style.) Bev had recently left Witchery to take up a position at a large Country Road store much closer to home (she, like Carmel and I, had been doing a fairly long commute north to Noosa every day), and she offered us the opportunity to apply for roles at her store. While Carmel took her up on this, and is now loving her much healthier work-life balance at Country Road, the timing wasn’t great for me, and I didn’t think that leaving Lorna Jane to stay in retail was really where my heart was directing me.
Work selfies with Lorna looking over my shoulder.
More awkward than you’d expect.
The middle of 2014 was a fairly crappy time for me. I was given a 2IC who was neither supportive nor hard-working, and under-performing casual staff were moved to my store for me to ‘straighten out’, which only had the effect of depressing me and driving loyal customers right out the door.
With the resignation of the 2IC who really didn’t want to be there, sunshine and bloody rainbows turned up with my new Assistant Manager, Nikki. A local girl who’d been away in a mining town and wanted to come home to Noosa, Nikki arrived with a smile on her face and a willingness to work, and OHMYGAWD that’s exactly I needed. The news that I’d be getting another store on Hastings St (not moving stores, mind you… getting another store) was mildly scary and quite exciting at the same time. For those not in the activewear scene, Lorna Jane also designs a smaller high-end range called Uniquely Lorna Jane, which is a fairly exclusive sports-luxe collection. This range is only available online and in a handful of stores across the country, and I was to be getting one of these stores. For at least 6 months, I’d no longer be a Store Manager, I’d be a Cluster Manager. Excellent.
Nikki and I celebrating our gorgeous new store,
just one moment before we opened for business!
Nikki and I were surrounded for the most part by exceptional and adorable casuals, ranging in age from 17 to 50, and I was enjoying every part of the craziness that was the preparation and opening of the new store, while trying not to let the existing store become a big ol’ mess. (I kinda failed. The stockroom = organisational disaster). Seeing me running down Hastings Street, a stack of LJ thrown over my shoulder, while I dragged a huge rail of stock between the two stores became quite a common Noosa sight.
I always knew that another Christmas in retail would be beyond shitty for me. My husband often travels for his business, and knowing that he would definitely be enjoying time off at home over Christmas while I worked every damn day would drive me mental. (As well as giving him the grumps too… with me coming home exhausted and demanding dinner every night.) Carmel was loving working with Bev, and I was occasionally talking about doing something a little more, well… me.
You see, I’m not a regular ol’ Lorna Jane girl. Unlike my best friend Peta, I can’t bear the gym. I don’t love to sweat, and I’ll take the snooze button over a workout every damn time. The problem was, I was feeling beyond crap at even having this mindset, because I was surrounded by the bounciest, most energetic souls I’ve ever met. And I can’t even blame them – I was the one who found and hired them!
So, and yes, I really should cut this long story shorter… I resigned. I resigned to take a big chance, and step away from a regular (although obviously crappy because RETAIL) wage, and bounce out into the world doing stuff I love.
Strangely, it was Bev of Iris May Style (who stole my Carmel) who kickstarted my new venture and moved me on from Lorna Jane. (Let’s not let Lorna Jane know, they may ban her from ever speaking to another LJ employee!) Bev got me talking to a wonderfully influential woman in the health and wellness field, and I am moving forward in a role with her, looking after her sales, social media and admin requirements… and I’M THRILLED! I’m actually working for myself instead of as an employee, and the lack of job security is terrifying (yes, I’m a sooky Cancerian, what of it) but exhilarating at the same time.
I’ve counselled with my wonderfully-supportive husband, and also a few friends (including Peta, Bev and Carmel), and everyone was telling me to just do it. Take a chance, try something new, learn on the run, make mistakes, and have fun. It was time to take that big leap.
Bikinis, coffee & good company.This is seriously how Team Vitality celebrated our Christmas and end-of-year signoff – a dip in the surf, then coffee delivered to the tidal lagoon at Marcoola.(Pic from @nfogdenmoore Instagram page.)
I’m still not really able to verbalise what it is that I’ll be doing, there are so many possible projects flying up in the air at the moment, but if you head over to The Vitality Coach and have a wee squiz around, you’ll be as excited as I am! (And if you have time, check out some of her podcasts… PERFECT for getting your head around your New Year resolutions, and preparing an excellent mindset for 2015.)
There you have it. I guess it does all come back to a New Year situation, anyway. 2015 really will be incredible, not just for me, but for everyone who’s taking some chances and trying new things.
What has been the biggest leap of your life so far?
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