Designer Employees ~ Staff as Family

Hiring new staff for my resale shops is an excruciating process for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love talking to interesting and creative, excited women about why they love fashion and why our upscale resale boutique job intrigues them.

Christian Louboutin storefront Paris
NOT Here We Go Again Deluxe Resale Boutique, but almost as cool.

My interviews largely consist of conversations about passions, shopping experiences and designer shoes. (I think that may be redundant.) Because we list our job openings as Boutique Ambassadors at a Designer Consignment Boutique, we generally attract applicants who are opinionated about and seriously into designers and discount designer clothes. It’s pretty much a requirement that our employees love clothes as much as I do, but that’s only the beginning. I know that whoever we hire and invite into the HWGA family will probably be with us for at least a year and usually several.

Inviting customers into my resale shops has always felt like inviting people into my home: Rainbow over Here We Go AgainI want shoppers to feel welcomed, comfortable and if not pampered, then at least catered to. My expectations are high for the way I want HWGA’s customers treated. Additionally, we work closely together as a team. I need to feel confident that each new staffer will slip seamlessly into the group, offering their own special talents to complement others’s strengths. It’s as if I’m choosing a new family member, because I know how much time we’ll spend together. HWGA is the central focus of my life and I’m a bit freakazoid about selecting staff who care as much about the customer experience as I do.

Admittedly, our mission to sell used women’s clothing, designer handbags and shoes seems modest, but not everyone can do it well. And not everyone has the same zeal as I do. Consignment designer handbagsMy expectation is that our shoppers will be treated to the same type of experience and high-level service they’d receive at a full-price specialty boutique or designer shop.  After all, I opened Here We Go Again because I found that kind of experience was lacking – build a better mousetrap, etc. So, while we offer lower prices than new retail boutiques, we strive to offer the same level of service, which can be a difficult combination to achieve.

All of which is just a preface to state how much I like and admire my staff. I spend more time at the shops than I do at home some weeks, and as a team we get very close, learning about each others’ lives, loves, frustrations and joys. We share successes and tears; consoling over losses and congratulating on achievements. I wish I had a better term of endearment than staff. HEART redThey are more to me than employees, they are the core of my business and the difference between the success or failure of Here We Go Again. I’m forever in their debt for what they contribute. Twenty-three years of continued business prosperity? I guess I’m getting something right here! Thank you to all my staff/family!

Author: Chris Gauger

Chris is a self-confessed resale fashionista. A fashion recycler from an early age, she learned the consignment business from her mother, Jan Gauger, at omt divine resale in Lincoln, Nebraska. Chris moved to Portland, Oregon in 1990 and immediately felt at home, among her people. She started Here We Go Again Deluxe Resale Boutique in 1992 and has never looked back. The second location of her store opened in 1997. Chris loves pretty much everything about clothes and fashion, but she has a serious boot and shoe addiction that is fed by the two stores. It's doubtful she will ever be recovered. In addition to clothes, Chris loves mentoring young women and teaching them about what it takes to run and manage a small business. She has employed some pretty remarkable women over the years and is grateful for all they've done to help grow Here We Go Again. She is a Hoosier by birth, but was raised in Nebraska. She has two sisters who continue to run the consignment store there, and one brother who has sense enough to stay out of the way. Her husband of twenty-seven years, is a land use planner and the fix-anything-guru that Chris relies upon more often than she'd like.

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