I know exactly where I was on November 29th 2004 – I suspect you probably don’t!
I know this because it was the release date for Band Aid 20 and I was running a store for HMV in London. I suspect most other current and former HMV employees will also remember as it’s one of those ‘once a decade’ releases you don’t forget in the entertainment industry.
At various times of the year and on key dates I can’t help but reminisce about my time in retail – about what I enjoyed and perhaps more importantly, what I learnt at the time. I spent close to ten years in retail which is a shade longer than I have been in recruitment and so I still tend to think of myself as a Retailer first and foremost.
Consequently, when key dates come around I can’t help but think about the fun times and as I say, what I learnt from the experience. Big product releases always created a great buzz in store and at Head Office. There was always a palpable sense of excitement both from the customers as well as the staff. I particularly enjoyed the buying element (we bought 70% of the stock at store level) and really driving specific products. When Band Aid came out my team really got behind the release and they felt like they were giving something back every time they sold a single. It really brought the team together and if I remember correctly, they sold around 10,000 units in the first week. At the time it was an extraordinary achievement given that most singles were selling a couple of hundred at best (that was when the physical music market was really starting to tank). It really brought the team together too and gave a lot of people a sense of self-belief, in that if they really bought in to something (in this case it had a charitable basis), they could over-achieve and significantly outperform our peer group. As we know in life, success breeds success.
I have a great job now but I don’t mind admitting that I miss the buzz of retail. If you have spoken to me before you’ll have sensed that. Retail is a fantastic industry and while it is a tough job I’m sure you will agree with me that it is highly rewarding.
This coming Saturday used to be the first really big one in the lead up to Christmas when I was at HMV and generally signalled 6 weeks of utter carnage!
For those of you in Retail, good luck!