Retail – what a wonderful world

Brumbys-Underwood_Customers-o-300x200I must admit to a cloaked smile when acquaintances learn I have a partner and three kids in the world of retail. We’re a family of retailers, one might say. Their expletives range from utter shock to looks of awe and disbelief. Few have an understanding as to what retailing is, and even less of an idea why we do it.

So what is it all about?

First-up there is the vision of a cheerful consumer in harmony with the musical bleep of the ceaseless checkout. Unsurpassed because it affirms a successful transaction with the promise it will lead to another – the very reason for our existence.

Next is the contentment of exceeding customer expectations. So much attention is directed here, yet for the simplest of reasons, few accomplish it. The culprit is a team member’s mindset that inhibits interaction with the customer at the prospect of being interrupted through excessive workload (perceived or otherwise). The others are poor housekeeping and a drudgery of ambience, range and marketing.

Then there is the exquisite theatrics of planning and delivering seasonal events – culminating in the alchemy of Christmas. A three-month extravaganza demanding every ounce of resolve plus a fair amount of blood, sweat and tears. All justified in the unbounded joy and gratification of improved outcome.

Never forgetting the satisfaction and reward in developing an enlightened team. A squad engaged through clear communication, inspirational leadership and an encouraging work-smart have-fun savoir-faire. This facet is increasingly more important as the synergy of generations X, Y and Z come into play.

Retail indulges those with artistic tendencies, but also gratifies scientific bias, introducing a seamless entrepreneurial and corporate predisposition towards the same goal.

The secret is in finding the ‘right’ retailer who resonates with your personality, as every outlet has its own culture and unwritten ground rules (UGRs). Selecting an outlet you relate to as a customer gives you the edge to harness your passion, enabling growth within the embrace of a meaningful environment. Resist the seduction of those who promise the earth, yet fail to deliver on key facets of their business.

There are many disciplines beyond the mercurial shop floor for those personalities disinclined to the razzmatazz and drama of modern retail. No two days are ever the same, and it’s certainly not for the fainthearted. It is, however, guaranteed to offer an electrifying career that will take you anywhere in the world to ply the finest of all the trades.

Dave Farrell is a retailer with three decades of experience on three continents. He can be reached at




  1. Stephen Feldon posted on April 18, 2016

    What a great article Dave, thanks! As you said so many of our acquaintances just don't get what it is that we find so engaging. Trying to quantify the facets that make retail an invigorating industry for the onlooker is difficult, but you've started to map that out well. Thanks again.

  2. Dave Farrell posted on April 18, 2016

    Cheers Stephen much appreciated. A sophisticated environment requiring fortitude, interpretation, art, science and never the forgetting the all important ''gut feel '' which distinguishes average from the best.

  3. Jeanne posted on April 18, 2016

    Well written. Can feel the passion.

  4. Tobias posted on April 18, 2016

    Amen. A career to be proud of.

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