Over the last 2 weeks, we had our very first work experience intern on board - Luca! The team absolutely loved having Luca on board - his enthusiasm, positive attitude and insight was a very welcome addition. Luca's work experience ran concurrently with our store flooding issues, massive (unexpected) customer influx, and implementation - for the first time ever - of a time - slot system for the store, so we think we have put him through the wringer and back.
In spite of that, Luca has sportingly agreed to do our Q&A session as our first intern, and help us record some of SOKOLLAB history:
1) What kind of areas did you cover over the 2 weeks with SOKOLLAB?
During my two week period I covered most aspects of the retail experience, such as working in store on a typical retail day which involved helping customers or working on the till ranging to the behind the scenes of a typical customer order from the online website and how it is manually processed through to the warehouse for shipping. I was in store from Tuesday to Friday, which meant I also participated in restock days on Thursday, where we get to unpack and rearrange the new albums in store. However my first in store day was quite a unique start, as I helped deal with the aftermath of the flood and the damages it had caused. Therefore, this day was spent doing stock count and sorting through damaged albums/ moving stock around, whilst getting to know the members of staff a lot better.
2) What area did you enjoy the most?
I think the most exciting part for me was definitely Thursdays (restock days), because there was something quite thrilling about the surprise of what new albums we would get to unbox/ see for the first time. You also spend the day surrounded by hundreds of albums from your favourite artists, deciding which way is best to organise them on shelves to be displayed.
On my second Thursday, the restock day was mainly Blackpink albums (in preparation for the Blackpink event weekend) and I got to see their new lightstick in person for the first time which was really fun. I was given the job to then display them on the shelves and the organisation of deciding where everything should go was really enjoyable. It was any blinks' dream, getting the chance to display and appreciate all their albums.
Thursdays were also a more relaxed day spent with the other members of staff, because we had all day to reorganise the shelves, which meant it wasn’t necessary to rush and we were able to take our time.
3) What was the most challenging aspect of your experience?
My most challenging part was probably the Friday of my first week because it was my second retail day, however customers were faced with a queue of 5 hours to get into the store. This was because we had announced there would be select free albums that had been damaged from the flood available, which had caught more people’s attention then expected.
This was very demanding as I was placed on door duty to try and manage the queue, where I was faced with a range of customers and questions, but I tried my hardest to deal with all issues that came my way. However if I ever felt like I was unable to deal with something on my own, the other staff members at the till were happy to help me out in any way they could by either guiding me with how to deal with an issue, or taking it off of my hands completely.
This was extremely helpful and I was very grateful because that day we were all faced with our own issues as no one had expected such an amazing turnout, therefore when the other members of staff still continued to help me anyway it meant a lot.
4) What did you learn from it?
After the first Friday mentioned earlier, for the second week I felt a lot more comfortable in my customer service skills. This is as even though I had only done two retail days in my life, I was able to manage such a range of issues on Friday that I felt I was able to deal with anything thrown my way after that. I was taught to be more confident when talking to others as I was able to manage queues, answer customer questions and make announcements to the entirety of the queue.
I carried this new mindset over to my final week of work experience and went in to store the next Tuesday ready to face anything. Apart from what the Friday in particular taught me, I’ve learnt to manage and work a till in a fast pace, I have learnt how to estimate which stock is necessary to order for two weeks in the future, I also have a better understanding and appreciation for the staff that work behind the scenes for the online store/ how every order must be manually put through and explained to the warehouse.
It's been an amazing learning experience which has really opened my eyes to all aspects of customer service, managing a store and what it takes to run a business behind the scenes.
5) Can you describe your experience in 3 words?
Exciting, unpredictable, fascinating
6) Do you have any advice for anyone else considering retail work experience ?
I think the most important thing to remember is that every day is different and you should expect the unexpected. Speaking from experience, where in just one week I faced a flood on my first in store day and then the busiest retail day at SOKOLLAB ever on the Friday. It was quite a lot to handle at first but I tried going into every day with the mindset that I should be prepared to face anything and try my hardest no matter the circumstance. This made my second week a lot easier to manage because I felt prepared for anything.
Also remember it’s ok to make mistakes as you’re not expected to just know everything, someone will always be there to help you with your issue. Finally, have fun with it because it goes very quickly and a lot of the learning comes from the amazing people you’re surrounded with that make the experience so enjoyable.
If you're interested in a future work experience placement at SOKOLLAB please check for announcements on our Careers page.