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How does an SA afford to wear expensive retail clothes?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Edge89, Oct 22, 2011.

  1. SpooPoker

    SpooPoker Internet Bigtimer and Most Popular Man on Campus Dubiously Honored Affiliate Vendor

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    I love reading that, looking at your avatar. Reading that, looking at your avatar. :lol:
     
  2. forex

    forex Senior member

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    I've seen the tax return of an SA who works at JAB,makes more than 100K.
     
  3. bourbonbasted

    bourbonbasted Senior member

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    I dated a few girls who worked retail and worked around the following employee discount policies:

    J Crew: Every item is 30-40% off for employees. About every month they put out an employee list of items that can be had at a deeper discount. I have been "gifted" stuff from J Crew for up to 90% off retail. It's almost a joke.

    Louis Vuitton: All employees are given two "work outfits" when they start (suits for guys and dresses for girls). In terms of a discount employees have access to a company-wide list of products that have been discontinued or refurbished. Basically people buy stuff, find a fault with it and are given a replacement. The "defective" product is then restored in their factories and put on the list. Clothes and accessories like ties are put on this list as their season passes. You have to apply for the item and if an item is especially hot they do a lottery-like system for it. Generally discounts are around 70% but this varies on the product. I don't think there is a limit to how many items you can buy.

    Neiman Marcus: Employees generally enjoy 70% off of items store-wide. Extremely luxurious things (think Kiton or Tom Ford) are excluded a lot of times and NM is RUTHLESS in ensuring that the items bought are for the SA and not "gifts". If they even sense you are giving the item to someone that's not in your immediate family, etc they will pretty much fire you on the spot. Their purchases are limited to x-amount per month and that system depends on how long you've worked there, your commissions, etc, etc.

    This is what I remember, though it's been a while since my SA phase. I generally met them at the store or was set up with them by another SA so I was always half-using them for a discount :devil:. Sweet girls, all of them, however.
     
  4. tacobender

    tacobender Senior member

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    I'm a wacky a dresser in the world of retail, it has of course benefited me quite a bit as people end up describing me to their friends "go see the guy who dresses like Austin Powers" are my favorite referrals. I'm usually in etro, paul smith, or something else crazy....as for the avatar, good ole mustard man isn't going anywhere!
     
  5. CYstyle

    CYstyle Senior member

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    It's usually either a) on a full commission-draw structure, or b) hourly plus small commision structure either % or incentive based. on commission draw which is more common, especially in stores with high traffic: some operate on flat % on all sales, usually it's between 7-10% of net sales mind you (sales - returns). For example at BB it's 7% flat for each associate, then when the store meets it's goal, the associates get bumped to 10% until the end of the quarter. Similarly at Nordstrom for example, each department has it's commission rate, clothing is usually lower, and womens shoes are at a higher 10%. Selling a women's shoe you would get 10% on the shoe sale, ~8% on the men's shoe etc. Top sales people get bumps in commission. Draw's an advance on your salary when you don't make your goals. For example if your draw rate is $12/hour, and you work 40 hours. and you make 7% commission on sales, you'd need to sell at least $6857 to just cover draw. Let's assume you get paid weekly. if you sell under your draw rate for example you only sold 3k net last week. You'd get a full paycheck of 40hours x 12$, but you'd be $4857 in the hole, so you would need to catch up in the following weeks. Employees who don't make draw though are usually let go pretty quickly. b) At some lower traffic stores, for example some watch jewlery stores etc, you are usually paid hourly like $13/hour, then a small % commission like 1-3% similarly some SA's make their hourly rate, and instead of straight commission, if they sell X amount of $ then they get an incentive payout of $x If you are in a good location, and you make a career out of it, it's pretty easy to make some good $$. Or doing it as a gig to get through college, the holidays are sweet. Mediocre SA's generally make around 40-60k. Top 10% SA earn 70-120k$, top 1% 200k+ Terrible SA's make about 25-35k until they get fired.
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. stevent

    stevent Senior member

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    When was this? Had a few friends who worked last summer and the discount was only 50% off 5 items a month?
     
  7. phoenixrecon

    phoenixrecon Senior member

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    This is off by a bit.
     
  8. brokencycle

    brokencycle Senior member

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    No this is BS. I worked at JAB in college. I was the highest payed associate (not the manager/department manager/assistant manager) because the rest of the regular associates are morons at best. I got payed $7.25/hr OR 6% commission whichever was better. My average weekly check was like $100 after taxes. I was working part-time, but I know the manager only made like $50k. Managers got like a base of $40k + commission. Also, the discount was the worst ever. 50% most things (40% off some). It didn't stack with sales.... so it was less than useless.
     
  9. CYstyle

    CYstyle Senior member

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    higher or lower? what would your experience be?
     
  10. oshinex

    oshinex Senior member

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    I know for a fact for Tom Ford, they get their uniform suits free of charge. They also get different suits based on their positions in the store.
     
  11. ruben

    ruben Senior member

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    I often wondered about stuff like this, how some of those young guys who work at Polo can afford their Black Label suits.

    A girl I knew in high school worked at Hollister. If I remember right, as a way of making sure only certain sized girls worked ther they gave their employee discounts only on certain sizes of clothes.

    I still don't really understand the commission system, but it'd make sense that a good SA should do well for themselves.
    A couple of the SAs at J.Press once mentioned to me that they lived on the upper east side, which kinda surprised me at the time.
     
  12. Jeff10236

    Jeff10236 Member

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    Quite a bit of (in some cases contradictory) info has already been given out. Here is my experience (though it is old since I've been out of retail and sales for a decade now).

    Discount rates vary from store to store. Most of my experience was mainly with department stores where it is typically about 20% (we got the discount on sales and clearance items, and when there was a good sale, plus a coupon sale, and our discount, it could be a nice discount sometimes).

    The OP seems to assume that all retail sales associates make very little. Now it is true that many retail jobs suck, some pay pretty decently. It is all over the board, but I would assume that at higher end retailers (where it is usually a commission based pay structure and high dollar items) that pay is pretty good.

    Today, most retail is a straight (and low) hourly rate, but that isn't always the case. In the early 90's when I worked at Macy's many still paid almost everyone on commission. At a good location, you can make good money selling retail on commission. I found Macy's to be a pretty comfortable existence for a 22 year old young man (I shouldn't have left when I did, but I wanted to try something else and left retail). When I worked at Hechts (local DC/Baltimore area store that was bought out by Macys a few years back) the sales associates were hourly but some departments were commission. I know many of the salespeople in the men's suits department made quite a bit, often more than their managers. A few years after I left my sales job there I went back to another Hechts store as a manager. One of the store managers at the store where I worked a few years earlier when I was a sales associate worked at my new store as a salesperson in the men's suit department and she certainly did not see it as a demotion. She made more money and had better hours than she did when she was a manager.

    Of course, there are some quirks to a commission retail position. With a draw instead of a base wage (i.e. if you don't sell enough to cover it one day, say during a day shift, you have to make it up when you work a better shift), and with the full-timers staffing the store at low traffic times (the store needs staffed in the morning and afternoon on weekdays even though there may not be a lot of traffic) and part-timers coming in at high traffic shifts (when they are most needed), part-timers would often make as much, and sometimes more, than full-timers (a full-time associate would often have fewer good shifts than the part-timers). Also, a bad location and low traffic can be murder on commission and result in very low pay, while working for the same company in a higher traffic area can be quite lucrative. Then if you are unlucky and work more than one location you may have trouble developing repeat customers.

    So, anyway, I guess the bottom line is that there are a lot of variables that can effect what a retail salesperson will earn. However, in a good location, a commissioned salesperson at a high end retailer can make a very comfortable living (one that can often exceed lower and even mid-level management at the same company).
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2011
  13. atila

    atila Senior member

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    little lower
     
  14. GBR

    GBR Senior member

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    Given to the staff to wear without charge. The actual cost to the employer is minimal.
     
  15. bourbonbasted

    bourbonbasted Senior member

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    Well it was 2 different girls at 2 different times but both were about 1.5-2 years ago. One worked at J Crew and one worked at Madewell. They had both been there over a year, however and one of them was a manager (at J Crew) so I'm not if that makes a difference. All I know is that they definitely got a better deal than that. I only dated each of them for about 3 or 4 months but between the two of them I got probably 5-6 sweaters, a couple sports coats and 5-6 shirts. They might have stricter regulations on summer-only workers.
     
  16. bourbonbasted

    bourbonbasted Senior member

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    I had a buddy who worked at RL for a couple of years and he gained an extremely wealthy client while there. This dude was an older guy who clearly had great taste and was the same size as my friend. Each time the guy would come into the store for new stuff he would literally give my buddy a pile of clothes from the back of his closet. Some of the stuff was junk but the vast majority was all beautiful stuff. Lucky bastard.
     
  17. Dicko

    Dicko Well-Known Member

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    your mate must have been loving that!
     
  18. Pawz

    Pawz Senior member

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    The stores supply their employees with clothes. As for myself:

    I wouldn't say I'm rich, but I do OK. If you love something, you find means to support it (within reason). I would never opt to dress well over having shelter, food, etc., nor will I spend every 'spare' cent I have on clothes (or anything else for that matter). Going to Saks to drop $2500 on clothing is a (rare) treat for me - not something I can do regularly.

    Most of my high-end clothing comes from sales and thrift finds (a Valentino jacket for $11? Yes, please!). My everyday stuff comes from the malls and is inexpensive.

    I'm blessed to have what I have. That's all I have to say.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2011
  19. DerekS

    DerekS Senior member

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    I would gladly live in poverty working for TF if i got a free suit every once in awhile. :lol:
     
  20. connor09

    connor09 Senior member

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    So true! You'd be mad to pass up a free suit, especially a TF suit.
     

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