I have a very basic approach in life. Listen, learn, and react. Working in the world of high end retail for the majority of my career, it becomes very clear that to sell anything applying all three skills is necessary. Coming into an established business it was important that I adapt quickly, especially because the business is small (in staff).
Starting out in the first few months my main objective was just to shadow and adapt. Working in a small shop you have to be able speak, act and react using the same language as your mentor. It allows consistency in the work that is done, this comes in handy with the more particular clients. Your wording becomes very important.
For me the challenges of the shop started right from the thimble. Something to know about me is that I am left handed, and this poses a problem because all the work done in the tailoring world is achieved with the right hand. From cutting to striking and hand work to pressing everything is right hand dominated. So from the very minute I started work in the shop life became just a little more challenging. Quick to adapt, I can now say I am fluent with my right hand.
"At one point in the shop we had a gold coloured thimble which was small enough to fit my fingers. Which is rare because I have very small fingers for a guy… I like to refer to them as "slender". In one of my birthday cards my boss had written "To the man with the golden thimble", (which will probably be the title of my first book I am sure). Sadly this thimble has disappeared but the title stays strong. Working one day at a time to perfect the stitch and build memory in my right hand".
Having now spent several years at the shop getting to know the clients, you learn to listen and react to each individual need. The great thing about working in a well established shop is that you get to work with many different people who turn out to be their own crazy but amazing character. Their backgrounds will all differ and the knowledge and conversation will change from client to client on a daily basis. It certainly beats having a desk job.