Retail jobs offer students more than just discounted fashion

by Chloe Warfford / Beacon Correspondent • September 23, 2015

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Primark is a major retailer near Emerson's campus.
Primark is a major retailer near Emerson's campus.

A shift in retail may include hours of picking clothes off the floor, edging endless racks of blouses, or greeting customer after customer. With discounts, fashion, and flexible hours, however, many students are drawn to the realm of retail.

Emerson is located about five minutes from Downtown Crossing, which has stores like Primark and Macy’s. The college is also near Newbury Street, home to shops like Forever 21 and H&M, which are known for their cheaper clothing options.

Tara Balan, a freshman performing arts major, said she moved to retail because she wanted to get out of food service.

“You’re not treated well [in restaurants],” Balan said. “I’d constantly be called in for really long shifts—a really frustrating environment.”

Balan said she has worked at the Marshalls in Back Bay since May. The off-price department store is a short walk away from Emerson’s campus. Balan said her new job appreciates her strengths.

“I personally love it, because you are surrounded by clothes all the time, which is really fabulous,” Balan said. “Working on the floor, you sort of shop while you’re working, and that is really calming to me.”

Balan said that half her wardrobe is now from Marshalls.

However, it isn’t just the ease of getting into retail that attracts many students to join the workforce.

John Huszagh, a sophomore visual and media arts major, is a longtime employee of Abercrombie & Fitch at Faneuil Hall. Huszagh said has worked there for over a year, and that he enjoys the flexibility of his job. He said when he goes home he’s able to work at one of the chain’s stores in Illinois.

“I’ve learned a lot more about my ability to do things outside what I thought I could do,” Huszagh said.

Huszagh said he’s become well-versed in fashion merchandising and that his job has even helped with his confidence.

Balan said that working at Marshalls has made her more conscious of being a good customer.

Huszagh said he considers himself a fashionista of sorts, which embodies Emerson’s fashion scene. Huszagh said he wouldn’t exactly say A&F’s style is cohesive with “Emerson’s fashion scene.” Before working at Abercrombie, Huszagh said, he knew their catalogue and their store layout.

“There’s a style vibe here in Emerson,” Huszagh said. “We’re involved in theater and film, where the visual aspects are important.”

“Everyone here loves to express themselves through their clothes,” Balan said. ”[Fashion on Emerson’s campus is] brave and daring. I feel like I turn around every second and there is a new fashion trend, and it always seems to work on an Emerson student.”