The date was circled firmly in red signalling not only the start of a new week but also an exciting new start for me, at the age of 60+. I was to attend a week’s induction on the Isle of Wight, home to the iconic Liz Earle Beauty Co. As I packed and prepared for the journey, I reflected on how I found myself in a nervous state of anticipation and excitement.
In truth, the journey had begun several years earlier, when I had stumbled, almost by accident, into the haven of the Liz Earle Duke of York Square store in London, tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the Kings Road and just around the corner from Sloane Square. I had heard about the hot cloth cleanser, vaguely. The Duke of York store has a lot to answer for!
Now, I was on my way to becoming a Customer Advisor. I had previously worked in a very demanding, competitive environment and after a successful career, did not want to retire from work completely. I liked the idea of sharing my experience of this exceptional brand which had not only rescued my skin but also my sanity, as my ‘to do’ list in those years grew ever longer and the working hours kept expanding. It was payback time to the brand which had not only restored my skin but also my self-esteem.
I was born in London, but am of a Greek-Cypriot origin which believes in fate. So, when I noticed a recruitment event being advertised at Duke of York, I decided to give fate a helping hand, plus I thought it would be a good excuse to replenish my never decreasing stock of Liz Earle products (I have always made sure I never run out!)
I decided I did not actually have to take part in the event, just have a look. I entered the store and saw two smiling, welcoming people sitting at a table. I made a spur of the moment decision to have a chat with them and talk Liz Earle – I thought that at least it would be a pleasant way to spend a little time. I had considered joining a few years earlier, but nothing came of it, and I expected the same outcome. I knew there would be applicants who were better qualified than me; I had no experience of the beauty and retail industries. However, I did have an interest and complete faith in the power of Liz Earle products – I had been using them for several years and I had experience of the commercial sector.
Two days later, I was genuinely surprised to be invited to an interview. After this, I received an invitation to attend for store approval, which was swiftly followed with a job offer and travel arrangements to the Isle of Wight for a week of induction training. So, there I was, packing, with the excitement and apprehension mounting rapidly.
I found it reassuring when I was asked if I would like to exchange mobile numbers with others who would be making the same journey, travelling from Waterloo Station in London. This was very helpful – after all, we would be making the journey together and in my case, feeling a little anxious. The travel arrangements were taken care of by the Liz Earle team, so all I had to do was to be there.
I tried to force myself to remember that it was not to be a ‘jolly’ but an intensive and hopefully, inspirational induction. I started to pack in a sensible fashion, warm coat, comfortable shoes, smart, classic style, not a sequin in sight – and no killer heels. I was going to the ‘seaside’ but it was work, and there would be a lot of “hard graft” as my Yorkshire husband would say but I was to find that there was also a lot of fun and camaraderie that has endured beyond those five days. As I was packing, I received a call from another trainee who was also due to travel from London Waterloo Station – it was lovely to have a chat and the next day seemed less daunting.