Our Canterbury Store Manager takes on small roles in films in his spare time, has a degree in Fine Art and would love to invite Sir David Attenborough to a dinner party. We caught up with 29-year-old Geoff Rolph to chat about his career path into retail management, how he motivates his staff and why his mum is his biggest inspiration.
What did you study at University?
I did a Fine Art degree at The University for the Creative Arts in Canterbury.
Did you always want to pursue a career in fashion retail?
Fashion retail is something that has always appealed to me – it suits my personality. I have been lucky enough to have worked for a few big retail companies in a variety of roles from Visual Merchandiser to Assistant Manager and Store Manager within two stores in a busy shopping centre. This has given me a well-rounded retail management skill set which I utilise.
How did you get this job?
I was working near London in clothes retail and although I enjoyed the job, after three years of the long commute I decided to look for something closer to home. A friend I used to work with for over six years informed me about the Store Manager vacancy as he knew it suited me perfectly. I applied, had an interview on my day off and was offered the position a few days later.
What does a typical day involve?
I always start the day with a coffee to wake me up. I then head to the store to prepare for the day ahead which entails writing up a list of jobs to be done that day and ticking them off once they’ve been completed. A typical day always includes keeping the energy of the store up and maintaining a high level of customer service.
What’s your favourite part of the job?
Interacting with the customers is definitely my favourite part of the job. I’ve always been a people person and find it very rewarding when a customer leaves the store happy.
What’s the biggest challenge your job role presents you with?
Turning the store around, which meant hiring my own team and improving takings. I staffed the store with hard working sales assistants and trained them to a high level, as well as finding a new Assistant Manager to work with me. I pretty much created an entirely new team and we managed to turn the store around. We also had a shop refit during this time which improved the layout and overall appearance of the store, allowing us to to achieve what we set out to do by improving store takings and ensuring an excellent customer experience.
How do you motivate your staff?
I let my team know when they are working well, as well as showing appreciation for their efforts when they do a good job. I praise where credit is due which motivates them to work harder.
What’s your favourite way to relax after a stressful day?
As soon as I get in from a stressful day I put the kettle on, change into some comfy clothes and chill on the sofa while watching Netflix or a box set with a cup of tea.
What’s an interesting or quirky fact about you?
I have a big interest in film and have been doing extra work on the side for the last few years which consists of a variety of small roles in films.
Who/what inspires you and why?
Even though it may sound cheesy, I would have to say my mum. She is someone I look up to and admire, for everything she has done for me growing up and even what she does for me now.
What’s your favourite footwear?
Probably classic Vans – I have worn them pretty much all my life and I’m wearing a pair to work today.
If you could describe yourself as a shoe, what would it be and why?
I would be a pair of classic Timberland boots because I’m resilient and hard-working in a variety of different situations and conditions.
Describe your style in three words?
Smart-casual, alternative and effortless.
Where is your OOTD (outfit of the day) from?
I’m wearing a vintage heritage flannel shirt, black skinny jeans, Old Skool Vans from SOLETRADER and a gold Casio watch. Now it’s freezing, I’m wearing my North Face McMurdo Parka jacket.
What’s your favourite piece of advice/quote?
“The world is a like a ride in an amusement park, and when you choose to go on it you think it’s real because that’s how powerful our minds are. The ride goes up and down, around and around, it has thrills and chills, and it’s very brightly coloured, and it’s very loud, and it’s fun for a while. Many people have been on the ride a long time, and they begin to wonder, “Hey, is this real, or is this just a ride?” And other people have remembered, and they come back to us, they say, “Hey, don’t worry, don’t be afraid, ever, because this is just a ride.” – Bill Hicks.
If you could invite three people to a dinner party, dead or alive, who would you choose and why?
John Lennon, Bill Shankly and Sir David Attenborough. A bit of a random mix but they’re all legends and I can imagine the conversation would be great. John Lennon was a great musician who had visionary principles and was an activist for peace. Bill Shankly was one of the greatest football managers who had strong opinions on football and politics and was a great public speaker. Sir David Attenborough is a national treasure – I could listen to him speak for hours and I share his views on the preservation of the natural world and his love for animals.