For the last couple months, I’ve been working in retail for a well-known label. While I’ve definitely learned a lot, there’s one incident in particular that stands out.
I was working on a Friday night. One of my good friends stopped in to surprise me with coffee. I was working in the store on my own. As I was walking around the store making sure that everything was up to par, I was sipping my coffee. A woman walked in to the store. After she spotted me with my coffee, she seemed confused.
“Do you work here?” she asked me, “Yeah I do.”, “But you’re drinking a coffee?”
At that moment, I thought she may have been a secret shopper or a company executive. “Do you work here?” I asked, afraid that I might be in the middle of a career-ending exchange but also why the fuck can't I drink a coffee if I feel like one.
“No,” she said. “Where’s your badge? is this a prank?” She laughed as she refused to accept that I worked there. She kept searching for indicators that I wasn’t an actual employee of the shop. “You’ve got a trucker hat on your jeans. Where did it come from?”
I had a trucker hat fastened around my belt loop. It was my personal style. I explained this to her. Yet she refused to accept the fact that I worked at the store.
“I’ve gotta go. Have a nice life,” she said still confused and laughing as she walked off."
It was an awkward but funny exchange, but it left a mark on me. When you work in a store, people are conditioned to look at you as that annoying generic salesperson. In most places, including my current job, there’s intense pressure to achieve sales. I don’t want to give in to this pressure. I want to come across as casual; like a friend that works at the store. People either like the clothes or they don’t. I hate the idea of forcing sales. It’s my goal to do it my way and put my own personal stamp on it.
"When it comes to social media and promoting NIKKE HORRIGAN, I feel the same way."
In the beginning when I first launched the label, I was stressing out about my social media presence. I was constantly comparing myself, it was physically and mentally making me sick. Once I started to see the truth behind it all, I started not to give a fuck, because I realized that it’s perfectly fine if I don’t get a million likes or followers, and so my perspective changed.
"It's all smoke and mirrors; we are so worried about being accepted by others that we unconsciously create this false reality to conceal our identity ."
I’ve made the decision to sit on the sidelines. I don’t want to participate and feed the monster they call social media. To an extent, it feels like everyone is doing and saying the same things. There’s no individuality anymore nor substance. It’s all the same. There’s an old saying "You can't be everything to everybody" and I completely agree. And that's where I'm coming from, I know people will hate me or rate me but the more real you are, the more people will respect and connect with you. It’s more authentic than following the more traditional recipe.
"I'm not worried about what everyone else is doing, I'm doing me."
In the end, it’s a marathon not a sprint. The most important focus should be making your products stand-out and giving value to your customers. These focuses work wonders for a business in ways that social media can’t. If you master these two areas, you eventually gain a big enough voice that allows you to reach people without having to go to extremes or create cookie cutter content.
That being said, I understand the importance of having a social platform when it comes to establishing a fashion label. I’m able to reach audiences all over the world and gain exposure. Just recently an online-store from Denmark emailed me to asking if I was interested in supplying them with my collections.
"It represents the positive potential of what can be accomplished through social media."
To be honest, I’m not all that interested in social media. If I could move forward without it, I would. I want to go back to the more traditional methods of press. Media kits and print publications. I want to capture an audience that appreciate authenticity and effort. I feel that I can reach this audience in particular if it’s in print in a fashion magazine or a newspaper.
"With Instagram, everyone does it, anyone can put up their own things. It’s more legit to get into newspapers and magazines; it would add more value to the label."
Like my role as an unconventional salesperson, I plan to manage social media my way. The most important thing for me is to stay true and authentic to my mission. I refuse to change my strategy to look or sound like anyone else. Whether it’s my everyday work for the other label or the image of my own label, I have to do it my way. That’s the essence of Nikke Horrigan-the brand and the person.
"Fashion Imitates Life" - Nikke Horrigan