I’ve worked in fashion retail for over 9 years and I’ve done it because I had a passion for the fashion industry and I love helping people in a way that benefits both of us at the same time. However, if you are working in fashion retail, there are different money schemes associated with it that can make it a job you want to stay away from.​
The most common money scheme people recognize is that the sales associate is working for clothes. Many stores highly encourage their employees to wear the brand he or she is selling and that it is necessary to succeed. It definitely helps you sell more when you are wearing the product but when you have to spend your paycheck on the company’s products, you may find that you aren’t making any money at the job. You are simply working for clothes and working for clothes doesn’t help you pay the bills.

Some companies will give you an allowance of clothing, meaning you will get 1 or 2 outfits of free clothing but once those items aren’t carried in stores anymore, you can’t wear them anymore so you have to buy more clothes from the company and simply continue this cycle. Of course, you get a discount on clothing but unless you are working in a commission environment (which even then it could mean the same thing), you’re not making enough money to buy clothes at the store and pay your bills at the same time. 

​The other scheme of fashion retail is the mindset you may be influenced to obtain in a commissioned environment. If you strictly make commission, meaning you either make absolutely no money unless you sell something or the money you get from your hourly rate is in a sense, “taken away” from you once your commission comes through, your character may change. You may feel the need to lie, steal and cheat because your ability to pay your bills is solely focused on sales. You may steal credit of one of your co-workers’ sales and you may lie to your customers just to get them to buy something.

​In any rate of pay environment, you will feel inclined to compete with your so-workers. This is actually true for probably any work environment but it can still have a negative impact on yourself, especially in sales. You will find yourself getting jealous when someone has sold more than you and if that isn’t instilled in you already, your manager will make sure that you do.

​All of these schemes are another way for the company to make more money. If they hire you, you now become a loyal customer and it becomes your job to sell their product at a very low cost to them, making it a win=win situation for them. In addition, if you are in a commissioned sales environment, they can loan you money all year long and never owe you anything if you never sell a product or everything you sell gets returned so they win again because it would have truly cost them nothing to have you as an employee. In addition, by making you feel the need to compete with other sales people, you make them even more money than you would have by finding ways to sell more just to keep the #1 in sales spot.

Working in retail is not a bad thing, I just wanted to open your eyes so you can see how there is a money scheme associated with it. If you truly love this business, then you will want to work your way to luxury retail that is focused on client relationships in comparison to sales and isn’t highly focused on you buying the product (believe me, you can do very well at selling something you don’t own if you know how to sell). Yet, if you decide to work in an environment that is strictly commission or is highly focused on you wearing the product, you either should be in a situation where you don’t need money or you should already have a large clientele base that you can easily sell to.