Industry Stories

Ben Huxtable

Ben HuxtableName: Ben Huxtable
Age: 27
Place of work: Wallis Cinemas
Role: Cinema Manager
Qualifications: Bachelor of Arts (Hons)
Estimated salary range for this job role: $41K - $60K

Initially I only worked as a casual at the cinema for income while I did my degree. I was about to begin a teaching diploma when I was offered an opportunity as a full-time Assistant Manager, so I decided to pursue management instead. I was young and new to the industry so I had to 'earn my stripes', but my manager taught me about customer service and staff management.

Now I enjoy coaching and developing staff to achieve the best result possible and I'm able to explore my interest in local area marketing. I'm involved in everything from stock control to rostering and wage control - plus business development initiatives. I'd certainly encourage others to embrace the opportunities in retail.


Celeste Kerley

Celeste Kerley

Name: Celeste Kerley
Age: 22
Place of Work: Tynte Flowers
Role: Florist
Qualifications: Certificate II in Floristry Certificate III in Floristry
Estimated salary range for this job role: $21-40K

Retail found me - I did a ten week course and then started at Tynte Flowers, but before that I worked in another retail job for four years.

When I first started I was doing behind the scenes stuff like preparing vases before becoming a florist. While at Tynte I completed my Certificate II & III in Floristry through TAFE SA. The company paid for my training and I have now been working at Tynte for 2 ½ years. In my current role I do floristry and some quality control. The most enjoyable part of my job is doing the one off arrangements and also quality control checks of other florist's arrangements when required. I love the creativity and flexibility of the role. My least favourite aspect of the job is working weekends.

I have always enjoyed being creative and artistic. I enjoyed doing my course and built my career from there. My mentor Karina was an inspiration to me during my training. She helped me throughout and pushed me to be the best I could.

I have gained confidence and customer service skills and would encourage others into the industry because it is a lot of fun! You meet lots of new people and within floristry you can do your own thing and be creative as its fun with relaxed and flexible working hours.

Be confident with what you are doing and have a go at everything - never say no!

Dale Tuck

Dale TuckName: Dale Tuck
Age: 47
Place of work: Barossa Community Store
Role: Store Manager
Estimated salary range for this job role: $81K - $100K

Working in retail is a fantastic education! I started at 17 and did a Trainee Manager-Buyer Program with a department store, which led to a Sales Manager role - then Initiative Business Manager and Merchandise Manager with another company.
I travelled interstate and overseas - including a study tour in America - before being recruited to my current role. Along the way, I worked with good inspired leaders and had mentors who gave me encouragement, clarity of direction and stimulated belief in myself. Now I encourage personal development in my own team.

Retail teaches so many skills. It's just a wonderful workplace, full of opportunity - and it's fun! You meet lots of people and make life-long friends. I even met my wife in retail!


David Dinino

David DininoName: David Dinino
Age: 24
Place of Work: Get Fresh Findon
Role: Owner/Operator
Estimated salary range for this job role: $41-60K

Originally I didn't want to work in retail, however the lifestyle and atmosphere of working with people pulled me to work for the family business and now I am the owner.

To achieve success, I've had to learn the variety of products, gain an understanding of the industry and its culture in order to get the best for the business and my customers.

As the owner of my own business the role varies on a day to day basis from going to the market to buy produce, quality control, stock rotation, customer service and management. My least favourite part of the job is the early starts at the market!

Working in the industry and owning my own business has made me more mature and I now recognise my responsibilities in the business - I'm accountable for what I do and say. I enjoy dealing with a range of people on a daily basis, and I've gained great friendships, some of which are with customers. I'd certainly encourage others to work in the industry as it's varied, there are a lot of opportunities and it's a lifelong career. My advice is to work hard and take the opportunities when you can.

Dennis Karis

DennisName: Dennis Karis
Place of Work: Shades
Role: Buyer
Estimated salary range for this job role: $70K +

Retail came as an opportunity after visiting an eyewear store in Sydney in the early 80s, and I saw a gap in the market place for fashionable sunglasses. For me, working on the relationships with the suppliers and their range comes first - it's about the direction and the store. You cannot be everything to everybody with buying it's about the right product and the range according to your market. As a buyer I have to research and always be prepared to travel - I love it!

Shades is a unique retail concept, catering from middle to high end eyewear, with a focus on fashion. We carefully select each range including deciding on every style and colour of sunglasses and only stock the worlds best and most exciting brands.

Buying for your market is the critical factor. If I need to travel overseas to discuss the brands with the suppliers then I do it! Every year I travel to Milan, the mecca for those who want to read the future in fashion.

It's not about negotiating it's about the look - the price and the margins. Importantly I try to look five years ahead to keep on top of the market because retail is forever changing. Shade is all about self expression, so as a buyer I am committed to finding new stock to reflect the imagination and personality of or customers. I aim to take the customer out of a narrow conservative past and into a new dimension of style, offering an essential blend of practicality, fashion and individuality.

Derek C Stamoulis


Name: Derek C Stamoulis
Place of Work: Leadership Learning Dynamics
Role: Chief Executive Officer
Qualifications: MA, MBA, BA (Hons), BA, Dip Ed, Dip Prof Counselling, Dip PR, Dip Retail, Dip Man, Certificate IV TAA

Leading business in an era of unprecedented change requires more than managerial skills, it requires great leadership - leaders who inspire, influence and motivate their people to be the best they can be. Such leaders are not simply born; they are continuous learners focused on acquiring the skills that build relationships with customers, engage their people, execute strategy and think innovatively.

I commenced my learning over two decades ago and it continues today. The pursuit of continuous learning has enabled me to remain at the cutting edge in leadership, business and retail. As a teacher of leadership in the tertiary sector at MBA level and as CEO of a learning organisation, I have had opportunities to collaborate with international thought leaders in business, customer service, leadership, learning, retail and sales. In the role of an industry consultant, learning has allowed me to bring the latest world knowledge to customers and to ensure that practices and functions align with and drive business results.

As is the case in all industries, the retail sector too needs more than good managers; it is needs great leaders. So what makes these leaders stand out from the crowd? These leaders are the people who excite and energise their people to achieve great things. They create places where people feel they belong and want to belong; where people feel appreciated, important, recognised and valued; and where people know, and indeed want, to contribute to the "bigger picture".

Derek Gregory

DerekName: Derek Gregory
Age: 35
Place of work: James Thredgold Jeweller
Role: Manager
Qualifications: Registered Valuer, Gemmologist, Master Jeweller, HRD Diamond Grader
Estimated salary range for this job role: $61K - $80K

As a Manager, my main role in retail is still customer service - making sure customers are looked after; from the minute they enter the store, until they leave. It's also the most enjoyable part of my job - seeing happy customers who will enjoy their purchase for many years to come. I started in a jewellery apprenticeship 17 years ago and, even then, communication with customers was essential - so moving from the bench to the shop floor was a simple process, with my boss as my mentor.

Confidence is the biggest personal gain from working in retail. Interacting with people all the time means you become more confident - comfortable in your knowledge and your abilities. Just don't give up - believe in yourself!


Jemima Nuske

Jemima NuskeName: Jemima Nuske
Age: 33
Place of Work: Haigh's Chocolates
Role: Retail Area Manager SA
Qualifications: Certificate II in Retail, Certificate IV in Frontline Management, Advanced Diploma in Business Management, currently undertaking a Bachelor of Human Resources

My retail career began with a Certificate II in Retail Traineeship at 18. With a taste for knowledge I then became involved in the Young Business Leader Program (Certificate IV in Retail Management). Later, as an experienced and skilled Sales Assistant, I was able to travel overseas and work in various retail stores. On my return, I began with Haigh's as an Easter casual and soon after I progressed to Supervisor and then Manager. Now as the SA Retail Area Manager I am responsible for developing and mentoring the six Adelaide Managers and other staff who work on the shop floor. I love the retail industry and I can't see myself ever leaving. I come to work everyday looking forward to it. I know most people can't say that! When you love it - it's just not hard work!

Jenna Bruno


Name: Jenna Bruno
Age: 20
Place of Work: Target
Role: Sales Assistant Sound Department
Qualifications: Studying Human Resources at University
Estimated salary range for this job role: $21-40K

I have been in the retail industry for six years, after working in retail in high school as an after school job to get pocket money. Now I work full time while on a break from university.

I like dealing with people and there is always something new to learn and do. The industry is growing and expanding, especially working in the sound department there is always some sort of new technology I have to learn.

My role as a sales assistant includes customer service, telecommunications, liaising with reps, stock control duties, merchandise display and dealing with customer queries. There is also a lot of planning involved with merchandise displays and organising how to get the most out of the products. I work on a roster rotation during the week and some weekends.

The best advice I have had is that you should get to know the people you are marketing to and be willing to learn and try new things. Always work to your full potential - you need to be prepared to work hard, learn your products, understand customers needs and wants and stay focused.

I love the diversity in working with people on a day to day basis. It's not just a cash register; you get to expand on your knowledge and you can take this into not just work but also your personal life.


Joshua Thorpe

Joshua 1Name: Joshua Thorpe
Age: 32
Place of Work: Pencraft
Role: Owner/Manager
Qualifications: Studying Bachelor of International Studies at University
Estimated salary range for this job role: $61-80K

After a stint of travelling I purchased a gift shop in Tanunda, which I owned for four years. With a drive to expand I sought out a luxury goods business and found Pencraft. The management of Pencraft is a diverse role requiring multi-tasking and the ability to adapt to front and back of house.

Attending to clients, stock management, after sales service on repairs and accounts, managing and updating our website are all part of my role. I enjoy the constant growth of the business and the challenges that it presents.

I have become more precise with marketing, building Pencraft as a brand not just a retail store or a boutique, recruiting people that represent Pencraft's mission, creating a working system so each sales associate provides the same service of excellence to every client.

As a relatively young business owner you always have to challenge people's perception. I have learnt to be more creative and innovative which have been key components for me to challenge conventional thinking or even retail behaviour.

Good advice I received is to never give up and always provide the best service. There is a great deal to be learnt in the simple act of serving others. Retail provides you with many life skills and the ability to adjust and adapt to all walks of life. Retail can lead you in to ownership and management of large businesses. It is a great industry to work in.

Keri Foti

Kerri FotiName: Keri Foti
Age: 47
Place of Work: Woolworths Limited
Role: Retail Support Manager
Qualifications: Certificate IV Workplace Trainer and Assessor, HR Diploma, MGSM Foundation for Success, Future Leaders, Business Acumen and Negotiation
Estimated salary range for this job role: Over $100K

I started in retail as a year gap fill before going to teachers college however I was enticed to stay with the endless opportunities being offered, now I have been in the industry for 28 years. My current role includes new business processes and maintaining current business processes of all of Woolworths compliance - food safety, liquor licenses and law, tobacco licenses and law and internal audit processes.

The most enjoyable aspect of my role is being at the forefront of new technology, processes and business strategies. The part of the job I like the least is crisis management.

A company restructure in 2000 gave me an opportunity in Human Resources after being in operations for many years. There were personal sacrifices in the early days with a young child and having to work long hours. Work life balance is always a challenge, but I have had many mentors and taken comfort in their advice and support. What they shared along with company provided training has modelled me into the manager and leader I am today.

I have gained lots of vast career opportunities in a very fast moving industry with new technology and changing facets - it is not just operations. The best piece of advice I was given was to speak to others the way you would like to be spoken to, and always look at change as an opportunity not a disadvantage. I'd encourage anyone to look at they long-term opportunities in retail and not just the short term.

Lara Bonnici

Lara BonniciName: Lara Bonnici
Age: 22
Place of Work: Bakers Delight
Role: Sales Manager
Qualifications: Certificate III in Retail Operations, currently undertaking a Bachelor of Marketing and Communication
Estimated salary range for this job role: $21K-$40K

Retail gave me opportunities at a very young age and I had two part-time jobs while at school. I started with Bakers Delight at 15 and kept the job while at uni, accepting responsibilities and taking opportunities as they arose. With company-supported training, I made Manager at 18! Putting theory into practice has contributed to high grades in my degree, while helping me grow career-wise and personally. I've introduced new concepts, processes and policies - and enjoy creating incentive programs which boost staff motivation to achieve business objectives. It's unbelievably satisfying to establish goals, achieve them and be recognised for the effort. Retail offers clear and exciting career progression. Take every opportunity to develop workplace qualifications and enjoy the ongoing learning experience!


Lisa-Marie Ennis

Lisa-MarieName: Lisa-Marie Ennis
Age: 31
Place of work: E.T. Browne Pty Ltd (Palmer's)
Role: Sales Support Representative
Qualifications: Bachelor of Management (Marketing)
Estimated salary range for this job role: $61K - $80K

I started in retail as a supermarket casual, moving into cosmetics sales when I finished school. This provided lots of training opportunities and led to managing a cosmetics counter in a major department store, a job which I maintained part-time while studying my degree. After a period in an advertising agency and an overseas holiday, I became a Marketing Coordinator with a wholesaler/importer of fragrances and skincare. Within 18 months I was Assistant Brand Manager. This led to my current role selling Palmer's Skincare. There's good money to be earned and I've travelled around Australia with work. I love the social aspects of my job as I've met a lot of great people. And working for a wholesale company has also meant I receive lots of free products!


Louise Fay

Louise FayName: Louise Fay
Age: 23
Place of Work: Dymocks
Role: Special Orders Supervisor
Qualifications: Bachelor in Health Sciences, majoring in Pathology
Estimated salary range for this job role: $21-40K

I have worked in retail for nearly five years starting as a Christmas casual at a Myer department store. I often worked longer hours and more frequently over the university holidays. I was able to obtain a position with Dymocks via an ex-Myer colleague who had previously moved stores. Since I am an avid reader, being offered a position at a bookstore was something that was very hard to turn down!

I maintain customer special orders; reserving books so we can alert them when it arrives, or ordering books that we don't usually stock. I also maintain customer lay-bys and process sales and inquiries for in-store customers. It's a real buzz to order that book that a customer just has to have, or they really need to finish an assignment. However dealing with titles that have been delayed or cancelled can be troublesome as we often don't receive more than "sorry, that title has been cancelled" - passing such vague information on to the customer can be frustrating. Dealing with conflict with customers can often be intimidating, especially when you are a young female just starting out. Learning your company policies thoroughly is most helpful so you can stand your ground more confidently.

I've not had one single mentor, but I consider everyone I work with as someone that I can look to for help or guidance. Not enough people realise the work that goes on behind the scenes when they enter a shop. I would encourage anyone who is a people person with a desire to help others to enter the retail industry. There can be great joy in helping an appreciative customer find something that they really want.

Melanie Pink

Mel PinkName: Melanie Pink
Age: 39
Place of work: Pink's Mitre 10
Role: Retail Manager
Qualifications: Certificate IV in Finance
Estimated salary range for this job role: $41K - $60K

Originally I worked in the banking sector and just filled my weekends working at Mitre 10 - but, when the opportunity arose, I switched to full-time in the store and later became Retail Manager. Apart from accounts and stock control, my role involves staff functions such as rosters, meetings, budgets and mentoring. I enjoy this aspect most - along with customer service. Working in retail has taught me to have high expectations of service and presentation. With all the products we have available, there is continual in-store training opportunities. This includes product sessions and professionally-run customer service training.

No day is the same in this industry. You get the chance to help people with their projects and every customer's need is different.


Miles Croker

Miles IndustryName: Miles Croker
Age: 30
Place of work: Fassina Liquor Merchants
Role: Assistant Store Manager
Qualifications: Certificate III in Retail Operations, Final stage in Bachelor of Marketing and Communication
Estimated salary range for this job role: $41K - $60K

Retail gives you opportunity to work with energetic, motivated people - and to 'make someone's day' with your passion for products. I started as a supermarket trolley boy at 15, eventually working in all areas (fruit and veg, bakery, check-out, liquor and management). After three years managing another retail outlet, I moved to Fassina's and have been Assistant Manager at two stores. Apart from the usual retail management activities, I help customers with wine selections, organise wine tastings and attend wine tasting functions.

Retail has given me valuable experience in customer relations, life-long friendships and self-confidence.
I work with a great group of people and am part of a family-owned business that respects my input.

Pablo Theodoros

PabloName: Pablo Theodoros
Age: 27
Place of work: East End Cellars
Role: Assistant Manager
Qualifications: Diploma in Hospitality Management
Estimated salary range for this job role: $41K - $60K

While working long hours in hospitality, I found I was most enjoying the wine service aspect. A winemaker told me of a job in a boutique wine cellar and I decided to change industry. Now as an Assistant Manager, I run the website and wholesale side of the business - but I also look after a wine club, do some of the ordering and organise tastings and wine dinners. For me to be able to try some of the best wines in the world is amazing! You also get to meet some great people!

Working in retail offers great hours, relaxed environments and the pleasure of interacting with people face-to-face. Good manners and a strong work ethic will get you far.


Rikki Mackenzie-Burdon


Name: Rikki Mackenzie-Burdon
Age: 25
Place of Work: IKEA
Role: Deputy Sales Manager
Qualifications: Diploma in Retail Management, Certificate III in Retail Supervision
Estimated salary range for this job role: $61-80K

I got my first taste of retail working at a clothing store on weekends on a casual basis. Then I got more responsibility opening and closing the store and managing others. I knew then this is what I wanted to do. While still in school all my work experience was based in bigger retail organisations in Adelaide. While working at Esprit I developed from a Christmas casual to being Assistant Store Manager at various stores across the state. I also studied one day a week at TAFE doing my Certificate III in Retail.

In my current role I lead the sales team to maximise sales and profitability through local market knowledge, understanding our customers and the IKEA range of products. Key tasks include long term planning, steering sales, training and development, negotiating with business partners and coaching. IKEA has also provided extensive training including attending the IKEA business college in Shanghai and range presentation in Sweden. Managing people older than me is hard, and when it comes to written work, my mild dyslexia has presented challenges. I have always had a mentor. Mentors give you confidence in your ability that you can do it and, are great sounding boards for venting!

I love the way you can make an impact on a customer whether it's through service or the way you merchandise something. You can have so many careers within retail from sales, HR, marketing, logistics, finance etc. I don't ever think I will leave the retail industry. Retail isn't just a job it's a career with so many opportunities. Take time to unleash your potential in retail and see what area works for you as there is so much that happens on and beyond the shopfloor.

Rosie Stavrou

Rosie Name: Rosie Stavrou
Age: 45
Place of work: Excellence in Education & Training
Role: Floristry Co-ordinator and Trainer
Qualifications: Certificate II in Floristry and Certificate IV in Training and Assessment
Estimated salary range for this job role: $61K - $80K


Throughout 30 years of retail Floristry I designed floral arrangements for all occasions - including a VIP function for the Governor-General! My favourites were for weddings and Valentine's Day, because they made special days extra special for customers. From initial work experience, extensive on-the-job training and exposure to many techniques and designs, I went on to manage day-to-day operations. Now I enjoy nurturing and building the skills of our future Florists - and it's a pleasure to be part of their growth and achievement. The early starts for fresh flowers can be a challenge, but retail floristry gives you so many skills, helps you meet so many people and lets you really express yourself.

It can be a career for life!


Sarah Davies

Sarah Industry Photo 1

Name: Sarah Davies
Age: 39
Place of Work: Self-employed
Role: Retail Visual Merchandiser & Display Consultant
Qualifications: Certificate IV in Training and Assessment (TAA)
Estimated salary range for this job role: State level $50-60K National level $90K+

After leaving school I started work with John Martins for 18 months, then spent three years in sales with Just Jeans including managing a store before becoming State Visual Merchandise Manager. I stayed there for 10 years with the Just group. After studying Certificate IV in TAA I started working with a training group specialising in pharmacy where I focus on visual training and store audits.

My current role is to work with retailers to create an exciting experience for their customers. Every day is different; the end of the week is usually spent conceptualizing and organising props for the following week's windows. The beginning of the week is installing windows and merchandising. Strategically it is important to understand how each retail business works. Its not just about making things look pretty, its about the positioning of products to look visually interesting so they create an emotional experience for customers.

I enjoy working with the retailer to develop their skills and understanding. There is no more exciting feeling than when someone calls to tell me a product that we strategically positioned in their store, that was previously sitting there for weeks, has sold out. I fell into retail after leaving school and remember after working for only three weeks at Just Jeans the visual merchandiser visited the store and basically ripped it apart before my eyes and put it back together. I was fascinated and by the end of the day was looking forward to the next day so that I could have a go.

I just love working in a store and I especially love that every day is different.

Sonia Fragnito

SoniaName: Sonia Fragnito
Age: 21
Place of work: Bailetti Sports
Role: Floor Manager
Qualifications: Certificate III in Sport & Recreation, Certificate III in Fitness
Estimated salary range for this job role: $21K - $40K


Retail lets me combine my love of sport and people! After work experience during high school, I did a traineeship through AFL Ready at Bailetti Sports - with both external and on-the-job training. This gave me a qualification and the skills to become a manager. Now, at 21, I create staff rosters; merchandise products; organise training nights; provide on-the-job training; employ and manage other staff. I enjoy talking with customers about new products and I love merchandising - especially the street-front windows.

Working in retail helps you gain confidence in yourself. There's a real family environment, with everyone there to help you be the best you can. You're always learning, which makes it both fun and interesting - and, furthermore, you get paid!


Tom Jones

Industry profile Tom JonesName: Tom Jones
Age: 27
Place of Work: Retail Parcel Management
Role: Courier
Estimated salary range for this job role: $61-80K

I work for Retail Parcel Management as a courier doing store transfers for retailers. I have a set run everyday for a certain amount of stores and both deliver and pick up items. It is a very flexible role and I have been working for 3 ½ years in the job, after looking for a change from my previous role.

It is a great job as you get to deal with lots of different people, however as you can imagine dealing with lots of different people there can sometimes be some difficult moments.

The best advice I have received has been to agree with everyone. I would say to people entering the industry to be as personable as you can and to be approachable.

“I would encourage others to work in the retail industry because it's great for meeting people and fun!"


Trang Xuan


Name: Trang Xuan
Age: 19
Place of work: KFC (YUM)
Role: Shift Supervisor
Qualifications: Currently studying Certificate III in Retail Management, Diploma of Business Management, Bachelor of Laboratory Medicine (Deferred)
Estimated salary range for this job role: $30K - $45K

I started work in the retail industry as a cusual wanting pocket money and independence at the age of 14. Within a year or so I was offered a traineeship through KFC and very quickly realised that this job was part of my broader career pathway. I had always been excited by the size and diversity of the retail industry and now KFC has provided me with some great direction. I really enjoy working with people and providing good customer service.

You get a sense of satisfaction when a customer walks away with both good food and a smile on their face. From working in this industry I have gained responsibility, leadership, developed my confidence and met many diverse people. I would definitely encourage others to work in the industry as the skills you learn are useful throughout all aspects of your life!

Vy Hookway

Vy HookwayName: Vy Hookway
Age: 27
Place of work: Drake Supermarkets
Role: Newsagency Supervisor
Qualifications: Bachelor of Arts (major Psychology & Philosophy), currently undertaking a Diploma in Retail Management
Estimated salary range for this job role: $61K - $80K


I've worked in retail for ten years, starting in juice and DVD franchises and working in a newsagency while at uni. When I graduated, I was on track to become a psychologist - but took an opportunity in retail operations and don't regret it! I moved up to a national role at 22 and National Franchise Business Manager at 24. I now have my perfect role at Drakes!

Activities include people management, promotional planning, staff training, dealing with suppliers and legislation compliance - across three newsagencies, six in-store newsagencies and forty newsagency departments.

I love working with my team and developing the managers - and the retail landscape is constantly changing! When I finish my Diploma, I'd like to do a Masters of Retail Business Management.