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Baby steps to big shoes


Rebecca Parker joined the retail industry as a Sales and Service Associate at 19 and, thanks to her attitude, she now has a big future because Farmers has selected her for management training. Here, she shows how you can create a stimulating and satisfying career by upskilling on-job in the vibrant world of retail.

Five years ago, Rebecca and her partner, an apprentice builder, made the move from Whangarei to Christchurch in search of work.

A couple of years earlier, she had finished high school and completed a year at art school, but the young creative decided she wanted a practical career where she could put her passion into helping others.

Her ideal was a job in retail or a trade where she could get an education, a qualification, and get paid at the same time.

Rebecca’s dream came true in Christchurch with an exciting customer service role at a Farmers’ specialist store. She would be helping mothers, parents, grandparents and others, select the right products for new babies and older children at the bright and spacious Kids by Farmers shop, in Riccarton Mall.

“It was fantastic,” says Rebecca. “I love helping people and providing customers with the best service. And by getting into management you are also helping others grow in their careers. It makes you feel good about your work because what you do actually means something to other people.”

In her first year, Rebecca got into the swing of retail sales and service with Farmers’ robust in-house training, and now she’s boosting her career opportunities with ServiceIQ’s on-job retail training programmes and qualifications.

The skills are real game changers, says Rebecca. “There is a strong focus on product knowledge and if you know what you are talking about, you can sell,” she says. “The programme also teaches you how to upsell and approach customers. The training modules help keep you positive and motivated.”

RebeccaParker There have been heaps of rewarding days spent making it the trusted, go-to store for customers. A favourite experience involved helping a couple who hadn’t a clue what they needed, to choose everything for a nursery and first baby – from clothing, bed clothes and booties to bath, bassinette, cot and a car seat.

It’s the kind of challenge she loves and it comes with a lot of responsibility, says Rebecca: “You really need to know what you are talking about because that child’s safety is in your hands. You need to give parents all of the important information so that they can make an informed decision.” 

The couple bought every product she recommended and walked away happy with over two thousand dollars of baby care.

Today she uses her artistic talents to create attractive instore promotions, and growing management skills to keep her team on their toes by promoting Farmers’ trademark of excellent customer service, says Rebecca.

“You have to make sure the store runs at its best and you need to get the best out of people.” Spoken like a true manager.

For more information, please contact ServiceIQ on 0800 863 693 or email