Written by: Chelsea Purdie
When thinking of careers in retail, a common misconception is the idea that retail jobs are unfulfilling, low wage jobs that fail to foster individual growth and development. Laura Kinghorn-Smythe’s career path is the perfect example as to why this is not true.
Laura, a University of Alberta Alumni, began her retail career working as a Sales Associate at Guess while in school. She spent many years developing with the company, progressing from Sales Associate, to Assistant Manager, to Store Manager, to General Manager, to then becoming the District Training Manager for Guess. Laura also dabbled in luxury retail, spending a short time as Boutique Manager for Louis Vuitton. Currently Laura is the Director for Tiffany & Co., a job she was recruited for five and half years ago. Laura says her Human Resource major and Business Law minor that she received from the Alberta School of Business help her every day to excel in her job.
With her current job at Tiffany, Laura works in the mall which enables her to see her clients on a daily basis, and affect the business “hands on.” She believes that being on the front line with the clients is arguably the most important role in retail. The worst stereotype about retail careers, in Laura’s opinion, is the idea that you cannot have a lucrative career in retail, or you cannot travel and explore the world or do great things. Laura defies this stereotype in her position with Tiffany, mentioning that she travels anywhere from 12-20 times per year to locations around the world. Her favorite destination to travel to with work is New York, where she takes clients to eat at the flagship store for Breakfast at Tiffany’s!
Laura’s advice to students today is to have a job while you’re in school and start to pursue what it is you think you’ll do when you graduate. And to own pearls! Because every girl needs pearls.