As a fashion-focused site, we don’t have to tell you that shopping is one of our all-time-favorite activities. The clothes. The shoes. The sales! But, have you ever paused to wonder who’s ringing up your latest score?
Maybe it's an incredible illustrator who spent her first night in New York sleeping on a bench in Bryant Park when her apartment fell through. Or, a single mother, putting herself through college and supporting her 2-year-old daughter by folding designer jeans. Perhaps it's even an artist who’s lived and worked in the East Village since the '70s, and who will regale you with tales about wandering the streets with Cindy Sherman as she wraps up your locally sourced baubles.
Inspired by the stories we uncovered after speaking with waiters and bartenders in New York City, we decided to take a look at the other side of fashion, sitting down with 11 retail workers to talk more than shop. We discovered some amazing people in the process — as one does when living in a city full of them. Their stories were inspiring, hilarious, sad, and totally relatable, and they were all brimming with the hard-fought resilience it takes to live and work here.
So, the next time you're browsing the racks at your favorite neighborhood boutique, stop and chat with the salesperson. You never know what tales could be just across the counter.