Want to Work for a Fitness Fashion Retailer? Find Out What It's Like!

- This is a guest post by Pam Wilson -

When you look good, you feel good. And nothing is more true when working-out. Big, baggy clothes do little to nothing for your self-esteem especially when looking in a mirror in a group fitness class. You want to look sleek, fit and pulled together. And that's what high-quality exercise wear does for you in the correct size.

Since beginning work at the Athleta Store in St. Louis’ Frontenac Plaza in May, I’ve had the opportunity to work with hundreds of women. Simply by listening and asking questions, we often can figure out what someone is looking for. Because we see so many women with as many shapes and sizes, we gradually know what fits each shape and size. At Athleta, we have yoga pants for EVERY SIZE and EVERY WOMAN who wants to wear them.

As part of our training, we continually utilize "fit sessions" to help us understand clothing fit and comfort. I admit, part of the fun of working at Athleta are the fit sessions. We encourage each other to try clothing and then we all evaluate. Often, others like how something fits even more than who has it on. By seeing the clothing on ourselves we understand better how they will fit any woman interested in the item.

One of my favorite parts about working at Athleta is the style everyone brings to the clothing. We are encouraged to wear the clothing when we work (and honestly, nobody has to twist my arm!). Each item looks unique on each woman, and this in turn helps when working with customers.

You have to believe in the product you sell. I couldn't work at Athleta if I didn't feel this way. A huge component of the activewear we sell is comfort--something that's very important to me. Athleta is known for its soft fabrics which make the clothes comfortable and wearable. In addition, Athleta uses natural silver salts to give fabric the “unstinkable” quality which means the fabric has antimicrobial protection and allows you to wear the clothes more and wash less. As a sales associate on the floor, it's my job to know what the best products are so that I can feel good about encouraging our customers to buy them.

These are my 3 favorite Athleta items that stand the test of time:

1. The Relay Capris

They come in a variety of colors and fit women of all shapes and sizes. The waistband is extra wide which I like when working out since I feel it holds in all the extra parts. I’ve given these a try in Zumba, weight lifting classes and on cardio machines. I now own three pair.

2. The Half Zips

These get thrown over tanks to work in as well as work-out clothes to and from the gym. They are comfortable and wash well. I had no idea I would love this style, but I do and I’m living in it.

3. The Chatarunga Tights

They are made from pilayo which breathes, wicks and also has built-in UPF 50+ protection. They also (and this is cool) have a no-shine effect. In addition, they are cool to the touch! They are THE most comfortable tights for any type of exercise.

Are there disadvantages of working for an activewear retailer? Sure. The first 3 months none of us Athleta chicks brought home a paycheck. We spent every cent on clothing. Don’t get me wrong, we all loved it and I think we thought we might lose interest and stop buying….but we haven’t! The company keeps the selections fresh and there are always new choices online. So you have to be careful and curb your in-store spending.

Here’s something interesting which I had no idea would happen. I’ve learned that if I have Athleta on while I work out, I can almost guarantee the next time I see someone, they, too, will have it on. This happens in the store all the time. I call it the Barbie-doll effect. When one of us has something on and someone sees how good it looks, they want to try it too. It doesn't bother me at all but for other woman that could be an issue. Just be prepared for it!

Contemplating applying for a job at your favorite fitness retailer? Here's my advice: make sure it's a good personality fit. I have always loved to work out and adored sportswear. It wouldn't be the same if I worked in a cosmetic shop or ice cream parlor. Wearing quality exercise clothes makes me feel sleek, fit and pulled together. Whatever career/job you choose for yourself should make you feel confident and fulfilled. Mine does. How about yours? I'm happy to answer any questions you might have for me about working at Athleta. Just leave them in the comments section.

Pam Wilson is the author of S.O.S. from Suburbia, which appears as a column on STLToday. She likes to write about out-of-the-ordinary exercise options and considers herself a beach girl at heart even though she hails from Missouri. Pam believes chocolate should be a food group, that Spanx can be your friend and dancing to 80's music will keep you young.



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