It’s my one year anniversary with Sarenza today. Before working here I had been a graduate for the last year and had worked various part time jobs, internships and had spent the summer working out of a burger van on the festival circuit. Oh how times have changed!
A whole year has passed since I walked into the office as a slightly intimated British girl, who had moved to Paris two days before and was slightly overwhelmed by it and whose fluency in French stretched to ordering a glass (ok bottle) of Bordeaux red.
Today I am still the girl who finds Paris overwhelming and there are days when my grammatical French is largely questionable, but in the last year if I have learnt anything, it’s about shoes… (and a tiny bit about Sarenza too!) and whilst I’m taking a trip down nostalgia lane I thought I’d share a few pearls of my wisdom:
Give an English girl a beer and she will run for anything.
My favourite Sarenza memory to date is last year’s High Heel Race. It was a cold, cold day in December and snow had disrupted the whole of England and France, meaning the Eurostar was four hours late. When our runners finally got to the hotel, they had ten minutes to get changed, get their make up on and get on the running tracks, with no food and no real organisation as to what they were doing. I don’t know whether it was the alcohol from free bar or the delirium from lack of food, but despite all the setbacks, our English girls just embraced the madness, gave the French a massive run for their money and had the most fun in the process. The energy was incredible and even though the Frenchies scooped the first prize, I think all 16 of our British runners were the real winners!
Parisian women live, breathe and probably die in heels.
I can’t count the number of times we have said this in our blog, but it honestly never ceases to amaze me just how many Parisian women wear high heels on a daily basis, whether it’s on their way to work, out socialising, shopping, walking their obligatory if not slightly stereotypical poodles or even exercising. Ok I made that last one up, but I wouldn’t be surprised if right now, somewhere in Paris there is a lady in heels on a treadmill as I write. The thing that always has me in awe is that they always pull it off with a real sense of sophistication, no flats in the bag, or staggered walking for these pillars of chic society, no matter what the outfit or occasions these ladies look great and walk with pride. I am now convinced that it’s a module in high school and am desperate to take a course myself.
A pair of shoes can change your life.
Ok there is some slight poetic exaggeration there, but honestly, I worked in retail for six years before I came to Sarenza and I have never seen such adoration for any item of clothing more than I have for shoes. For many women (and men I should add) a pretty pair of shoes is like a piece of art. Whether they are a pair of heels to make your legs longer, trainers to pound the streets whilst you run or a pair of ballet pumps to capture some girly charm, shoes seems to give some sense of empowerment that I think no other item of clothing or accessory can.
Work friends can be the family you choose
(I so very nearly went to say shoes, but not even I could live with such a cheesy pun.) Before I started working here I had visions of the office being full of snooty women in high couture and chauvinistic men who took three hour lunch breaks. (I blame the heavily French stereotypes we are fed in films) What I got, in reality was the complete opposite. Sarenza is a really young and happy place to work and everyone’s always there whether you need help at work, a sympathetic ear, or just want to coo over the latest collection of shoes that have arrived. (No, I’m not being paid to say this, although management if you’re reading I do accept cheques.)
Since I stepped in a whole year ago, slightly lost and intimidated, I have been adopted by everyone as the slightly quirky British girl who’s humour I’m not sure they still completely understand. It sounds like a bit of a cliché, but Sarenza has been like my surrogate family, so whilst I’m on a bit of a nostalgic mood, I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone for being so lovely, most of all to Simon, our former UK Manager who took a chance on me and gave me a job in the first place, and of course to Anneca and Eleanor. Every day coming into the office has been like coming into work with two best friends and I couldn’t have asked for a nicer team to enjoy my Parisian adventures with.