We interviewed Levi’s Manager, Sonia Corominola
Current Manager of 8 Levi’s stores. Sonia Corominola began working in La Maquinista store as a staff, in a few months she became Assistant Manager of La Maquinista Dockers and finally returned to Levi’s La Maquinista as Manager in less than a year.
She remained in this position for about 5 years until the vacancy of store Supervisor arose. “Grup Galceran gave me the opportunity to accept the challenge. I am very grateful, this way I have been able to grow both professionally and personally. I have been meeting amazing people who believe in this project and are fighting to keep it afloat. We have created a great little family ”, comments Sonia.
Experience in Grup Galceran / Levi’s
The American brand Levi’s has been with Grup Galceran for 20 years now, opening stores throughout the Spanish territory. What do you think is the reason for this success in the brand's loyalty with us?
Thanks to the close collaborations between Levi’s and Grup Galceran, an atmosphere of trust has been generated, supported as well by the good management carried out throughout these years. We have proven to be excellent ambassadors for the brand, taking care of it, and making the values that represent the brand so much our own.
Is this great deal with Levi’s reflected in the store in any way?
Yes, this relationship is reflected in the store, translated into a passion for the brand, and I'm not just talking about fashion, I'm talking about the philosophy of life. And this is great, as it has passed on to the customer. We don't just sell fashion, we sell values and lifestyles!
Sonia, you have also been managing Levi’s stores for 14 years, tell us about the changes you have experienced since you opened the first store.
I have experienced some changes yes .. :) One of the most important has been the boom in online sales. This concept was unthinkable a few years ago and now, it is our main competitor. We have to constantly reinvent ourselves in order to capture consumer's attention. The most important change on an emotional level, with no doubt, has been the change in the way of working before and after the appearance of Covid-19. Introducing the disinfection protocols, the capacity, and the social distance in the stores have all been big changes.
You currently manage 8 stores as Manager, what is the day to day of the store?
Right now, with the socioeconomic situation that we are going through due to Covid-19, the day-to-day of the stores is focused on converting all the store traffic that is generated into sales. All the efforts of the store teams are focused on optimizing each potential customer to the maximum. I am very proud of them since although the drop in sales that we are suffering, they are fighting so that the numbers are the best as possible, maintaining their motivation and the desire to improve results every day.
A great part of the success of a store is the staff, and at Grup Galceran we strive to train and motivate our staff to become brand ambassadors. Tell us about the team training and management of Levi’s stores.
At Levi’s, training is one of the most important pillars as we sell history and quality. The brand provides access to courses and detailed training on products and fabrics so that the customer service is excellent and therefore achieve the maximum professionalism of the teams. It also provides a walk through its history to learn about the origins and fun facts that we can share with consumers.
At Grup Galceran, most of the employees have been with the company for many years. Does it also happen in Levi’s stores? Are they for internal promotion?
Yes. It's common to be able to grow within the company if you have the necessary skills demanded in the vacant position. Job offers are first communicated internally to see if we already have the profile we need within our staff.
In the Levi’s store in Paseo de Gracia you have a Print Bar and a Taylor corner to customize the pieces. Let's talk about the in-store experience, how do you think this benefits?
They are two tools that help a lot to give the brand visibility and enhance exclusivity, especially customization, which are not only in Paseo de Gracia but there are several stores which have Taylor, this helps the customer to turn a common piece into something unique and personalized by and for him.
The Print Bar is a very good tool that only Paseo and some stores in Madrid have for now. It does not limit itself to prints with different logos nor the possibility of putting the name you want on a piece, Levi’s also plays with limited printing capsules (Peanuts, Star Wars, Mario Bros…) every now and then to generate novelty and purchase impulses.
From your experience you must have learned a lot along the way, tell us about the key to success, if it exists, on how to manage a store?
Experience is a great school for everyone, full of successes and mistakes, mistakes that you learn from, and that make you constantly improve. One of the greatest successes when managing a store is integrating the team in an inclusive way, making them a participant in the achievements and motivating them to take on accessible challenges. It is very important to enhance the possibilities that each component can offer. With this clear, you optimize the work and generate synergies that are very positive for the proper functioning of a store.
As for store staff, what would you recommend to a person starting out in retail, specifically in a Levi’s store?
To observe, and absorb all the knowledge that Levi’s provides. Have an open mind to learn from the people around, whether they are colleagues or the consumers themselves. All in all, be prepared to live a new experience every day.
As a customer, what benefits me from going to the store versus online?
In Levi’s stores you will find professionalism and excellence in customer service. A magnificent work environment that impregnates the environment and is transmitted to the consumer. This is the big difference with the online sales.
Sonia, how do you imagine retail in 5 years?
Retail is changing exponentially in a very short period of time. I don't know how it will be in 5 years, I only know that we will have to be able to reinvent ourselves and adapt to the changes that arise. We must be prepared and be chameleonic!