For full functionality on this website it is necessary for a browser that supports JavaScript to be used. Please upgrade to browser that supports JavaScript to use all the features of this website.

Click here to find out more

This website uses cookies. We use cookies to give you the best experience. If you continue using our website, we will assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on this website. Cookie Policy

Women In Pawnbroking: A Spotlight

Published: 06 Mar 2020

March is Women’s History Month, which is an annual celebration of women all over the world. You’re likely to spot lots of celebrations, promotions and events as the month goes on, from a wide range of businesses, organisations and charities. As this month also hosts International Women’s Day on Sunday 8th March, we thought we’d shine a spotlight on a few of the amazing women we are lucky enough to have working for us here at H&T.

Women’s History Month is all about highlighting the contributions women make in the world; whether that was 200 years ago or just the other day.  The theme for this year is #EachForEqual which focuses on the fact that we are all parts of a whole:

 ‘Our individual actions, conversations, behaviours and mindsets can have an impact on our larger society. Collectively, we can make change happen. Collectively, we can each help to create a gender equal world.’

We’ve picked five women who work for us in our H&T stores to feature in this two-part blog. Their roles vary from Store Colleague to Area Manager, and each one of them has taken a different journey to get to where they are. As is the case with all of us, they’ve also been supported and inspired along the way by many different women – this blog is a celebration of what they do, how they got here and the women who have helped to make their careers possible.

Let’s meet our first Woman in Pawnbroking…

Sue - Bolton, Store Manager

 

Describe a typical day in your role at H&T

When I arrive at work I have a briefing with the team; we then set the store up for opening at 9am.

Once the doors are open, my role is mainly being a host on the shop floor. A typical day for me involves meeting and greeting the customers, offering refreshments, and having a general chat. It’s a great way to make friends and promote our services that they may not be aware of.

I try to make it simpler for my team and our customers by helping out in other areas when I’m needed, which includes negotiating prices for gold, copying ID, and helping customers with paperwork for all services. I also make sure customers are in the right place in the store, as we have a separate till for travel money, for example.

By being the host I can see and hear everything in store, whether it be the retail area or the finance area, so I can observe and feedback to my team on a consistent basis.

This might seem like a simple role on paper, however it’s very demanding. It takes a long time to get the host role working correctly, and every day I learn more and more. I love my role – it’s so interesting chatting to such a variety of different people, and it’s amazing how much we all have in common, at the end of the day. You really do make lots of new friends at H&T.

How did you get your job at H&T?

I heard about my role from a friend, who used to work here at H&T but has since moved on.

Did you have support from any particular women in regards to your role at H&T?

Yes - Jean, my Area Manager. Jean has helped and supported me in so many ways during her time managing our area. She has helped me to settle into the hosting role, and always has time to listen and chat. She has been an amazing mentor.

Who are the women you most admire in the world and why?

There is only one lady that springs to mind: my mum. She is the most positive person ever - whatever happens in life she always remains upbeat and happy. When someone is down, she can bring them straight back up. Nothing is too much trouble for her; she really is amazing!

 

Sometimes we find support from the women we have known all our lives, and other times the support comes from women who are already treading the path you’ve chosen. The potential for working as a team is everywhere, and your network could be bigger than you realise.

Let’s meet our second Woman in Pawnbroking:

Image for Image

Kerry - Hamilton, Store Manager

 

Describe a typical day in your role

A typical day for me would start with having a 5-minute morning briefing with my wonderful, enthusiastic team. We take turns to pick a motivational quote to inspire us to give our best, and music certainly helps set the shop’s energy levels on a high.

From 9am onwards it’s all about the customers. Supporting my team during the working day is important to me; it ensures we’re giving our customers the best store experience of their lives!

I’ll use whatever time is left of my break - after eating my (mostly) healthy lunch - to read whatever book I have going at the time; my favourites are fictional crime and thriller novels. I’ll then make sure we are on top of everything else that needs doing for the day.

I keep in touch with our other stores via our fantastic WhatsApp group (that pings non-stop with everyone’s success stories) and I use any downtime throughout the day to help develop myself and my team. We do regular ‘hands on’ training, but I also make good use of the brilliant online training system we have here, called ‘H&Teach me'. We end the day by balancing the tills, filing our paperwork and making sure the shop is ship-shape and ready to go all over again tomorrow!

The most enjoyable thing about my role is being able to help people. The best thing is being able to provide a comfortable environment where everyone feels welcomed, so our customers walk away from us feeling valued and genuinely cared about. The enjoyment I get from helping people extends to my team - I love being able to guide them to success.

How did you get your job at H&T?

My journey with H&T began as a part-time store colleague almost 8 years ago when I was 19 and studying for my degree in Education & Social Services. My partner, whilst cleaning the windows at our local H&T branch, heard that they were looking for a part time staff member.

I had never been in a pawnbrokers before and my only expectations were of what I had seen on ‘Pawn Stars’ on the TV, but I knew I enjoyed customer facing roles so I jumped at the chance to apply. Every day was a learning day and I remember my first year as a blur of learning the processes, jewellery descriptions and industry lingo!

My true passion for this business became apparent when I realised I was dragging myself to university, but I would bounce out of bed any day I was due to come to work. After I got my degree I went on to work full time in that branch, before joining the team in Springburn as a deputy manager.  I spent 3 happy years here with my amazing team Mary, Irene, Liz and Amanda. I finally flew the nest last year, when I landed my ‘big girl’ manager’s job in the newly established Hamilton branch!

 

Did you have support from any particular women in regards to your role at H&T?

It would be utterly impossible for me to attribute where I am in my career today to just one woman with H&T. There are so many women in this business who have inspired me to progress to reach this stage and have given me guidance.

Janey, my first manager is a huge inspiration to me, she is so knowledgeable about jewellery, takes pride in her work and just genuinely loves her job. Other supportive friends & colleagues have been Caroline (who never let me get too overwhelmed at the beginning – she’s a strong woman), Mary Poole (who taught me I can’t do everything by myself and preparing me for moving on), Teena (who has helped so much over the years gave me such helpful pep talks early on when I really needed them), Alice (who took an active interest in my management journey and supported me through my MDP) and  Zoe (who was so empathetic during store visits whilst I was training, and teaching me that the nerves won’t last forever ).

Who are the women you most admire in the world and why?

I am lucky to have women in my personal life who I admire greatly for many reasons; their attitudes to life, strength in overcoming hurdles and just being authentically good people. My best friend since childhood, Nicole (who is coincidentally the deputy manager of the East Kilbride H&T branch) has had a harder hand dealt than most, but she’s never let it get on top of her. After everything she has been through, I love that she is always there as a support to everyone else and has their feelings in mind. She looks after everyone else and it's also my job to look after her.

I have so much respect for my mum, Marion who in her 40s decided it was time to carve out a new career for herself from scratch. After not being in education for such a long time, she went back to university and worked tirelessly to qualify as a nurse. She is amazing at her job, and her stories of compassion for her patients make me so proud to be her daughter. She manages to laugh through the hard times, never caves in to life's pressures and always makes sure she has time to dedicate to her family, through all the night classes, essays and 12-hour night shifts.

I think it’s so important to recognise the traits in those closest to you that you admire, because you can see with your own two eyes the positive impact it can have on everyone around them.

 

Learning from those women who provide support is a great way to cultivate those positive traits in ourselves – whether we’re women or not. In turn, we’ll then have the tools to support those we are grateful for right back, and to create a strong network of support which reaches right across the world.

In our second installment, we’ll be hearing from three more of our inspirational Women in Pawnbroking and seeing what we can learn from their journey into this fascinating industry.