Day in the life of...Dan Tay, Senior Partner at Uniqlo

Age: Late 20s

Location: Melbourne

So what’s it like to actually work in retail? Dan Tay, a Senior Partner (= assistant manager in normal people terms) at one of Uniqlo’s busiest Australian stores, gave us some insights into what really goes on.

How did you get the role?

I started with the company over two years ago as a partner (sales floor staff). Worked my butt off and after two promotions, got to this position.

What does a typical day look like for you? How does your day start and end?

Pre-work? Well I have five different starting times within a fortnight. 7am, 9:30am, 10am, 10:30am and 1pm. I tend to wake up at least two hours before my start time. Everyday I make myself a kale, goji berry, chia and flax seed smoothie for breakfast and I have a cup of coffee too. If I’m not working at 7am, I go to the gym for a quick work out. It takes up to 15 minutes to get to work if there’s traffic so I leave home accordingly.

I tend to arrive 10 minutes to half an hour before I’m scheduled to start – this is so I can collect information on how the store went the previous day. I also collect information about how the other stores have done in Australia.

Then I check my schedule is for the day- when my breaks will be, etc.

I hold a team talk for the staff who are starting at the same time as me so that we’re all on the same page, and decide a sort of game plan for the day.

Depending on the day, I also devise the Weekly Work Schedules of all our 100+ staff. And the Daily Work Schedules for each day. It’s quite a tedious job as I need to allocate how many people we need by checking how we did last year and last week. We have a formula that I use to work it out and allocate people accordingly.

Once that’s all done, I try to be on the sales floor as much as I can so I can see what has sold, what needs replenishing and to see if I can push sales a bit more.

During break time, I tend to sit in the staff room and hang out with the staff. It’s a really family like environment at work so we just sit, share each other’s lunches and chat.

After work activities depends on what time I finish. If I finish before 4pm I’ll go grocery shopping and tend to meet up with friends. If I finish around 7pm, I head home and make myself some dinner. If it’s later than that, I’ll usually just go home and sleep.

What do you love and not love so much about the job?

As Uniqlo’s a global company, I’ve had the opportunity to work with staff from Japan, America, UK, Paris, Korea, Malaysia and many more. I love that it’s so team orientated.

As it’s a Japanese company there are a lot of cultural differences which we’re trying to work out as we go. For example, in Japan they work 10-14 hour days, 6 days a week at Uniqlo without a problem. In Australia, we have 12 hour limits so it really makes a difference to productivity.

What’s something that people may not know about the job?

To move up in the company, you have to pass a set of evaluations before sitting an exam. It’s not your average retail job.

We have a staff manual, which is basically the Uniqlo bible, on things to do and the processes as to how to do each and every thing, so you’re evaluated on that.

Tell me a funny story from your time working at Uniqlo.

We have a strict tidying of sales floor check list as I was getting a staff member to clean up a area, they pointed out something was wrong with this fixture. Turns out a customer hooked an actual banana to the fixture like it’s a product we sell!