Every month, Jobboom profiles an employer that is a leader in their industry to shed some light on the business cultures, staffing needs and recruitment methods of top organizations. This month we look at Marie Claire.
Marie Claire is one of the largest retailers of women’s clothes in Quebec. With more than 300 stores in operation across Canada’s eastern provinces, the family business has established an enviable reputation in the apparel business through their ambition to create clothes that are inspired by European fashion and the North American lifestyle. Marie Claire was founded in 1965 in Sainte-Hyacinthe by Marie Claire and Réal Lafrance and the company celebrated their 50th anniversary last year.
We spoke with Nathalie Riopel, Vice-President of Operations for Marie Claire.
JOBBOOM What are the main types of employment available with Marie Claire?
Nathalie Riopel Our company counts more than 300 retail stores, located mainly in Quebec. Most of the positions available at our stores are related to sales: we hire sales assistants, assistant managers and managers, all of whom are passionate about fashion.
At our headquarters, in addition to positions in administration we employ designers, apparel technicians, and procurement specialists. Everything at Marie Claire is handled in Quebec, from product development to negotiating with suppliers. We have one overseas production facility and one local facility in Quebec, which we are very proud of. We also have a team of in-house seamstresses, who produce samples.
JOBBOOM What positions do you need to fill on a regular basis?
N.R. Because we are in the fashion industry and make women’s clothing, we hire a lot of women. Many of our employees have young kids, and so we are often looking to have positions filled during a maternity leave. At our boutiques we frequently hire people for entry-level sales positions; these employees have many opportunities for promotion if they are motivated individuals!
JOBBOOM What are the principal values that drive Marie Claire?
N.R. We are a Quebecois family business, which inspires us to focus on respecting our employees and our clients. We want to have relationships with our customers based on respect, offering quality products and good advice, so that our customers feel good and beautiful in their clothes. The working environment at Marie Claire is very pleasant, as well.
JOBBOOM What are some of the essential qualities you look for in your employees?
N.R. In our boutiques, the first contact that a customer has with a staff member will define the customer’s experience. Knowing this, we seek out employees who are passionate, amiable and who know how to exceed customer expectations. Essential qualities for employees include a desire to work hard, creativity and without a doubt punctuality. It goes without saying that a strong sense of teamwork is essential. Our employees need to not only understand what is happening in the chain of command, but also to be interested in every aspect of our company. A focus on doing good work and attention to detail ensures that our products are of the highest quality.
JOBBOOM What distinguishes Marie Claire from other employers?
N.R. Our teams are tightly-knit and offer a 360 degree employment experience compared with other employers in the apparel sector. Our staff work in multidisciplinary teams, a system that gives them a comprehensive overview of the product creation process. The individual ambitions of every employee are taken into account at Marie Claire, and those who would like to go above and beyond their prescribed duties are encouraged to do so.
JOBBOOM What does Marie Claire do to attract and retain talent?
N.R. Certainly, our employees who are passionate about fashion are happy about the rebates on Marie Claire clothes that they benefit from. At a deeper level, our employees appreciate the supportive working environment that surrounds them and the great people they work with. The atmosphere at Marie Claire is enjoyable, and our employees often organize activities to celebrate the birthdays of their colleagues.
We also offer the opportunity for people with little work experience to get a good job, which can lead to the possibility of a long-term career with us. Since our hierarchy isn’t quite as rigid as in other organizations, it allows people to evolve and grow.
JOBBOOM What motivates your employees?
N.R. Our employees are very proud to work for a Quebecois company. As a family company, we put an emphasis on maintaining a healthy work-life balance and we stay focused on the well-being of our employees. The working schedules we offer are fixed, which is rare in the fashion apparel industry. Our employees are happy to get to work in the morning knowing that they’ll be heading back home at 5pm.
JOBBOOM What kind of career advancement possibilities are available with Marie Claire?
N.R. At Marie Claire, it’s up to each individual employee to take the reins of their career in hand. We wait for advancement requests to come to us from our staff, and we don’t assume that someone would be interested in a different position unless they’ve demonstrated interest. We are very open and meet regularly with our employees to give them the opportunity to raise any questions or ideas with management.
Thanks to our six unique brands, we are able to offer opportunities for advancement to our employees on a consistent basis. If a position becomes available at a boutique close to an employee, we offer them the chance to change locations. At Marie Claire, we are constantly evolving – and we always keep employees with potential close to the action.