It is so much fun when you see friends end up at a job they love. My friend Bigi Sann absolutely loves her job as customer service manager at the fitness fashion boutique, Bandier. Bigi found Bandier on Instagram and made it her mission to work there. Her passion for fitness, fashion, music, and helping people has made her so successful in her role.
Bigi Sann, Customer Service Manager, Bandier
How did you end up at Bandier?
I found Bandier on Instagram! In the summer of 2014, I was living in the Hamptons for my previous job and Ashley Spivey kept posting these crazy printed leggings and tagging Bandier. I knew I had to check this place out. I finally made the drive from East Hampton to Southampton (if you know the Hamptons, then you know this can be a trip) and had my first shopping experience with Bandier.
Flash forward to the fall when I was back in the city and saw on Instagram that Bandier was opening a pop up on my street. This was just too good! Shortly after, I wandered in, made a purchase, and flat out asked the founder, Jennifer Bandier if they were still hiring as she rang me up for my purchase. And the rest is history!
Within a week, I was working on the sales floor and having the time of my life. I had so much in common with the girls I worked with and it was a positive and fun environment. After sitting behind a desk for two years, it was liberating to bounce around in activewear while Drake blasted through the store. It also gave me the opportunity to do what I loved best—help people. When I wasn’t on the floor, I found myself managing the store’s email account and wish list. I would notify clients when merchandise came back into stock. My goal was to make the personal shopping experience as seamless as possible from start to finish. I would constantly text pictures of new merchandise to my clients and then mail or deliver them within NYC. To this day, I still have not met some of my favorite clients, but I maintain regular contact with them and, of course, we follow each other on Instagram!
Did you always know that you wanted to work in the fitness space?
I didn’t! I have always gravitated towards jobs that involve helping people. I majored in psychology at The University of Tampa and was the vice president of new member education for my sorority, Delta Zeta. I have my master’s in school counseling. My first “real job” was managing client accounts for a high-end babysitting agency where I built and maintained close relationships with the families. I also had a summer job where my title was the director of happiness—true story.
That being said, movement has always been a huge part of my life. I took my first ballet class at age two and throughout middle school and high school, dance was my sport. In college, I minored in dance and taught hip hop classes at the fitness center on campus. When I moved to NYC, I starting weight training which opened my world into boutique fitness. It seemed like a perfect match to work for a company that represented three things that I connect to so strongly: Fashion, fitness, and music.
How did you land your role? What was the hiring process like?
I worked on the floor at the Flatiron location for six months. During this time, there were talks of launching an ecommerce site, and I expressed interest in growing with the company. Since I was managing our store email account and taking such good care of clients, it seemed only natural that I would continue building those relationships by managing customer service for the ecommerce site. I feel very lucky to be able to say that I was part of a small team that launched our website in May of 2015!
What is a day as Bigi like? Please walk me through a day!
How about today? I kicked off humpday at one of my favorite places to workout, The Fhitting Room! My coworker, Jack and I took Jason and Amanda’s 8 am class. I left feeling refreshed (and starving). The majority of my day was then spent in our corporate headquarters doing a variety of tasks followed by a Trader Joe’s trip which happens at least twice a week.
What are your responsibilities as customer service manager at Bandier?
My responsibilities vary in task but revolve solely around the clients and their experience with Bandier. This could be anything from processing refunds, to tracking an order, to locating an item in one of our stores, and the list goes on and on. I’ve dealt with irate clients, and I’ve also dealt with kind clients who are just as passionate about our brand as I am.
My favorite task is helping clients pick out merchandise on the site and answering product related questions. Being so familiar with the brands that we carry has allowed me to provide clients with honest feedback, in turn gaining their trust. You’ll often hear me say, “I love those leggings, I’m wearing them right now!” My experience in the store 110% prepared me to do my job. As a wise man once said, “Started from the bottom now we here!”
What is your favorite thing about working at Bandier?
It’s fun! I am very grateful to work alongside people that I have so much in common with and it’s thrilling to be part of a growing company from (almost) the beginning of it’s existence. Working for Bandier has given me the opportunity to make so many connections in the fitness industry, and I certainly can’t complain about living in leggings!
What has been your proudest moment from your career so far?
Not throwing up after Tonehouse. (Kidding.) In all seriousness, I feel most proud of creating a role for myself using my best skills at a company that I am so passionate about. I still remember sitting down for my interview almost a year and a half ago and saying, “I have zero retail experience, but I know how to work with people and build relationships.”
What is your workout routine? How do you make time for fitness?
Fitness is a huge part of my life; sometimes it feels like my day is built around my workout. I try to work out five or six times a week and love taking classes with my coworkers. Since I started working for Bandier, I have tried so many workouts in NYC but most of my time is spent at SoulCycle and The Fhitting Room. Both studios are so special to me and have made me a stronger person in every way. (All the feelings!)
Your Instagram is one of my favorites to follow because you are always going to fun fitness classes in NYC. What are some of your favorite studios?
Thank you! I’m Insta obsessed. Not only did I find my job on there, but it’s how I met one of my best friends. And yes, we went to a fitness class on our first “friend date.” In addition to SoulCycle and The Fhitting Room. I love getting back to my dance roots at 305 Fitness or with Nicole Winhoffer at Studio B, Bandier’s own fitness studio! I also used to be scared of the treadmill before I went to Barry’s Bootcamp but now our relationship is going strong…most of the time.
What is your advice for someone who hopes to work at Bandier?
You should love printed leggings and rap music! But on a serious note, if you want to work for a company where you know everyone and they feel like your family, Bandier is the place to be. I tried not to be cheesy, but it just happened.
What is the most important characteristic that someone needs to be successful in your role?
I have a few: Organized, detail oriented, and the four P’s (personable, patient, professional, and passionate). Follow up is also a huge part of the job and my natural instinct to follow up has contributed to my personal touch and genuine care for clients. You should also have a killer to-do list at all times.
What is one thing that you wish you had known when you were starting out your career?
No matter how hard you try, you can’t please everyone. I know. I know. This is something that people may think should have been a given. But is it obvious that I’m a people pleaser? It’s part of the job description!
What is on your desk right now?
I don’t have a desk in my apartment, but at the office my desk has a ton of necessary accessories (and usually really good snacks). My favorite item is a Kate Spade notebook that says, “She is quick and curious and playful and strong.” I bought it for myself when I transitioned to the ecommerce team.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Progress, not perfection.
What is your career advice for other young professional women?
Networking is everything. And a firm handshake leaves a great first impression.