Over the years, I’ve come to enjoy tagging along on my father’s business trips more and more. My sister and I love the hotels, good food and the branded freebies, but recently I’ve also come to enjoy the whole experience just a little bit more. I find myself tuning out and retreating into a corner with a book less and less.
The first time I followed him to Thailand and Guangzhou (he was still doing a lot of women’s fashion back in 2003), I was literally nodding off as he visited an endless number of almost similiar shops. I didn’t get it when he said it was an interesting, challenging and even exciting industry. It seemed boring and “beneath me” to an idealistic, doctor wannabe 14-year-old. Now I realise that sometimes, life throws stuff at you, and you don’t get to choose your industry–not to be pessimistic or what.
As I learnt to become more observant (my father still frowns upon my inattentiveness to detail…and my severe lack of general knowledge as an undergraduate among other things haha) on these trips, I began to see that fashion retail could be quite a cool business indeed, depending on how you approached it. I definitely started to see how competitive it all was as I attended the meetings of different brands and sat in on the different presentations, basked in the different atmospheres. You could really tell the difference, say, between Adidas, and uhm, brand X. Sometimes, the excitement just wasn’t there. I guess it flows all the way down to the consumers.
I began paying attention in preorder meetings, learning about shoe technology (the level they have taken sports technology to these days!), noting the way my father decided on his orders, and joining conversations over (free)lunch. I still can’t fully engage, but at least I don’t feel so disconnected with what my father does anymore. Yeah, I think young people should squeeze as much knowledge/experience/wisdom from their parents as they can. Learning this way is fun.
My dad also happens to have this whole collection of books at home which I estimate he has only read about 40% of…I’m trying to start reading his books in an attempt to get back his money’s worth 😀 and because I don’t have good reading material anymore. I don’t like buying books for myself unless they’re the reflective kind–they cost a bomb and I end up only reading most of them ONCE. I don’t mind buying books for people, though. A library would work well except our state library is really far, and not very well stocked.
So I’m reading What I Learned from Sam Walton and Freakonomics (really overdue, this one).
Hahahaha I can’t believe I’m actually reading a business book. And liking it. I never thought the day would come. Do you think I’ll end up in my family business? What are the chances? Hahahaha. 😀 (No, I’m not seriously thinking about it lah.)