There are not many brands that I have an emotional connection with. I mean, my love for Excel knows no bounds, but aside from that my relationship with brands tends to be a lot more transactional. PANDORA however, PANDORA is the exception. You may know it as the Danish jewellery brand making memory filled charm bracelets, but for me it is what set me on my current career path years before I knew it.
Throughout university I worked at a jewellery store, three years of lectures in the morning and diamonds in the afternoon. It was a great introduction to working life …as working with customers often is. I learned that you can’t judge a book by its cover, you can always describe something hopelessly ugly as ‘unique’ when someone asks (and you don’t want to lose the sale) and most importantly that sapphires come in many colours but ‘ruby’ is the only sapphire to have its own name because it was prized in India.
About a year into my time selling jewellery we got PANDORA in the store. I think we were one of the first stores in NZ to be a reseller so it was a big deal. I loved selling it because you heard such incredible stories of love, achievement and hope as customers picked out their charms. My favourite was a guy who filled an entire bracelet for his wife of 50 years, with each charm representing an important milestone in their relationship. So many stories, so many tears.
So how did selling PANDORA predict my future career? For those who don’t know, after going down a few wrong paths I have ended up as a business analyst. It is the perfect job in my eyes; I deal with fixing processes, creatively expressing data and making businesses work more efficiently. I freakin love it.
The problem that we had back in the jewellery store was that PANDORA had literally hundreds of different charms, rings, earrings and bracelets. When we first got them we kept all the beads in little bags in a big plastic box. It was a nightmare to find the one specific charm full of meaning you were after in a sea of plastic bags. The situation was even more of a nightmare when it came to ordering the charms, there was no easy way of knowing what stock levels were like (we were all manual back in the day with handwritten receipts and everything, no computers to do the thinking for you).
Being the manager on a very quiet Sunday I took this and designed a stocktaking system. Looking back it is really adorable, laminated pages and whiteboard markers, but at the time it made life easier and we used it until the store got a computer system. This little system was my first taste at improving business processes, a job that I now own and love. PANDORA will always own a warm fuzzy place in my heart for giving me a taste of my future years before I understood the importance and joy of a VLOOKUP.
But why am I blogging about them now? PANDORA have just announced their collaboration with Disney, something that customers were asking for all those years ago in little old New Zealand. There is a new range of charms celebrating the castle, the carriage, the characters and the magic that is Disney. I am actually heading to Disneyworld next year, so this partnership is just all kinds of amazing. PANDORA invited me to a Beauty and the Beast themed afternoon tea to celebrate the launch, and I can’t say how grateful I am to be given this beautiful walk down memory lane.