Most of my recent blogs usually center around Eshan, Kaleidoscope Investments (Ki) or Disabled Entrepreneurship.
However, I felt the urge to break the mold slightly and share a more light-hearted experience following a brief shopping expedition recently.
A very dear friend of mine had ordered a bag from Chanel in London asked me to go and collect it for her. Not having intentionally shopped in Chanel before, I didn’t have a thought process around what I should wear or how I should present myself.
On a Saturday that I decided to go, I was quite rushed in the morning and had some errands to run so I didn’t have the time to get ready properly. So, I was unshaven and in my tracksuit bottoms.
I parked in a nearby street and started walking towards Chanel. I noticed I was amongst some very well dressed and trendy people who had clearly made an effort to look good. I tried to find some side street routes to the shop so as to avoid seeing too many people on Sloane Street. For those of you that don’t know, Sloane Street on a Saturday also attracts a lot of attention because it’s a like mini drag racing track for people with expensive cars practicing how fast they can go in first gear!
As I neared Chanel I became more self-conscious particularly as I could see the way in which the people that were going in and out were dressed. It was unusual for me to feel this way, as I am not normally one to worry about how people perceive me. Anyway, I walked into the shop and was greeted by a friendly security guard. He directed me to staff members and they were all nice and civilized particularly when I told them who I was there on behalf of, and what I was collecting.
However, the real eye-opener for me was how I was being looked upon by the other shoppers. Almost all of them were dressed in designer wear and jewellery from head to toe and immaculately presented in every possible way. They could have walked out of that shop and gone straight to a party. It was quite incredible to see!
I could tell however, that some were looking at me seemingly wondering what I was doing there. I got the sense that they probably thought I was a driver or the executive assistant to someone very wealthy (which for that moment I essentially was!). I didn’t mind though, as I was fascinated by just observing the buying and selling process that was taking place. It was nothing short of an art form and pure sophistication.
Once the purchase had been concluded I was handed a gigantic Chanel carrier bag with a lovely ornate white rose on it.
As soon as I walked out of the shop… I suddenly noticed a marked change in how I was being looked at. Suddenly people in the street started noticing me… as did people in expensive cars! I even started to get a lot of attention from the ladies!
I found myself subconsciously beginning to feel really quite excited by this. Instead of looking for side street short cuts to get to my car quickly, I was looking for the longest most scenic high street route for maximum exposure and visibility!
As I continued to go into other shops (I had naturally decided to do some window shopping) I was swamped by sales assistants wanting to sell me things. Even the people outside shops that have small samples for you to try and smell were chasing me halfway down the street and that is not an exaggeration.
I was still dressed as I was… but instead of walking slowly with my head down, hoping to go unnoticed, I had somehow acquired a spring to my step as if I was walking on air! Without even realising it my back had become straightened, my chest expanded and I began to exude more confidence. My perspective changed…because of the way people started looking and acknowledging me.
At times, I paused for a few seconds to wonder if carrying a simple bag should actually have such a drastic impact on me. However, those moments were short lived as I was frankly too busy enjoying the attention.
When I did eventually walk back to my car and put the bag in the boot, I sat down and reflected on what had just happened… Who had I become…? What had I become…?
I had noticed a change in my persona and demeanor because I was holding a carrier bag by Chanel… and it was a reaction to how people were perceiving me. I had become more confident and self-assured.
I debated in my mind, whether it was right or it was wrong for me to feel the way I did. I suppose it is good to feel confident and good about yourself because you then perform to the best of your abilities…and if a designer label helps to give you that feeling… and you can afford it, then why not? Right?
However, I did also question how sustainable that feeling and emotion was. I realized that there is a fine line between exuding genuine confidence versus becoming egotistical and arrogant and therefore treating people like you are better than them. It then dawned on me how a respected brand can potentially have the power to make a person become more egotistical without them even realizing they have changed.
I came across a phrase recently called ‘unconscious bias’. It was being used in the context of Diversity in the workplace, but the application is the same. Do we develop an unconscious bias towards people that we know (or don’t know) because of what they do or don’t possess or what they do or don’t wear? It would be very easy to do this, perhaps without even realizing we’re doing it…but that is a philosophical debate for another day.
For now, I wanted to share this moment in all its simplicity and to just say that I loved every minute of that experience.
Thank you, Chanel! 🙂