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Working in the Gallery

by Olivia Lu 2009

At the beginning of my second semester at the university in California, the financial crisis environment caused so many people to lose their jobs. So it was hard for an international student to find a job. When I talked to Carmen and Jerry Slack about the situation I met, they tried their best and helped me find work in a gallery at an internship job. Although this job didn't give me a high salary, it gave me something much more precious, valuable work experience. The first day on the job, the supervisor told me about the price of handcraft articles, how to give discount to the clients and of course some "negotiation tricks". Most of the handcraft articles are oil paintings; others were bags, cards and national costumes. I rearranged the oil paintings on my own terms. I tried to display all the beautiful paintings as far as possible.

With everything was done, I was waiting for my first client. It was lucky for me that I met the first client at my first working day. They are a pair of mother and daughter, and we recognized that we took the same bus that morning with each other. So we got familiar with each other quickly. First, they told me that they just want to browse around. According to their behavior, I thought they really want to get something from the gallery. I just stood behind the counter and ready to offer help at any time. The daughter came to me and told me that they wanted to buy some pictures for their new living room and kitchen. They also told me about the color of the wall. I figured out what kind of theme and color they want from the picture and found everything in accordance with their requirements. The mother was a little picky, she comparing all the pictures for a very long time. Her daughter seemed a little embarrassed. As my duty was helping them to find the right pictures, I tried my best to let them feel comfort when they spent a long time to choose. Finally, they got what they want and I felt some achievability because they paid attention to my suggestion and really considered of it.

My supervisor satisfied with my appearance and gave them some discount to them initiatively. In order to inform the clients when we got some new pictures, we leave the phone number to each other. Another typical client was with great passion. He was very excited when he came in the gallery and he told me that he had tried to find this gallery for a long time. I was so glad that the gallery has such faithful client. He knew perfectly what he wanted and quickly referred to all the paintings. He picked his favorite works and promised that he would come again.

Although under the bad economic environment, people pay less attention to the art. Living goods are the most important things in their lives. The gallery I worked doesn't have as many clients as other stores. I tried different schedule to find out when the tide of patronage is high and also tried different ways to enhance sales achievement. I can learn how to talk with the clients and how to handle problems. This practicing working experience really helps me to build up my confidence in the job market.

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