I worked at Teavana full-time (More than 3 years)
it has a ton of potential for personal growth. the pay wasn't bad for retail. good benifits, fast past sales environment, if your good with people you'll do great with the job
once starbucks took over. the sales goals got harder and hard to meet. they changed the sales process and how the company was functioning on a day to day basis. just didn't seem like the same teavana. upper management like area managers and regional directors can be very rude. if your store isn't doing well its completely blamed on the manager. without any outside factors
Advice to Management
spend more time in your stores.
I worked at Teavana full-time (Less than a year)
-Workplace Environment: The way corporate set up the work model for the business makes it a very fun place to work. The only downside is being on sample cart duty (which I will cover in the cons). The sales + quota based bonus pay structure is nice considering they only pay $8.00/h (at least in Ohio that is). The music that plays in store is very tranquil and peaceful which is a nice touch as opposed to other retail stores which will play music like pop and rock. Also unlimited free tea while on the clock is an awesome perk as well.
-Product you're Selling: They don't lie when they say Teavana tea is of the top quality in the world. Their tea is from the top 1% of the best crop in the world and the quality shows in the product with every cup you make. Their massive array of loose leaf tea provides a delicious and healthy alternative to coffee, soda, and energy drinks to get your daily caffeine needs. Their large selection of Whites, Greens, Oolongs, Blacks, Herbals, Roibas', and Mattes provide a great selection of flavors for any dietary wants/needs. Their blooming flower teas are hands down one of the most creative, innovative, and beautiful ways to drink tea I've ever seen. Their tea is expensive but worth every penny! You can feel confident when selling that you are delivering the best of the best. Also their cast iron tea sets are beautifully designed and constructed with the best practices to last as a hand me down for many generations.
-Overall Pros: You will find that the workplace environment, and products are top notch and make it a really nice place to work. (I would recommend this to a teenager/young adult looking for something part time to pay bills or make it through college. This is definitely not a career.)
-Management Overview: Due to the fact that Teavana promotes within you will find that the management WAS teenagers/young adults who started working there for extra cash or to pay their way through college and ended up getting promoted up. It is because of this that management (at least at the 3 locations in Columbus OH I worked at) can be very immature and at times disrespectful. They would steal sales, put you on undesirable positions without giving you a break so they could stand around and do nothing, and shrug it off when you came to them directly with a complaint on their behavior in the attempt to voice your concerns and improve the "sales team" mentality. Just a pointer for the managers... A team doesn't eat its teammates alive...
-Stolen Sales: I cannot tell you how many times I would have a manager or assistant manager shark (steal) a sale from me and other sales team members when you weren't looking. I would bring the customer in, show them around, answer questions, and leave them to look around after doing everything I needed. No shopper likes being followed around by a sales associate so it is obviously best practice to give them a few minutes to look at merchandise before jumping in to sell them on things. It was ridiculous how many times I would be 6-8 feet away from my customer giving them a chance to browse and a manager/assistant manager would run over to them and either close them or pester them until they blew my sale. When anyone would try to talk to them they would say "The sales expectation is really high this month for sales bonuses and it is going to look bad if employees are getting them and management is not" ....... ARE YOU SERIOUS?? They were stealing our sales to make sure they got their bonuses so that they looked good in the eyes of corporate and to ensure their staff wasn't putting up better numbers than them. That is just sickening in my opinion.
-Sample Cart: Okay so everyone knows of the sample carts out front of every Teavana that has the two samples. Obviously this cart is there to bring business in and I can attest that it works. I enjoyed working the sample cart because it was a great way to bring someone in and get them sold on a product. I have no problem with that. My problem is that the Teavana I spent majority of my time working at was at the Mall at Tuttle Crossing which had LITTLE TO NO foot traffic Monday-Friday between the hours of 9a.m-6p.m which was when all sales associate shifts were since only management/team leads can close the store which is the hours of 6p.m-9p.m (The only time during the week you actually get a decent amount of customers). The problem? The management would have the sales associates stand at that cart for 3-5 hours STRAIGHT with pretty much no one walking by because they didn't want to do it. Sample cart shifts are supposed to rotate every 20 minutes. Then of course if you do manage by some miracle of god to bring someone in while on sample cart, the management would just steal your sale anyways..... Absolutely appalling.
-Base Pay + Quota Based Bonuses: Although this is a nice perk to help compensate the fact that you are getting paid next to nothing, the quota's are very high because they are based off of the sales made on that day last year. It is a fact that can be tracked that every year American's are spending less and less money because this recession is getting worse and worse. So every year it becomes harder and harder to hit these quotas. No harder and harder does NOT by any mean mean impossible. This is made impossible however by the constant theft of sales by management. If management didn't steal sales it would absolutely be doable with how expensive the products are at Teavana. There is NO reason why any associate who works hard and has a grasp on sales tactics and techniques could not attain their monthly bonus.
To put it into perspective, I worked there 9 months and only hit my bonus once. I am a phenomenal sales person who in the last year built and am continuing to maintain an entire client base portfolio and am now earning 115k+ a year working for a Freight Brokerage Firm. So why couldn't I get the monthly bonus? Management is why.
-Product Cost (Yes it is also a con): The merchandise is expensive... like really expensive. Selling just about anything there is not a difficult task if like I said before you have experience in sales. One type of products are almost impossible to sell however. Everything is easily justified based off the quality (i.e teas, sugar, gift sets, glass teaware, ceramic teaware, etc.) however their cast iron is RIDICULOUSLY priced. Don't get me wrong their cast iron is nice, and some of the best quality you will get... but the price is absurd. Some of their cast iron teapots are $450.00+ Add on 10 cast iron cups and coasters (What they consider a full set), a tea tray and sushi tray, a tea light candle pot warmer, and a teapot rest (to set the pot on when not using the warmer) you are looking at $750.00+ .... that's what they consider a full cast iron set and we haven't even gotten to buying tea, sugar, or tea canisters yet. Now add on buying 2-3 tea canisters, filling them with tea, a pound of the German rock sugar, a tea timer, and a tea scoop and your looking at anywhere for $850-$1000.00+ ...... No one wants to walk into a store to buy a teapot and some tea and find out at the register that they are paying a grand for it. its like 85% turnover rate on cast iron sales for the products being returned. Probably because the customer got home and realized they got swindled into an impulse sale for this 60+ pound teaset that does the exact same thing as one of the $100.00 tea sets that they sell at Teavana.
The problem with this? In order to get that wonderful (and lets face it necessary) sales bonus your monthly sales have to be comprised of X amount of dollars in cast iron sales. Of course any cast iron sales you make that count towards your bonus are removed from your monthly total if the product is returned which isn't exactly the sales associates fault when they are trained to impulse sell the cast iron. The problem with any impulse sale is that 92% of all impulse sales are returned/cancelled within the first 48 hours. Word of advice to anyone looking to work at Teavana.... If you are going to sell cast iron: Make as many of those sales on the last day of the month as possible, that way if they return it next day it is too late for it to be taken into account by the system and you can actually get your bonus. I can't tell you how many people wanted cast iron that I told to come back at the end of the month and I would ring them out with a 10% off coupon to save them money. They agreed to it because they were getting a better deal and saving $80-$100... in reality I was just ensuring I got that damned bonus.
-Room for Advancement: This job isn't like Starbucks where there is one on every corner and five more between those corners. If your city has a Teavana chances are it is the only one, and if it isn't there is maybe two or three. Each of those stores has one manager and one assistant manager. Both of whom aren't going anywhere anytime soon because their corporate structure is broken and worthless. (It's no wonder they sold out to Starbucks last year). It is because of this that you can work there for years at $8.00/h and still not get a promotion with a significant pay raise. If you are like me where you want to clime the corporate ladder and make enough money to move out of your dumpy one bedroom apartment... go elsewhere. Also don't think that because Starbucks bought out Teavana that they will be springing up everywhere... this is by far not the case. Starbucks has no intention of increasing the Teavana chain by opening a billion stores on every street and intersection. They bought them because a) they were Starbucks main competition for the immediate beverage market, and b) they wanted to sell Teavana products at every Starbucks. Why spend their "hard earned" money opening a ton of new stores and gambling on success when they can just clear off a shelf in all of their already established and successful Starbucks locations and stock the Teavana products there. All in all it was smart on their part. In conclusion: don't work here unless you want to be stuck on that sample cart for 3-5 hours straight with no customers for the duration of the time you work there.
***Overall I seriously would not recommend working here. Maybe your location may be different or it may have changed since I left two years ago but somehow I doubt it. When joining you go through 6 weeks of training so I would recommend speaking to team mates in that time and watching management carefully. If you notice the things ive mentioned with the management keep completing your training but start applying elsewhere A.S.A.P. Don't invest yourself in this job because you love the product and the discounts you get. Otherwise you'll end up like me wasting 9 months of your life that you could have spent establishing yourself at a real job where you can advance. Take my advice and go elsewhere. If you are looking for something quick to pay your bills then take it while you look FRANTICALLY for something else but don't stick around too long or their suck you in and waste your time. I worked at 3 locations and ran into the exact same problems at all 3. So did everyone else I was working with... Maybe it is just Ohio though.
Advice to Management
Stop stealing sales for the love of god. Give your employees a chance to actually make sales instead of immediately stealing them under the guise of "you didn't stick with them and commit to making the sale". Listen to your employees concerns and when they bring to your attention in a calm and rational manner that they don't appreciate you leaving them on sample care for 4 1/2 hours longer they should have been, and that they don't approve of you stealing sales and don't just shrug them off and do it again 5 minutes later. Teavana, I am NOT an advocate of outside hiring. I think it is insulting to your employees and shows you don't care about your workers choosing to sacrifice their life for you, but if you can't hire more mature individuals to eventually (5 years down the road when the old manager eventually dies) promote up then hire outside and get someone with real experience. Don't just hire up the person that has been with you for the last 10 years because chances are their manager stole their sales and abandoned them on the sample cart for 90% of their shift. Guess what, now that they're a manager... they are going to do the EXACT same thing because its finally their chance to close sales and not stand at the damned sample cart while tumbleweeds are rolling by.
Just my 0.02. Take it or leave it.
I worked at Teavana part-time (Less than a year)
The product is amazing and I did lose weight while working there
Pay structure and how you get your hours based on how much you sell, not really commission, but not really fair normal pay either.
Advice to Management
Stop the sales practices and just let you employees build relationships with the customers. People will come back if you treat them well and let them decide if all they want is a nice cup of tea or a cast iron tea set the first time they walk in the door.
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