This afternoon, there were three of us setting around the board room table, well the spare office in this particular case. We were discussing what we were going to push this year in the fashions we have created. It isalways a tough decision to make every year,while we contract to make a very diverse product line, the fashions that we select to represent our name are few and numbered. The items we don’t use for ourselves are offered to other companies for their product line. It has worked for us in the past, we just have to decide what items we are going to use for our company.
At the meeting are Helen who handles several chains for us, the CEO Glenda who rides herd on the operation and myself. I handle the smaller retailers, although I do have one chain now, several of my smaller retailers getting together last year and now marketing under one name. Even though the discussions are always spirited, usually we are able to decide on one type of look that will handle most of our customers. This year might not be so easy.
Helen is adamant that what we pick conform to the business professional look. Most of her customers are concentrating on the business woman, her desires and the look she prefers. The chain’s customers are mainly professional women, working in offices or small businesses. That would include skirt suits, pants that will go with the suit jacket and LBD types of dresses. Those are basic colors, tailored and of a classic design. Nothing with a flared skirt, preferring a straight skirt without any frilly decoration is what they would be interested in.
My customers almost the opposite. In the years past, the chains were not so specialized, so we were able to find fashions that would fit in with both of our clienteles. My customers were wanting separates mainly, although with the upcoming spring and summer sundresses are making a big comeback. They did not want the tailored look, more something to express their femininity without wearing menswear inspired clothes as some designers were trying to steer their clients toward.
For three hours Glenda listened to our arguments, knowing that this year she most likely will not be able to come to a compromise. After we had both finished presenting our opinions she took some time to formulate her response. Since this is a normal occurrence with her we waited silently for her verdict on this year’s fashion direction.
Helen came up through the ranks selling lingerie for an European fashion house, then when they changed directions, she went to work for Glenda. A position she has held for five years now. A lot of her customers are from when she was selling lingerie, some are new ones that she was recommended to. She is in her late twenties, fairly tall for a woman at five feet ten inches and full figured. Not fat by any means but sporting some healthy thighs and a slightly thickened waist.
By contrast I was five foot eight, weight about right for my height and slim in appearance. I started in the business by selling women’s shoes to retail stores. The company I worked for got bought out by a Chinese manufacturer, so I went looking for some other sales job. I crossed paths with Helen several times, she suggested that I talk to Glenda, so I did, and was hired as an independent sales associate. In other words I worked for myself selling Glenda’s products on a commission basis. After a year of that, which turned out to be quite profitable Glenda took me on as a regular salesman. I was on salary with a volume bonus based on the amount of sales I had. The same deal that Helen worked under.
I was twenty-nine years old, fairly good looking, my only disconnect to the normal male look was my shoulder length brunette hair. I wore it in a low ponytail, most of the time not noticed by my customers. Since most of the business owners I waited on were female, that is not something that they noticed, especially these days. I have been with Glenda for three years and six months, if you include the time I was an independent salesman almost five years.
Glenda had her secretary bring in some tea, a favorite beverage throughout the company. After we got comfortable again after doctoring up our tea, she told us her decision. Both Helen and I were mouth agape after she laid it on the line.
“I can see both of your viewpoints, but our finances can not handle the added expense of marketing two seperate lines that are so diversified. So I have a proposal for you. If you are both so sure of your choices, there is a way to make it work. I am not sure either of you will be willing to do what is necessary for this to be viable. To make it a little more interesting and maybe add an extra incentive to the proposal I will throw into the mix the sales manager position I have left vacant for several years. The one with the most sales as of July 1st will get the position, so maybe something to be shooting for.”
“Now for the part I am sure you will not care for. Both of will have to model you own clothes for the catalog and for our three day Fashion Open House. For Helen that will mean that you lose some weight, tone your body and visit the salon more often to be able to portray the model you will need for the clothes.
For Ted there will be quite a bit more involved for you. You will also have to model your own clothes, the changing of his gender to that of a female a little more complicated, but I am sure doable. The money the company will save on models will allow us to handle both choices of fashions so both of you will have what you supposedly want for your customers. Your determination to prove your ideas to be correct will also help me decide on the proper candidate for the sales manager position. A win win for all of us.”
“No blaming all of this on each other or on the company hoping to get some sympathy sales. In fact I will send out an email to all of our customers stating that you two have come up with this idea to help streamline the company and make us more competitive in the future. I expect perfection in your presentations, both figure wise and also with regard to hair and makeup. So if we are understood, give me a list of the fashion items you need and I will place the orders. You have three weeks before the merchandise arrives and four weeks after that before our Fashion Open House. I suggest that you get with it, you both have a lot to do to get adequately prepared.”
Glenda smiled and left the room, both of us setting there with out mouths partially open trying to figure out what was just said and how we were going to be able to handle this. She turned at the door addressing us again, “I will not change my mind or agree to any changes, if you want this as much as you claim, there is only one path available for you.”
I quickly had my head in my hands staring at the table. The sales manager job I had no interest in, but getting the clothes I wanted so that I can make my bonus was a necessity. I had just replaced my car this year, hoping for a couple of good years to get it paid off. I was not in a position to change jobs and start over again with someone else.
“Do you think there is any hope we can get Glenda to change her mind? I for one really have doubts that I can muster up the appearance Glenda wants for our catalog and Fashion Open House.” This was vocalized by Helen in a less than confident voice, one that I have never heard from her. She has always been super confident, self assured and very determined. Now Glenda had erased all of those traits with a few words.
“I doubt Glenda will change her mind, she is having too much fun with this, it is probably necessary this year as our customers are so different in their clothing choices. This will solve the problem, but I am sure Glenda will gain some entertainment value out of this as we try to meet her demands. You no doubt will have an easier time than I will, but there is sufficient challenges there for both of us. As far as the sales manager position I am not interested, just being able to meet my bonus sales will be thanks enough for me. If I have to turn myself into a female to do so, then I guess my path is already chosen.”
We exchanged hugs and headed off, both of us have a lot to do. I don’t envy Helen losing weight is always a problem, but since she has had that extra poundage for so long, it will require quite a bit of dedication on her part. She always seems to have a smile on her face, but today as she left ahead of me, there is no smile, just a look of utter frustration.
I presume I will have the harder time here, changing genders is not mainstream and difficult at the best of times. With a time limit added to the mix, maybe impossible. I thought of any options I might have forgotten, but every one led to the same outcome. No bonus and huge debt with no way to dig my way out from the hole I will have found myself in.
Once back at my apartment, another possible casualty in this scenario. I made my way to my computer getting logged in and ready to search. A search for gender transformations brought up a thousand possibilities, but only one that might be able to help me. I called the number listed for the their local salon, and asked to talk to someone about their gender transformations.
Over the next twenty minutes I was informed of my choices and given a rough idea of how much it will cost to switch from male to female.
Story Incomplete At Present
© 2016 thru 2021 Fran Cesca Walker