I met Rosie a few weeks back at an industry lunch for St Germain, for which she is a Brand Specialist. It was a beautiful day out in the sunshine and was incredibly insightful learning the history of the great Elderflower liqueur. While the main message was to enjoy the day, an off-the-cuff comment on hospitality staff wellbeing had me incredibly interested in having a future conversation.
We cover a range of topics, from her dreams to what she'd like stashed away waiting in the office each day after work. Most importantly we present an insight into the life of a hospitality professional and the need to better take care of one another.
My end goal is to be a florist and I’ve been to a few classes to study floristry.
I thought it could be quite interesting to do some brand work before I start focusing on floristry. St Germain is such a beautiful brand and they always have flowers everywhere. When I plan events I get to go and get the flowers for the events and sometimes when I have time I’ll make the bouquets and vases up myself. It’s nice to be able to incorporate that into what I’m doing.
St Germain is a brand for bartenders, you’ll see brands throwing big parties and it’s always drinking and staying up late. As much fun as that is, they felt as a brand it’s also important for bartenders to be looking after themselves as well because it’s quite a tiring industry and they want to give something back.
So that’s why they introduced things like industry activations where once a month the brand ambassador will take a group of bartenders to do something that’s more of a wellbeing activity rather than just drinking and having lunch.
It’s good to have a day off, it’s nice to encourage that.
It goes back to the 1920s in Paris. Artists, poets, it was all very creative and everyone was quite laid back. Life was quite slow but everyone enjoyed life - nowadays everyone is in a rush or on their phone just never really taking any time for themselves.
So the whole Bon Vivant lifestyle is taking inspiration from glamorous aperitifs in the afternoons, or brunches and lunches with friends and slowing down. Taking time for yourself to actually enjoy the nicer things in life rather than always just being in a rush with work, work work. It’s nice to relax, sit down with your friends at lunch and have a St Germain spritz.
One big thing I’ve noticed in the hospitality industry is that people are focusing on low ABV cocktails, making drinks a bit more session-able. A lot of our customers who come in here are also looking after their diets, looking at what they eat and what they drink - so it’s nice to see that the industry is catering to this.
Ideally I wish every single person could work a day, one day in hospitality or retail to understand how stressful it can be.
I think it’s also hard because of the whole thing with the customer being always right; in the industry as a whole, we get a lot of challenging customers and you just have to smile and be polite. They could be saying all sorts to you and you just have to stand there. A lot of stress drives a lot of people to go for a cigarette which is really not good for you either. That can’t be good when you get so stressed that the only thing that can calm you down is a cigarette or a shot, it shouldn’t be the case but far too often is.
I don’t think people even realise how much of an impact they do have when they’re in here, how much one person saying something to you can throw your whole day and make you feel quite bad about yourself. I think everyone should work a day in a service on a busy day to see how it feels to feel the pressure and how hard it is to always be smiling. We’re so lucky to have such a nice clientele in here (Voodoo Rooms).
Sometimes I feel like; if we’ve all had a hard start to a shift, if we have a shot it sort of boosts your morale a bit and you feel a bit more superhero. It’s a silly thing to rely on but it is relied on heavily in the industry.
It’s not just all about partying and living like a rockstar, you do need to look after yourself and that is really really important.
My staff here, five of them now go to the gym or go on runs. We’re all quite a close team here so if one person is like ‘oh come to the gym with me’ then you’ve always got a friend to do something with. It’s nice to see everybody encouraging each other to be like that, when people say they’re not drinking, we do give them it tight for a bit but we totally respect them for that as well.
More people are starting to take on board that you do need to look after yourself and I think more people are getting themselves into yoga, sports and even just going to the gym.
It’s quite important as well that we all bounce off each other and when we see a member of the team feeling down, or struggling we all try and help make sure they’re okay. Not just ignore it and be like, “oh that person is in a huff again.” Make sure you take the time to see if they’re actually okay because for all you know something could have happened, they could be sad or really struggling. You’re just like “oh they’re just in a huff,” so it’s really important that you take the time to check yourself and check others also.
Maybe like someones granny just sitting in the office for when you just need a cuddle, that’d make my day a bit smoother.
Or a puppy. We should all have puppies in our bars.