Industry Voices: Alessandra Ross

Q: Alessandra, you’re new to your post as Store Manager at guitarguitar Camden. Please could you tell us a bit about your career journey so far?

I have been in retail management for 9 years almost all of which were with Apple. I enjoy working in the premium retail sector as I believe it allows for a passion led customer experience because of the nature of the products. 

Q: We know that you don’t have a background in music, so when you were looking for your next challenge, what drew you to apply to manage a Guitar Store? 

I felt like I had achieved a lot in my time at Apple and I was ready to be taken out of my comfort zone again. In looking for that challenge I found guitarguitar. I liked what the company stood for and I wanted to work for an organisation that cared for its employees as well as its customers. I really feel like I have found that at guitarguitar. 

Q: What skills have you carried over from Managing the Apple Department at Selfridges, and how do they apply to running a music shop?

One thing that Apple and Selfridges did really well was focus on the customer experience. They are both household brands, because of that the expectation of a high standard of work was expected in every aspect. Working there taught me to work on the fine margins in elevating the customer experience and separating ourselves from the competition.

One of the key things when moving over to guitarguitar was transferring those skills; it has been challenging but extremely rewarding! People that are passionate about the products we sell and who want to work in this industry are in no short supply.

Q: guitarguitar recently became Employee Owned, what has your experience of this been and how does it impact the way that you and your team work? 

I came into the business after the transition to being Employee Owned, and Employee Ownership was part of the appeal of the role and the company. Being Employee Owned gives the team more drive to succeed, because the stores’ success and the business’ success is their success.

We recently held a management conference and during a meeting about our Employee Ownership culture something that I really took home was that this is more than just a job to the employees – from the sales floor to the directors, everyone was passionate about being part of an Employee Owned business. I left the conference feeling inspired by my peers and motivated to grow the business in every way I could. 

Q: Today is International Womens Day. It’s no secret that you don’t see as many female leaders in the musical instrument space as you do females who play musical instruments. What do you think the industry needs to do to be more representative of its audience? 

As someone who has come into the industry recently, there is definitely an existing culture within the retail music sector, but this is a culture that also existed in my previous place of work. I think it’s important to recognise the disparity, however from my short time here I can already see the change.

I feel that being hired for this role sits as evidence that change is happening and I’m proud to be part of it. It’s important that industry leaders must not always look for the easy answer or obvious decision; sometimes looking further afield is where the real change will happen. 

Q: What is your favourite song of all time, and what are you currently listening to?

Favourite Song: Baby – Donny and Joe Emmerson (Dreaming Wild 1970)

Currently Listening to: Jordan Rakei – Any song by him. 

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