Holt Renfrew

73 reviews

Holt Renfrew Employee Reviews

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Hostile and ego-driven divas.
Jr. Visual Merchandiser (Former Employee) –  Toronto, ONDecember 28, 2013
I worked in the Visual Presentation department for a little over a year and looking back I'm surprised I stuck around that long! I began as an intern and was hired full-time after two months. What interested me was the money I was getting for someone who was still in the learning process of Visual Merchandising, the hours being 9-5 Mon-Fri, Job stability and my Manager who was really warm and sweet.

It didn't take long for all of that to change. Six weeks into my role my Manager who took me under her wing quit to go to another company. My second mentor left to go to another department. And for the next two months we were left with NO MANAGEMENT!! WHich means I wasn't learning anything! And I left school because I was promised on the job training! For the next two months I was left all alone with rest of the Visual team who had NO love for me at ALL. I had been warned by my mentors that if you were a hetro and/or not female you would not be welcomed.

The main Visual Stylist was a quiet homosexual man who did not communicate very well with anyone because he just wanted to do his own thing and didn't care about being a mentor, even if we was striving to become a Manager someday. The female Visual Merchandiser was incredibly two-faced who tried to get her Manager (my first Mentor) fired because she hired a Hetro-sexual Stylist (my second mentor) whose personality didn't "fit-in". Another Homosexual male stylist who joined the team later and seemed friendly at first quickly turned and became a huge diva whose ego was bigger then his actual talent! Another female stylist, who also
  more... was hired after me, had so much emotional baggage and would display her stress and emotional fits freely in front of the team! She was truly emotionally unstable! The four divas certainly meshed well together and were joined at the hip.

FInally a new Manager (Male and Homosexual) came along who had a reputation for being a no-nonsense, professional sort who I could learn a lot from and would clean up the problems in our department! That reputation quickly faded. At first, we would communicate with each other and I would fill him in on the attitudes and problems that was going on in the department. He said he knew and was eager to clean up. He fired one of the Divas whose ego was bigger than his talent. Things looked good at the beginning, but that didn't last long! HE began to develop a DIva quality himself. He delegated from his desk chair. He would mock me because I didn't know how to do something (I was suppose to have been trained by them, remember. That was the point I took the job.) ANd he would have Interns learn some skills that I was suppose to be learning. All he had me do was paint the windows. He would sell-out the people that believed in him when he first came out by pointing their mistakes and flaws behind their backs to the GM. He picked his favourites. And although the Main Diva HATED the Manager the Manager would gleefully suck up to him while bad mouthing him behind his back. There was SO MUCH TENSION between the Diva and the Manager that I thought the Diva's head would have an atomic explosion. The Main Diva wanted the Manager's position, that's why. Finally, when the Manager yelled at me on the floor in front of customers blaming me because his favourite stylist (a female) had left without communicating with me and left the work unfinished I had had enough. It only solidified my decision the next morning when I walked in and the Manager was being all sweet to his favourite stylist and complimenting her shoes, instead of straightening her out for leaving without finishing or cleaning up. When I gave him my two weeks notice he just laughed and asked for a particular intern's phone number whom he had wanted to hire. He became the worst Diva of them ALL!

I thought it was going to be a place of incredible professionalism and talent. A great learning experience! but it was a waste of over a year where I was surrounded by fashion divas and over-swelled egos! I would NOT wish this on anyone!!
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Pros
great fashion if you can afford it, some friendly people
Cons
hostile team, unprofessional egos, poor management, no development, reverse discrimination
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Don't be blinded by the pretty interior
Personal Shopping Assistant (Former Employee) –  Toronto, ONSeptember 30, 2013
I was a personal shopping assistant at Holt Renfrew. I have to say I was very excited to be working for this company but now that I have worked there I do not see it in the same way.

Compared to other companies the one nice thing about my position was that I made $15.00 an hour. However, after working there and realizing how much work is involved and how under appreciated you are as well as how badly you are treated this is not enough compensation. Seeing a shopper (who may have made their assistant pull the clothes and just shown up for the appointment) make 10% commission on a sale anywhere from $5,000 - $25,000 in an appointment anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour and a half was very disheartening. No, you do not get any commission. Working for someone who does half if not a quarter of the work and then seeing them make $2,500 while you make $15.00, sucks.

We would rarely get our lunch breaks. We were entitled to an hour a day but would be so busy that we wouldn't get the time to take it. To make up for this we would mark down that we had no lunches BUT would get lectured by our managers that we need to take our lunches. They would never speak to the actual personal shoppers and say "make sure your assistant is taking a lunch break." They made it our duty to say something, which for some people is uncomfortable when it can be busy.

All management cared about were sales. If you were making the company money they would treat you like gods, however, if you were in my position they were not friendly. They were constantly on our backs about every little thing. Holding meetings
  more... every so often with the personal shopper to let you know what you are doing WRONG and not showing appreciation for what you are doing RIGHT. The DVP would walk around and if you tried having a conversation with her all she would want to talk about were appointments and sales etc. She was not a friendly person and I honestly got the impression a lot of the staff were afraid of her. However, the VP was very friendly and you could always talk to him as an equal.

Overall, while this company has beautiful clothing and items it was awful to work for. Thank god I had a close relationship with the other assistants or else I would have hated going to work every day. I have never worked so hard in my life and felt so unappreciated. If I had been compensated higher I may not have minded so much. But being someone's unappreciated employee for $15.00 an hour was not worth it in my opinion.
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fast paste work environment - no managing skills
Merchandiser/ Stock (Former Employee) –  TorontoDecember 26, 2013
At first it is nice to work for Holt Renfrew. The building and the people (customers and co-workers) are generally nice and welcoming. This will last as long as you do youre job good and adequate without any shortcomings, but once I had an accident and was not willing/ able to work for more then 12 hours daily, things changed quickly. After my initial talk to my manager to get more time off and I wanted to cut down to at least 35 to 45 hours a week, I got told to go early home and everything would be fine. After that my schedule got just more hours. My decission to turn my promotion down and to leave the company for my own health got looked down at...I got insulted by the manager and got told over the phone, that I will never ever have any future in the company from the day on.

I am glad I left and the amount of stress, responibility and committment employees at holts have to give without any appriciation results in frustrated workers and is a direct reflection of a poor management. Schedules are changed without notice, I seen (including me) to often employees run out the store crying and whenever changes or a rush happens, the manager vaporizes and wont be found till later. At Holts, the employee who cares the most about doing a perfect job will be the first who gets thrown under the bus.

I am not weak and had bad jobs before in my life, but you need to be strong to survive this negative work environment and the daily critics of your work - regardless of your performance!

I even had nightmares for days after I left, I wont even go close to the department store and walk an
  more... extra 10 minutes every day to walk in a bow arround it.  less
Pros
good benefits
Cons
long hours, bad management
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Great environmnet and team work
Distribution Clerk/Lead Hand Assistant/Processor (Former Employee) –  EtobicokeDecember 28, 2013
I enjoyed my job very much, and it was the Best Job I ever had in my life. Great Team work, and wonderful employees as well. The assistant manager didn't like me, and always seemed to give me a hard time, and always seemed to be on my back. He would roll his eyes at me all the time, to try and intimidate me. He made fun of me as well, as I'm a True Christian. I worked there 5 years as Seasonal worker and he knew I wanted F/T and they hired 4 people on F/T who started way after I did, when he knew I wanted F/T. It took 5 years to get on F/T. I had to quit 2 years later because of him. I went on vacation in May and didn't come back, as I wasn't ever going back there again. He called a meeting of all the employees when I never came back to let all of them know I was fired. I wasn't fired. I sent a letter to the manager and let him know I wasn't coming back. My mistake was, that I should've gone to Human Resources as well as the Manager to let them know about this. I will never live this down. I also worked at the Bloor Street store for 3 months to help out in their busy season in cosmetics stock room and shipping and receiving, and it was Absolutely Wonderful working there. I knew the Manager of Shipping/Receiving from Etobicoke. It was a wonderful environment and atmosphere. I've tried to go back there since they downsized. I was called 3x to come in, for a Group Interview, but I can't do that.
Pros
when you worked overtime, they gave us $5.00 for supper money.
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Type A work place
commissioned sales (Current Employee) –  Vancouver, BCOctober 27, 2014
On a typical day at work: one would sign in and head onto the sales floor. There, one would greet and welcome every customer to come into the store.
Selling purely based in commission, it's more important to focus on your customer service. Once giving the customer the very best service is at the heart of your approach, sales will naturally follow.

Management has always left something to be desired, in this company. I can't discuss details, but suffice it to say that where they put their money, hours and ideas are not exactly conducive to a thriving work place. But I still do my job to the best of my abilities and follow company policy.
The hardest part of the job is just this:not being able to leave work at work. I'd have a constant life-line to all of my clients. Not that it's anything I can't handle, but I feel that the more difficult part is constantly answering to clients every hour of the day, inclusive of my days off. Also, going into the store on my days off, to service clients personally- so that I'm sure they're receiving the very best in service.

The most enjoyable part of the job can't be brought down to just one point. The team I'd work with was amazing, and working with the clients I had was always a joy as well. I've learned a lot of positive things through coworkers, and I've vastly improved in mandarin as a direct result of constantly working with Chinese clientele.
Pros
a team that supports each other
Cons
scheduling
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Holt Renfrew at its best
Sales associate, stock movement team (Current Employee) –  Toronto, ONJanuary 7, 2014
I've been working for Holt Renfrew for about a year and a half, and I absolutely love it. I went from working at Holt Renfrew's outlet store in Vaughan Mills, then worked in their distribution centre (admin. section) doing paperworks, to help and open Holt Renfrew's second hr2 store, lastly transferring to Holt Renfrew Yorkdale.

My scheduled day would be from 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. depending if I have a lot of work to do the following day. I would start off by doing the most important things, such as putting the new products onto the floor, collecting the day's paperworks, to do last minute touches for big events.

I have nothing but wonderful words to say about my management team to my coworkers. They're all friendly and easy to adapt to, which made it very easy to love working.

The hardest part about working was the stress level, I never wanted to leave work until I was done what I was doing. Whatever I left back, and what I had to do the following day - so I always tried to execute everything before I had to leave for the day. There were times I worked a minimum of 10 hours+ for a week, to help prepare for the Christmas holiday sale.
Pros
free lunches, incentives, acknowledgements
Cons
long hours (schedule for 8 hours, work for 10/11 hours)
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I would not recommend the alterations department at Holt Renfrew Yorkdale to anyone. The management is terrible. Biasness, unprofessional, favoritisim
Seamstress/ Alteration (Former Employee) –  Toronto, YorkdaleOctober 24, 2015
During the time I work at Holt Renfrew Yorkdale in the alterations department, I found co-workers to be hostile. There is unnecessary attacks on others for any amount of stupidity. Failure to take responsibility for their actions and repeatedly blame others including the customers. Imagine anyone would blame the customers for garments poor quality altered garment is a mystery to me. Its always somebody's fault exempt the one responsible for the error. The store manager is as unmannerly as you can find a manager to be. One would pass and say good morning to her and she would not answer regardless if you say it more than once. I believe her style is to manage through intimidation. Poor management and toxic work environment. One goes to work with not much expectation expect to work in an environment that is fair to everyone, but that's not the case at Holt Renfrew Yorkdale. I was told by other employees working at other stores that this problem only exist at the Yorkdale store.
Pros
There is none!
Cons
Extremely hostile work environment.
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Amazing company
Sales Associate (Footwear) (Former Employee) –  Toronto OntarioApril 4, 2014
Holt Renfrew is often associated with a snobby staff aswell as mixed reviews on how they treat there employees.

The year I spent working with Holts was one of my favourites. Great staff, great management and an overwhelming sense of entrepreneurship. Holts is one of few companies with what I refer to as the "skies the limit" point of view. Holts gives you the basic tools and training you need to really develop a loyal clientèle.

One of few companies that actually has a pay structure that strongly encourages employees that how hard you work equals how much you make. It is a phenomenal company for someone with a passion for the fashion industry and is not scared to take those few extra steps that separates Holt Renfrew service from its competition. especially when they reward you well for your work.

If you get a chance to work for this company... take it. They will do nothing but open doors for you.
Pros
great staff, product, management, salary etc...
Cons
nothing you wouldn't have at any other job.
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Beautiful retail store
Sales Assocaite (Former Employee) –  Toronto, ONApril 6, 2013
The company is great to work and pays much more hgiher than any other retail stores. Amazing discounts and the staff are all overall friendly. However, Holt Renfrew is a cut throat workplace where as employees disappear so often. Holt Renfrew doesn't not care about employee workplace rights. So the chances if they want you out, your gonna be out despite how long you've been employed with them. I was terminated for no reason, but at least the company was kind enough to give me a two weeks severance pay, which was pretty kind of them. Holt Renfrew is a numbers game where employees who do not meet the companies quotas or image will not last very long.
Pros
staff discounts, friendly staff, free lunches, hourly wages
Cons
politics, high turn over rate, no loyalty
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Counter-productive but nice work environment
Stock Associate (Current Employee) –  Toronto, ONDecember 29, 2013
Working at Holt Renfrew has both pros and cons. A lot of over scheduling which eventually leads to counter-productive work and sitting around doing nothing.You experience days where you ask yourself "Why am I here". They are always looking for ways to expand and innovate luxury retail which creates loyalty with clients. A lot of gossiping amongst your co-workers, ambiguity runs high with employees. Management is very non-existent in certain departments but other than that very professional and resourceful when available. There was nothing I couldn't handle while working here, very simple job. Holt Renfrew creates a very warm-hearted and welcoming work environment, they treat employees like family. They host holiday draws, pot-lucks, and constructive work shops.
Pros
gift cards, pot-lucks, constructive workshops.
Cons
long hours, over scheduling, non-existent management.
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Gained considerable experience, customer service and law enforcement
Asset Protection Investigator (Former Employee) –  Toronto, ONMarch 9, 2014
At Holt Renfrew, I have achieved a considerable level of ability to work with the public and handle various types of stressful situations as well as emergencies. Providing superior customer service while preventing theft and fraud involving luxury retail merchandise molded me to perform tasks to satisfy both management and customers alike. Working with fellow investigators presented an opportunity for me to become a team player. The most enjoyable part of my job at Holt Renfrew was dealing with different situations and meeting customers needs. The management at Holt Renfrew was always very helpful and informative about our daily and upcoming responsibilities but were always keen to reward us when we went over and beyond our regular duties.
Pros
great environment to gain various soft skills and experiences
Cons
job security
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Great place to work
Designated Specialist for Ippolita (Current Employee) –  Renfrew, CalgaryFebruary 21, 2014
Upon arrival we make sure that our deparment is in order, product is organized, clean and supplies are replenished. Customers are always first, any down time is spent in reorganizing product to make sure everything is appealing to customers eye.
I have learned different product lines, designers, where they come from and how they are made, what stones and material are used to create each product.
Management and co-workers are all 1st. rate very professional on all levels.
Hardest part of this job is the commute to and from with transit. I live one block from Chinook hence the reason for change.
Most enjoyable part is the comaraderie of staff and management as well meeting and enjoyment of our customer.
Pros
training availability, interaction with managment, feeling of being part of the whole picture.
Cons
commute to and from job
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Competitive and busy work environment where employees are passionate about customer service
Menswear Sales Associate (Current Employee) –  Calgary, ABApril 12, 2015
I thoroughly enjoyed my three years with this company and made meaningful relationships. I was able to express my passion in fashion and customer service. My main focus was my clients, who I am in constant communication with and meet all their needs. Hard work and determination were key for success in meeting goals. My co-workers are a crucial part to my day as they were one of the reasons why I enjoyed my job. Team work was very important and we were always willing to assist one another in any way possible. The only objective I would have is the ability to advance within the company as there is not much opportunity to grow and the most enjoyable part of the job is seeing clients satisfied and building lasting relationships.
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Upbeat workplace with friendly and creative co-workers
CO-OP Student (Current Employee) –  Toronto, ONNovember 26, 2014
The staff always made sure one has a task to do. Very interested in getting you know you as an individual. Everyone there are very well organized and creative. A incredibly desirable place to work.

The most enjoyable part of the job is working with a team to create instillations to be set up in the store. Music is played, coffee is nearby and everyone is happy and having a great time.

The hardest part of the job was mending to the floor. Holt Renfrew is known for "high-class" merchandise so you're bound to encounter problematic customers. Reaching an agreement and satisfying the customer is always a key goal so you sometimes need to be patient. Co-workers are always willing to give you a hand when in need.
Pros
workplace experience
Cons
troublesome customers
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Fun workplace with its own culture
Assistant Counter Manager (Current Employee) –  Calgary, ABNovember 11, 2015
working in Holt Renfrew is a pleasure, I have learned a lot: starting from improving my leadership skills to be a better communicator( handle and solve the problems, and be self-aware of your own attitude).
I work in a team of 4 people, and my co-worker are amazing. We always help each other and making sure we communicate all the time so it wont be any miscommunication situations.

I believe that the job that I am doing right now helped me to develop my people skills, since I am constantly interacting with customers.
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Disappointing Interview Process
Human Resources (Former Employee) –  TorontoOctober 9, 2014
After progressing through a one hour phone screen interview and a Face to Face interview for an HR position, I was disappointed that I never heard back from the Director on the status of my interview process. I invested 4 hours of my time, including travel & also arranging for child care, and would have appreciated the courtesy of a response. I followed up twice and in the end, didn't receive any response. It's disappointing when the management does not live up to the values of the company and I feel it shows a lack of integrity and respect for those candidates who are also customers.
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Would not recommend family or friends to work for this company
Sales Associate (Former Employee) –  VancouverNovember 7, 2012
High turnover, employees are not loyal to the company because the Vancouver store is not managed well. One day management will tell you to cross-sell the store and the next week they will change the rules creating undefined sales boundaries, not to mention making fellow employees angry at each other. Renfrew is lucky that Vancouver is such a wealthy and lucrative market because the customer service is horrible and employee culture is hostile. I would never recommend anyone that I cared about to work for this company, despite the potential for 6 figure pay.
Pros
staff discount
Cons
undefined sales boundaries and hostile corporate culture
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Great environment to blossom and establish oneself.
Aethetician,Make-up Artist,Spa-Coordinator (Former Employee) –  Calgary, ABJune 4, 2014
I loved working here, it was my passion. Lovely staff and customers it really was like living in a dream and getting paid. I learned that nothing is what it seems.Beautiful souls should be beautiful. soo simple and so true.I discovered many ways to bring out a persons beauty but also learned how to be better myself.Most enjoyable is I felt like family.Hardest part of the job is the corporate feel.
Pros
recognition and incentive.
Cons
long hours and constant events.
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Productive Hard Working yet Fun environment
SENIOR PROJECT MANAGER (Former Employee) –  Toronto, ONMarch 17, 2015
I have truly enjoyed working here. The work is very interesting with a lot of variety and multiple projects on the go. Some balance between the office, travelling onsite and working at home. The fast paced industry with great team support has lead to multiple successes in IT.
Pros
Workload is very busy, the team is very hard working and willing to help each other. A great atmosphere to work in.
Cons
Have not had a permanent IT director in almost 2 years, so decision and budget approvals have been a long slow process.
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very fashion forward place to work at
designated sales associate (Former Employee) –  Vancouver, BCMay 4, 2012
maintaining a clean and organized department. display cases were cleaned daily . receive stock daily and putting the new items out for display.
confirming appointments for the day,
the most enjoyable part of my position was helping a client from head to toe get the perfect outfit for the specified event.
Pros
summer picnics, staff christmas party, free lunch for all staff on boxing day
Cons
the schedule was different everyday
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Overall rating

3.7
Based on 73 reviews
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