MS NORAZIZAH Mohd Baki’s warm laughter and upbeat personality are perfect attributes for her profession.

The youthful 28-year-old Levi’s assistant boutique manager has a wealth of retail experience under her belt.

She started working for the jeans store as a part-time retail assistant 10 years ago after her O-level exams.

Two years later, she decided to pursue an electronics diploma. However, a few months into the course, Miss Norazizah realised that her first love was in retail.

“The interest just wasn’t there,” she says, describing her school life.

She stopped her studies and joined Levi’s as a full-time customer service associate.

She says with a hearty laugh: “I liked the brand and couldn’t imagine myself working anywhere else. I must work with people, because I like to talk.”

Caring nature

The self-confessed people person has won the hearts of her customers with her jovial and caring nature.

Customers have been known to shop only at outlets where Miss Norazizah works because they trust her to pick out the perfect pair of jeans for them.

Her diligence and excellence in her job did not go unnoticed by the company. Over the years, Miss Norazizah has been promoted several times — from a senior customer service associate to senior supervisor to her current position.

She is now stationed at the Orchard Central boutique, and her duties include conducting daily briefings for her subordinates, banking in the day’s sales and handling administrative matters.

Customer service still forms a large part of her job, together with managing her team well, she says.

It is important to have good people skills, she says, recalling one of her challenges on the job years ago when one of her team members had a punctuality problem.

Miss Norazizah, then a supervisor, spoke to him privately about his tardiness.

He improved for a short while, but went back to his old ways. Subsequently, he was transferred to another outlet.

Miss Norazizah worked with him again two years after his transfer. Her subordinate’s punctuality issue was still a problem, prompting her to speak to him again.

However, this time, she decided to change her approach.

“He was a good worker in all other aspects. Instead of telling him that I was disappointed with him, I shared that I was more disappointed with myself because I could not help him to change,” she says.

Her honest revelation jolted her subordinate into becoming more punctual.

She is grateful for the experience she has gained from the job as it has helped her to hone her people skills. “If this scenario had happened when I first started, I probably wouldn’t have had the skills to handle it,” she says.

Back to books

Earlier this year, Jay Gee Enterprises — Levi’s parent company in Singapore — decided to sponsor Miss Norazizah for a part-time diploma at the Singapore Institute of Retail Studies.

The company wanted to help the long-serving Miss Norazizah upgrade her educational qualifications.

“I felt very happy when my manager told me that I was chosen, but there were also mixed feelings,” she says. “After 10 years of not studying, I couldn’t imagine myself sitting down and flipping books.”

She was also worried about falling behind in class. She shared her feelings of uncertainty with her manager, who assured her that colleagues would help her if she faced difficulties in the nine-month course.

Encouraged by her words and the support from her family, she decided to start the course.

School has been a good experience for her and she looks forward to attending classes every week.

“Some of the trainers are veterans in the retail world, and I learn a lot from them,” she says.

Miss Norazizah sees herself working for the brand for many years to come.

“I hope to work for the company as long as I can. It’s about commitment,” she says.

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