Dream Job Profile: lululemon Store Manager, Annie Tasker

dreamjobintro.jpg
image via: @itsacurlylife

image via: @itsacurlylife

Name:
Annie Tasker - my full name is Annelise, which no one except my parents and Kim, one of my favorite bartenders at F Street Station, call me.

Location: 
Anchorage, AK

image via: @itsacurlylife at lululemon Anchorage

image via: @itsacurlylife at lululemon Anchorage

Occupation:
Store Manager at lululemon Anchorage 5th Ave Mall

What are some of your key responsibilities as Lululemon Store Manager:
I’m responsible for growing our business in Alaska, making key relationships within the community, and supporting our local ambassadors in their endeavors. My biggest responsibility is supporting my team in their goals, personal and career-related.

image via: @itsacurlylife at lululemon Anchorage

image via: @itsacurlylife at lululemon Anchorage

image via: @itsacurlylife at lululemon Anchorage

image via: @itsacurlylife at lululemon Anchorage

What drew you to become apart of the Lululemon community and when did you get started?:
I was hired to work in the lululemon showroom by local superstar and badass mom, Julia Von Imhof.  We had been friends for a few years and ran into each other after a yoga class. We grabbed a coffee, caught up and discussed what I had been up to (business classes at UAA to complement my bachelor's degree and leadership concentration) Julia wasted no time and coffee quickly turned into a job interview to work in the showroom! It was amazing timing, I had been waitressing for a few years and needed something that was aligned with my personal values and somewhere I could grow into a leadership position. I started as a part-time Educator and moved into a Key Leader position when we opened the first lululemon store in Alaska in 2015. I was promoted to Assistant Store Manager in March 2016 and then Store Manager in this past January.

Has fitness always been apart of your life?
My family is very athletic, so the majority of my childhood fitness was sports. My dad played professional football and my mom is a lifelong runner. I grew up watching my mom prioritize her health through fitness, so that’s always been a priority for me as well. I definitely love to mix it up, I’ll go on a yoga kick for a few months, I love Vanessa’s class at Orange Theory! Since living in Alaska the past 8 years, trail running has become a huge part of my summers. My current obsession is Anchorage Cycle. I LOVE the vibe there, and how every instructor really brings the entire class together. Fav instructors: David Westlake, Courtney, Jen Evanson and Penny!
 

image via: @itsacurlylife at Anchorage Cycle

image via: @itsacurlylife at Anchorage Cycle

image via: @itsacurlylife

image via: @itsacurlylife

Describe a typical day in the work life of Annie:
Most days, I’m usually one of the first people at the store. I almost always start my day looking over our numbers, reading my leadership team’s notes and just getting an overall picture of where we’re at for the week, month, and quarter. I was never a number’s person before this job but now I rely heavily on using my tools to assess how my biz is doing! I often have a conference call or meeting in my morning. Being in a remote market makes conference calls interesting, we utilize Zoom meetings at lululemon which has really helped me get to know my leaders, and peers in a more personal way than just over the phone. After meetings, I spend quite a bit of time writing my team’s schedule. I don’t take scheduling lightly, I try to make sure my employees work a schedule that supports their life outside of work. This really allows them to show up powerfully, increases my team’s engagement and just overall allows them to be happy with their work/life balance. I always schedule myself at least a few hours every day, working on the floor at the store and checking in with my people. I absolutely love my team and this is usually the highlight of my working day.

How do you stay inspired/choose the flow of your store?
I get most of my inspiration from the people around me, especially at work. Right now, my team at the store is a pretty diverse group of women. I rely heavily on my work family to keep me present, objective, and to keep me living in possibility. I work with quite a few women who are younger than me, and it’s been an amazing experience watching their drive and ambition create the lives and careers they dream of. Watching the mom’s on my team balance their schedules, support their families and make sure they take time for themselves…is a daily source of inspiration. Whenever I get bogged down with my to-do list, and get stressed about finding time to exercise, walk my dog, spend time with my boyfriend, grocery shop, cook, manage our store’s hours and budget, schedule performance evaluations, and a million other tasks, I look to the mothers in my life who manage to do all those things while taking care of 2 kids and a spouse. What I’ve learned from them is that perfection is not the goal. If I worked an 80 hour work week, there would still be tasks to accomplish so I prioritize what is urgent and important and make sure to leave time to invest in my people. That’s where I see the biggest return on investment.

image via: @itsacurlylife

image via: @itsacurlylife

What is essential in your workspace? Ie: mood, music, tea- how do you get into your workflow routine?
I won't lie, coffee is essential. Like…essssssential. I either make my coffee at home (almond milk creamer is crucial) or pick it up from Starbs on my way to the store. I always take time to get clear before starting any task or meeting. Actually, this is something my entire team does before every single shift. Taking a moment to acknowledge what is happening in your life that is keeping you from being present is a game-changer in our ability to perform at work.

One fun thing that is new to my workspace is a Japanese Maneki Neko cat. My Asst. Store Manager brought it back from Tokyo and it now lives above our office computer. Maneki Neko cats are supposed to bring good fortune to businesses, it’s a quirky little addition but I’ll never turn down a little help towards success!

How have your surroundings helped develop you as a leader?  
I feel very fortunate to have grown and worked in a progressive corporation that is mostly lead by women. Our culture is really empowering, we’ve created an environment where speaking up and being an entrepreneur is not only encouraged, it’s required. Previous to working at lululemon, I had never been in a work environment where giving (and receiving) feedback was such an integral part of the everyday. I’ve learned over the last 3 years that by sharing with a teammate when you see a way they could improve, isn’t being mean or cruel, it’s giving them the opportunity to improve and ultimately perform to their potential. It took me a long time to learn that as long as the constructive criticism comes from a place of love, you’re being a stand for greatness. One of my managers once told me “Annie, if you don’t share that feedback, you are holding your peer back and not allowing the chance to get better and to have the knowledge of where they can improve.”

We train our entire team, from the moment they get hired, to share what they’re noticing, to communicate in a powerful way and to stand for greatness. I take a lot of pride in our store in AK, I really think we do a great job at being genuine, inclusive, and brightening our guests day.

image via: @itsacurlylife

image via: @itsacurlylife

What do you look forward to most when leading a team?
I love being witness to people who are in the work of bettering themselves as human beings. Watching my team go through our vision and goals workshop and get clarity around their personal core values, set goals to get them to where they want to be and ultimately become more empathic people is my favorite part of being a leader at lululemon.

image via: @chiclyclayton at lululemon Anchorage

image via: @chiclyclayton at lululemon Anchorage

image via: @xotessiestyle at lululemon Anchorage

image via: @xotessiestyle at lululemon Anchorage

lululemon is so community and lifestyle driven - what are some events + partnerships you have coming up that you are looking forward to:
Well, first of, we’re really excited about hosting Tess and Beautycounter in-store for the 2nd time this summer. I’ve been testing out a few of Beautycounter’s products over the last week, and I’m super impressed. I’ve always said, when I find a chemical free, more natural product that works BETTER than what I’ve been using, I’ll make the switch. I’m REALLY in love with the tinted moisturizer and their face mask!

We’re also highlighting local athletes every week on our facebook page, lululemon Anchorage. This has been a fun new way to bring attention to some member of our community who is up to some really cool things.

I have to share a bit about our store’s ambassadors, they really are the embodiment of what we stand for at lululemon.

  • Megan Piersma is the owner of Deha Yoga, in south Anchorage. Megan is probably one of the coolest human beings on the planet, she is my favorite yoga instructor and I leave her studio feeling my best.  Megan has created a warm, welcoming environment at Deha.

  • David Westlake is a yoga instructor and Motivator at Anchorage Cycle. He recently started Turiya Alaska, which is a non-profit that brings yoga to the downtown Anchorage Jail. He recently took my team through a meditation workshop, designed to help my employees battle the holiday stress. He really met my team where they were at and gave us some simple useful techniques to help us chill out.

  • Ryder Spadafore is the owner of Anchorage Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He’s just an overall bad-ass. His honestly and genuine attitude inspires the loyalty of his students. My team has been frequenting this gym and hitting up the kickboxing classes at ABJJ….these are not your mom's kickboxing classes. You feel super empowered and strong (also sweaty and tired!) after these classes. Stay tuned for a ABJJ and lululemon Women’s Self Defense Workshop in the near future!

  • David Norris is our ski racing ambassador. He’s currently somewhere in Europe on the ski racing circuit. He’s from Fairbanks and has the most humble, down to earth personality. He frequents the mountains and trails outside of Anchorage and loves working with young, aspiring skiers.

What is some advice you would give to someone starting out that you wish someone gave to you?
Your instincts are usually correct, so trust them. Have facts that support you and, humbly, stand your ground. Being the loudest isn’t the best way to win people over.

image via: @chiclyclayton at lululemon Anchorage

image via: @chiclyclayton at lululemon Anchorage

image via: @chiclyclayton at lululemon Anchorage

image via: @chiclyclayton at lululemon Anchorage

What are your favorite lululemon essential items you think everyone should check out?
Where to start????

Bottoms:

-Wunder Under High Rise Tights in Luxtreme – AMAZING for cycle, everyday wear and doesn’t attract dog hair.

-Fast and Free 7/8 Tight – These are a must for anyone who works out no matter what you’re doing. #nakedsensation for the win!

-On The Fly Pants – my travel pants! These have an athletic, jogger look that makes me feel comfortable but polished on the plane.

Tops:

-Energy Bra – perfect for high-intensity workouts but still has the strappy cute look I want!

-Free to Be Zen Bra – my every day/yoga bra, I haven’t worn a real bra in years. Seriously.

-All Tied Up Tank in Pima Cotton – my go-to summer top, perfect for jeans, yoga pants, shorts

In my opinion, lululemon crushes jackets and bags. I’m loving all of this seasons backpacks and our bomber jackets in springy colors like porcelain pink and teal shadow.

Me as a *Model* during my ultra fit sesh at lululemon Anchorage with ANNIE!

Me as a *Model* during my ultra fit sesh at lululemon Anchorage with ANNIE!

Me as a *Model* during my ultra fit sesh at lululemon Anchorage with ANNIE!

Me as a *Model* during my ultra fit sesh at lululemon Anchorage with ANNIE!

Me as a *Model* during my ultra fit sesh at lululemon Anchorage with ANNIE!

Me as a *Model* during my ultra fit sesh at lululemon Anchorage with ANNIE!

Me as a *Model* during my ultra fit sesh at lululemon Anchorage with ANNIE!

Me as a *Model* during my ultra fit sesh at lululemon Anchorage with ANNIE!

How can people sign up for fit session at your location?
Email me! atasker@lululemon.com. My entire team thrives off getting our guests in their best fit, so I can connect you to an expert educator who with HOOK IT UP!

image via: @itsacurlylife

image via: @itsacurlylife

What is your mantra?!
Hmmm I’m not sure I have a mantra but 2 quotes I’m bringing to 2018 are:

People won’t remember what you said/did, they remember how you made them feel.

“I am expanding in love, success, and abundance and encouraging others to do the same.”
-Elena Brower (super cool NYC yogi, check out her IG)

Keep up with the oh so inspiring and lovely, Annie via her instagram @itsacurlylifeKeep up with our Anchorage lululemon store, their events (including TessieStyle + Beautycounter Pop-ups) via their facebook page and website!  Call #907.677.1346 or stop by their Anchorage 5th Ave Mall location at 320 W 5th Ave on the 2nd floor next to Starbucks to find your perfect fit or schedule a fit session! 
 

Dream Job Profile: Lara Stone of Babycakes Cupcakes, Etc.

dreamjobintro.jpg
image c/o: @babycakesak

image c/o: @babycakesak

Who:
Lara Stone

Occupation:
Owner and Baker of Babycakes Cupcakes, Etc. Anchorage, Alaska

You have always been one of the most creative people and talented artists I've known -  with an Art degree and an impressive experience list including graphic design and Makeup Artistry what inspired you to start baking?
First off thank you. You are an inspiration to me as well and were a huge influence and support to me when it came to turning this hobby into a business. I started baking in 2012 as a way to pass the time while waiting to give birth to my son (I happened to have a wicked sweet tooth;)). I was still working in makeup but found I could be just as creative with baking with half the stress and more fulfillment. I found baking for others to be community building. My love for it eventually inspired me to make it my full-time job. 

image c/o: @babycakesak

image c/o: @babycakesak

Describe a typical day when on a job:
Describing a typical day would probably bore you. It's a lot of routine (prep cupcake ingredients, get ovens ready, mix ingredients, bake, time, make frosting, decorate, post to social media). The fun in it comes with brainstorming new and unique flavors to experiment with and trying them out on customers to see what they think.

Any embarrassing instances on the job you want to admit?
No. Haha. I have definitely had my fair share of "baking fail" moments, but I tend to tuck those back into the far recesses of my mind and carry on as if I am the baking badass I pretend to be. 

image c/o: @babycakesak

image c/o: @babycakesak

What do you look forward to most when developing a menu?
Playing with new flavors and textures/inventing new dessert items. The artist background in me LOVES to experiment and create new things so my menu is constantly changing. I still keep the classics in heavy rotation though ;)

What is your favorite season to bake for?
FALL!!! Lol. I LOVE warm, spicy flavors and fall is the perfect time to tuck in and cozy up with some sweet homemade confections. 

image c/o: @babycakesak

image c/o: @babycakesak

You have such incredible style that really sets your brand apart and plays into your business - describe your style aesthetic:
Retro 50s/punk rock.  I like to think of it as a combo of sweet and edgy. 

How do you stay inspired?
By creating new flavors. I do a lot of research online or by reading cookbooks, finding out what other chefs and bakers are doing then brainstorming off that. I play a lot which makes it a lot of fun. I don't take myself too seriously when it comes to baking. If I had to make the same flavors over and over without anything new I'd probably go insane. The best part about this job is that I am constantly being creative and trying new ideas, and I can do that because I'm the boss! 

image c/o: @babycakesak

image c/o: @babycakesak

Do you think education is important in starting a business? 
Yes and no.  My education background is in Fine Arts, which has helped me in certain ways (with aesthetics, creating new and interesting desserts, branding, marketing etc), but not with the business side. I think that would definitely help, but there are resources out there to help small business owners succeed even if you don't have a formal education in business.

What are ways you have seen growth as a baker and business owner over the years?
Over the years I've figured out (to some extent) what works and doesn't work. Whether it be flavor combos and executing new ideas to what may or may not appeal to customers. I feel like over the years I've polished up my baking style (a little) and the way I market my business. I've also listened to a lot of feedback. It's funny to look back and see where I started. You might not think you're making progress, but little by little it adds up. 

image c/o: @babycakesak

image c/o: @babycakesak

What is some advice you would give to someone starting out that you wish someone gave to you?
Be flexible. Occasionally you will have to adjust your expectations and that's ok. You might get knocked down a few times, but you just need to roll with the punches, learn from your experiences, and get back up bigger and badder than ever. 

Who are some of your favorite foodie instagrams to follow? 
@passionforbaking and @katherine_sabbath are two major baking influences for me as far as baking style goes. I also can zen out on cookies decorating videos for like ever. @thehaleycakes is a good one. It doesn't stop at baking though, I love food in general. I follow restaurants all over the country and get inspiration from all kinds of different food. 

image c/o: @babycakesak

image c/o: @babycakesak

I know art and music have such an importance in your life-  who are some of your favorite artists and muses:
It's no secret that I love punk rock and rockabilly music and pinup culture. A lot of my cupcakes are named after rock songs or musicians or pin up/Hollywood stars. Some of My favorites would be: The Misfits, Danzig, David Bowie, Rancid, Stray Cats, Siouxie and the Banshees, Blondie, Beastie Boys, The Cure, Joy Division, NIN, Dita Von Teese...I could literally go on and on. 

image c/o: @babycakesak

image c/o: @babycakesak

Lara and I in the early days of Babycakes <3 Photo by: Brian Benavente

Lara and I in the early days of Babycakes <3 Photo by: Brian Benavente

Keep up with Lara and all Babycakes goodness via instagram: @babycakesak and online via: www.ilovebabycakes.com

Styling Session by BaiFray Dejong

Last fall I got to be styled and captured by the ultimate cool cat, @baifraydej (lurke her insta NOW for instant OMG! inspiration.)  We took to the streets of Anchorage  and were lucky enough to play dress up at one of my favorite boutiques, Circular, located at 320 W 6th Ave #132 in downtown Anchorage. 

ENJOY! XO

One Item Three Costumes: White Faux Fur Vest #AKHALLOWEEN

I've partnered with two of the coolest ladies in Anchorage:  bloggers Natasha Price of Alaska Knit Nat and Leslie Boyd Shroyer of AK ShopGirl  for the month of October to bring you a different Halloween theme every week with an uber fabulous curated collection of costumes, décor, crafts, and last-minute ideas.  In addition, Anchorage traveling speakeasy, The Sawbuck, will contribute fancy cocktail recipes, and the dopest DJ Spencer Lee will contribute a playlist to complete the mix #PartyUp. 

This week’s theme is inspired by Maurice Sendak's “Where the Wild Things Are."  

I have been given the challenge of styling three different costumes surrounding a single item, this week's being the white faux fur vest Leslie used to create her Max costume in her post here.  Alright, time to put my styling skills to the test.

I coveted the oversized furry vest statement since Zoebots started wearing them back in ’05.  They all looked so layered and fabulous and it was just such a D.G.A.F. attitude, I had to get on the bandwagon myself.  The only difference was all the faux furry vests I bought were from F21 and got so matted I ended up looking helpless and in need of a comb to untangle the discounted piece.  I rocked a cotton candy pink colored one my first official day as a set costumer on the first major motion picture I worked on and boy did I make a statement.  I made a “this vest is so low-qual it’s shedding every step I take and I should probably just straight up retire it since we were working on a hot set statement.”  Not a powerful fashion force statement really, but a statement nonetheless.  Start and end of my fancy faux fur vest experience, right there.  I still swoon over them when fall collections roll around and mass retailers feature them looking photo-shopped perfect in ad campaigns.  Pretty much what I’m saying is since I can’t wear the item in everyday situations, I’m all about breaking them out for Halloween, a day where you can be anything and host any attitude you darn well please!

When asked to style three different costume ideas around the fur vest, my mind of course went Rachel Zoe, M.K. & A, and Real Housewives of New York.  Since, R.Zoe and M.K. & A can cross over pretty easily with the oversized bags and mega Starbs cups, I humbly swapped M.K. & A out for the woman I think sums up everything that is wrong with the world, Kim Kardashian.  I’m just giving you guys an excuse to over line your lips, stuff your backside with pillows, and act vain AF.  You’re welcome.  The point of these one item three different costumes posts are not only to show how my styling talent extends past outdoor Alaska clothing, but technically it’s a frugile and last minute way to shop your closet.  If you don’t want to be frugile, but instead frivolous, feel free to use these posts as an excuse to shop and add things you have always wanted to add to your closet, okay?! 

The lovely Leslie has a dream closet and she looks friggen stunning in every clothing item she threw on so shout out to her for being my model and making everything look so simple!

Costume Number 1:  Rachel Zoe

This past spring I said I wanted everyone in high waisted flares so if you haven’t listened yet, go buy some right now, partner them with a long flowy blouse, big ass wedges, an oversized bag and sunnies, and the biggest Starbs cup ever.  Make your hair wavy and beachy because it’s so easy to do (yeah right), maybe throw on a turban and absolutely throw on a long necklace, scarlett lipstick, enormous cocktail rings, and an even bigger “I’m flawless and fabulous deal with it right now” ego.  You can also go evening glam as R.Zoe by wearing a sequined dress under the vest and just screaming “BANANAS” at EVERYONE.  Totally up to you, it’s your Halloween, you make the decisions.

Costume Number 2: Kim Kardashian

I mean, you might as well.  Throw on anything black and tight fitting, slick back your hair into a low bun, grab whatever oversized hoops your wore when club life was mad real, contour the f outta yo face, throw on any heeled shoe, take a selfie every five seconds and tell people you will be selling copies for $25 at a TBD time but they can pre-order now, cash only.  If anyone gives you ANY attitude, just remind them you are better than them because of all your plastic surgery and the fact that you are rich.  Oh gosh, this sounds so awful, I already regret swapping her in when I could be talking about Olsen’s right now!!

Costume Number 3:  Real Housewife of New York

Ok, I’ve never even watched this show, but any excuse to attempt to look classy classy CLASSY and whine about being frail, gold digging and being exhausted from sassing around the nannies.  Pretty much any Banana Republic pencil skirt works for this especially when partnered with any Nine West pump and corresponding BR blouse from the same collection / season of the skirt.  Pearls are a bitter Manhattanites best friend and sense of security so throw those on and make sure your hair is perfectly blown out and set.  Now pour a cocktail glass with drink of choice, act like Andy Cohen is on speed dial and you are set, Park Ave Princess!

Thank you for checking out my posts- I hope you are inspired!  Be sure to pop over to Alaska Knit Nat for her smashing and delightful floral arrangement here and check back next Friday for my next post!  

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!