From time to time we like to give you an inside look at a member of our team here at Hobie Surf Shop!! This week we profile the amazing Whitney Rose. She is one half of the management team at Laguna Beach Hobie, a wedding stylist, and by far and away one of the most creative people I have ever met.
Hobie :: Where are you from and where did you go to school?
Whitney :: I was born and raised in and around South Orange County. Laguna Niguel and Dana Point, but my heart and soul is for Laguna Beach. When I was growing up, I would any excuse to be here, and now I live here full time. As for school, I went to Dana Hills High School, after I attended The Sorbonne in Paris, then The Academy of Dramatic Arts in Los Angeles.
Hobie :: When did you start working for Hobie and what was your first job?
Whitney :: I started in 1999 when I was 17 years old as a sales associate at the Dana Point shop. It was my first job, and I was SO excited! I grew up with a mother who was super creative, and had a great sense for style and interior design. I could literally sit in her closet for hours picking out outfits and trying them on. Being raised around her creativity, I grew up loving fashion and merchandising, I loved design, so Hobie was a perfect fit.
Hobie :: Growing up in the area, what is your first “Hobie” memory??
Whitney :: It’s of my dad and his Hobie snap back hat. We used to take these family trips to water ski up to the Delta…. it was the 80’s, so I had the old school yellow Sony Walkman with the yellow headphones, of course, with Bruce Hornsby tape playing Mandolin Rain over and over and over again… anyway my dad had this old Hobie, so 1980’s, hat that was purple and black and he would water ski with it. He was a good water skier in it too. haha.
Hobie :: What was it like attending The American Academy of Dramatic Arts for acting?
Whitney :: I was shocked just to get accepted, I just didn’t think I would get in. It was really amazing to go there and be around all that creativity. I learned about myself there, you know, just because you don’t have an issue speaking in public, doesn’t mean you will be a great actress. It’s something the teachers stressed to you, that if you didn’t Have to act to be happy in your life, then they strongly suggested you do something else… the rejection in acting is brutal.
The whole time I went to school there, I was working at Anthropologie. While the kids at my school were living and dying practicing their pieces night and day, I was at Anthro merchandising late into the nights, and I loved every minute of it. I found my passion at The Academy, just not a passion for acting.
Hobie :: You work in our busiest shop- Hobie Surf Shop in Laguna Beach- especially in the summer, how do you deal with the chaos?
Whitney :: This will be my first summer both living and working full time in Laguna Beach, it’s going to be wild, the town triples in size in the summer. There are days in the shop where it is so crazy, I go home and the thought of talking to anyone else is too much, even the sound of my own voice annoys me. But… I have found that I do thrive on chaos. I opened the Corona Del Mar shop, and I missed the craziness of Laguna… It is where I do my best work.
Hobie :: What is the one thing you tell every new hire about working at Hobie?
Whitney :: Basically, above everything else, the customer is our #1 priority. Always. We want their experience in the store to be awesome. Even is they are just coming in to ask for the closest restroom, we want them to leave stoked!
Hobie :: How has working for Hobie made it possible for you to pursue your dreams of owning your own business as a wedding stylist?
Whitney :: The thing that I think is different about Hobie, is that I never have to hide that I have my own business on the side. Hobie always comes first, of course, and my events are scheduled around the shop… I have always been able to be honest, I don’t think that is true of other places…. there is a fear at other places of work that once your bosses find out you are building another career, they will let you go and start looking for someone else. With Mark Christy (owner of Hobie Surf Shop’s) and Jake Schwaner (General Manager of Hobie) it’s the opposite, they are your biggest cheerleaders. They want to see you grow, they encourage you every step of the way. At this point, they are my family. I can’t even imagine working for anyone else… they don’t micromanage, they don’t stifle your creativity.
[Ed Note:: What Whitney is saying is so on point, Jake has a motto “Hire good people, then get out of their way”]
Hobie :: Does one job help the other? As in, what have you learned at one, then applied at the other….
Whitney :: Totally. The whole merchandising thing, weddings are like a big one day merchandising event. Something as small as learning how to position an item in the window over the years has helped me, making those windows look good, I take pride in that. Planning Hospitality Night has really helped me throw a mean party!
Hobie :: Hobie is known as a company that always promotes from within, what is it that makes it work so well for us?
Whitney :: You know no matter who you are talking to in management at this company, they have worked the retail floor as a sales associate. They have folded hundreds of shirts, helped hundreds of customers, and done hundreds of go backs. They can relate to the staff in ways an outsider couldn’t. It keeps us a family.
Hobie :: If you had your life to live over again, what is one thing that you would change?
Whitney :: While I was working at Anthro going to school, I met a lady in the shop who was doing wardrobe pulls for movies and television. I asked her if she ever needed any help and to call me if she did. A few days later I went back down to Orange County to see my boyfriend, and she called me and said she was pulling for the Ben Afflec movie Hollywoodland and it was for the next day. I could have done it, no problem getting back up there.. but I blew it off and never called her back. I always regret that, who knows what could have happened.
Hobie :: Well…. selfishly, we are SO glad you are with us and not in Hollywood, because we love you and we can’t imagine Hobie with out you!! Thanks so much for your time Whit, and we’ll send everyone in to see your merchandising skills and to book a wedding!!!
Whitney :: haha… ok thanks!