Raise a glass to Toni Glickman
Toni Glickman is a former retail executive, who spent twenty years in the cashmere and silk-studded front lines in the luxury space of this piranha infested industry. Toni, in her provocative new book series Bitches of Fifth Avenue, reveals the story of life behind the luxury lines—what the client never sees. The exhaustion, depression, and anxiety-ridden days of an employee’s experience, which clients never realize. The fear of low sales numbers, of losing rank, of losing a job to someone with a better client book. Also, there’s the fear of returned merchandise and the constant worry of losing a client to another salesperson. Never a moment of purity, or peace, or calm. It is a life lived constantly on the edge. Saks Fifth Avenue, Prada, Jil Sander, Chanel, Bloomingdale’s and Burberry—these were just a few brands in which Toni achieved success before ultimately being backstabbed by those she thought she could trust.
Moving up the ladder from sales associate to industry executive, Toni compares working in the field to the front lines of a minefield. Her colleagues exemplified the mines in which she had to navigate through in order to survive and make her sales numbers, which is all that matters at the end of the day when the cash registers close. An employee in this industry is only respected by how much business is done, in business lingo: “day over day, month over month, and year over year”. Expectations run high, illness is not permitted, and personal lives are ignored. It is report after report, endless conference calls, sales strategies, and goals. Personal shoppers do whatever it takes—it is sell, sell, sell.
Toni now enjoys life as a real estate professional, where she sets her own schedule and no longer needs to contend with maneuvering “bitchy” retail colleagues. She’s also a Francophile, plays classical piano, loves the cinema, travel, her children, family, friends, and Teacup Pomeranian—her very bold, spirited, and lovable pet dog. Visit Toni on Instagram.
Olivia Wyatt, a mid-40s, rich Washingtonian who beautifully plays the part of mother, socialite, philanthropist, wife, and Stepford cut-out doll in the chardonnay and whiskey-wrapped superficial world in which she lives. Her exclusive last minute D.C. dinner party didn't quite end how she had anticipated. Tragic news was served up late night instead of her planned dessert of luscious and blissful black forest cake. Olivia and her daughter, Gwynnie, suddenly need to rebuild their lives—and themselves.
Olivia reluctantly moves from her Georgetown high society personal battlefield back to New York City, and is on the prowl for work, only to find herself fighting in the trenches of a new, more intense luxury retail sales war. She dodges designer landmines in her new job as a high-end personal shopper—which only catapults her into a fifth gear spin cycle of anxiety, insanity and toxicity. She is now working alongside Bitches of Fifth Avenue in a gut-wrenching and nerve-wracking struggle to maintain her sanity, and her bank account. Olivia needs to find her way, and fast, before she loses her mind—and her job. (Courtesy of Amazon.)
Ha! It was interesting. I had a book agent in NYC for a while who ultimately retired...I was lucky enough to sign with another agent who sold my MS to Speaking Volumes, LLC...a fabulous traditional small press publisher. Getting published takes a lot of time and patience.
How is Olivia similar to or different from you?
I am similar to Olivia in the fact that I love to entertain, I love beautiful things and I lived in Georgetown - the historical DC neighborhood. I would add that I am also a little sassy and am true to myself, just like Olivia is. I always add one interesting and memorable accessory to every outfit!
If Champagne at Seven! were made into a movie, who would you cast in the leading roles?
I have so many ideas of who would play who...maybe Rachel McAdams, Sienna Miller, Katherine Heigl for Olivia, Neil Patrick Harris, Rupert Everett, Victor Garber or Jim Parsons for Felix? Emma Stone for Zoe. Maybe also Emma Mackey or Lili Reinhart as Gwynnie...this would be so fun to do! May I be that lucky!
Where is your favorite place to spend money?
My answer to this question has changed over the years....Twenty years ago, I would have said the great luxury brands of the world. Now....it's depositing money into the bank!
What is the last movie you saw that you would recommend?
I just saw Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris...it's the story of a lovely English widow who works as a housekeeper, becomes enamored with a Christian Dior dress and finds herself in hot pursuit for one of her own!
Tell us about a memorable experience you had this summer.
I just got back from a long weekend trip to NYC with my son. (My daughter Gigi was too busy to join!) Bruno and I hit the pavement and did the Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island, Empire State Building, Central Park tour, Broadway Show (Mr. Saturday Night...amazing!), Nintendo store (three visits to be specific), and had countless slices of pizza...all of that and even more Starbucks coffees for me to keep up with Bruno!
Thanks to Toni for visiting with us!
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