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International Women's Day

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To mark International Women’s Day on March 8th, we present A Day in the Life of Suzanne Treasure, the owner of the Choices Flooring store in Port Macquarie. Suzanne had no previous experience in the industry when she bought the showroom with her husband nearly five years ago. Since then, while overseeing an all-male workforce, she has built it up into a multi-million dollar business.

8am: I meet the installers in the warehouse and request updated copies of their insurance and workers’ comp certificates before allocating them jobs for the day. I then go to the showroom and put up the flags out front; just one part of how we make customers feel welcome.

9.30am: The first customer of the day wants to look at our selection of floating floors to cover existing tiles. I send her home with vinyl plank samples and promise to come to her home and help with colour selection. Another customer asks about vinyl planking. It’s easy to spend 45 minutes talking vinyl and carpet-matching; it’s a good start to the morning.

11am: I spend most of the morning on the phone; we are a small business with three staff in the showroom (including me) and one in the warehouse. The two other staff come and go to customers’ homes to quote and measure. I’m careful to help and work closely with them. I believe that if the team is in harmony, our store will prosper.

A husband and wife come into the shop. They have four young children and a dog and want a cosy and practical carpet for their renovation. They leave the showroom having agreed on a carpet. Great.

12pm: I really need to catch up on paperwork so I eat at my desk. I don’t think I’ve been discriminated against as a woman in this industry but I do think that the combination of being a woman and being new to the business had an impact at the beginning. I’ve learned that one of my skills - and it’s one that many woman share - is that I’m a good multi-tasker.

1pm: New carpet samples arrive so we make space for them on the showroom floor. Then vinyl plank stands arrive from the cabinetmakers; they are great to look at and make it so much easier to show the range to customers.

3pm: I have a satisfying win with a builder. We follow Australian standards but often builders want to cut corners with floor preparation. After some negotiation – another female skill! - the problem is solved.

4pm: Back to paperwork, invoices, MYOB etc. Our store is about to tick over five years of trading and we have built great relationships with our manufacturer’s representatives. They now they have respect for me… or maybe the dollars we turn over in the store.

5pm: My wonderful staff go home and I close the door. I get to work late with no interruptions, dealing with invoices from suppliers, deals from company reps etc. In this industry I feel that with knowledge comes respect. Rome wasn’t built in a day, business is the same. It has taken time and positive energy to create what we have with our business and I’m proud of what we have achieved. My advice to women heading into a non-traditional role would be to listen hard, learn from those with knowledge (in my case, central office and our fellow Choices Flooring store owners & managers), and perhaps stand in the background before gracefully moving forward.

6.45pm: Enough introspection, it’s time for tennis! I change into my sports gear and compete in a mixed comp with my husband before retiring for the evening.

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