Ever wonder what it takes to make Three French Hens St Louis’ most beautiful store? Jeanie, Michelle, and Patty took time out of their busy day to answer some questions for me. We wanted to let y’all in on a day in the life for the hens at the Hen House. A lot of work goes into what we do. We women move all of the furniture throughout the store, decorate, clean, solve problems, assist customers, and LAUGH all in a day’s work. Our days are ever changing - no two are the same - and let me tell you something. We love what we do!
JEANIE HOOD is the owner and interior designer of three french hens. Her responsibilities include making all of the business decisions, taking care of her interior design clients, sharing her decorating advice with customers around the store, but not keeping track of her Starbucks coffee (that’s our job).
MICHELLE PIAZZA is the store manager and works on our in-home design projects. Her responsibilities include keeping merchandisers and other employees on track, producing a merchandising plan, assisting in market buying, and being the point of contact for both employees and customers. She truly works as if three french hens is her store.
PATTY ORT is the shipping and receiving manager. Her responsibilities include keeping track of all inventory that enters and leaves the store, keeping the warehouse and back room organized as inventory moves, making sure merchandisers are aware of all new product, and bringing in sweets for all employees to enjoy.
WHAT TIME DO YOU WAKE UP?
J: 4:45 am. Every day. Even on Saturdays and Sundays.
M: 6:15 am.
P: 6AM (and sometimes I snooze the alarm… twice)
FIRST THING YOU DO WHEN YOU WAKE UP?
J: Let the screaming cat out!
M: Get up, take my meds, and let my puppies out.
P: I say good morning to my dog Pumpkin, and the rest of the pack, who is sleeping next to me, and give her some love. Then I go down and make my coffee.
LET EVERYONE IN ON YOUR MORNING ROUTINE.
J: If the temperature is above 50 degrees…. I grab my cup of coffee (that Alan has made for me), go out on my front porch, say 12 things i’m grateful for, listen to the birds, watch the deer cross through my yard, let my old dog out, enjoy my gardens, and then I get my headset and meditate for 45 minutes. I grab another cup of coffee when I’m done, take a shower, get dressed, and leave the house at 7.
M: I go get in the shower, get out, wake up my son, Austin, and make sure he’s fed. I feed myself, get ready for work and head out the door by 7:30.
P: Make my coffee, feed my pack, we go on a walk-a-bout around my pond. I take a shower and get ready to come to work.
WHAT TIME DO YOU GET TO THE STORE?
J: Depending on how long the Starbucks line is….. 7-7:30AM if I don’t have an appointment bright & early. It’s the only time I can get my work done for clients with peace and quiet.
M: I’m supposed to get here at 9, do the best I can, but end up arriving around 9:15 to see my work family.
P: I leave around 7:50 and arrive a little before 9am depending on traffic.
MORNING ROUTINE AT WORK?
J: I usually turn on all the lights, walk into my design room and try to organize it for the day’s work ahead…. Depending on my client jobs, I start sourcing the right pieces of furniture, fabrics, paint, etc… I try to make a plan for the day.
M: Come in, turn on all the candles (and lights that Jeanie or Rae miss), turn on our music, clean the bathrooms, then I walk through the store and come up with a plan for the day.
P: Turn on the computers, say good morning to Lu, the store dog, touch base with Rae, Jeanie and Michelle and see what is top priority that day. Is there anything important going out, coming in, or anything else that I need to know.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS YOUR BALANCING ACT THROUGHOUT THE DAY?
J: Because of my other duties for the store, I get side tracked by orders for the store, ad hoc client meetings, and looking for my Starbucks. There is no set routine. There is a plethora of tasks that arise. I get busy with phone calls, answer all of the “Jeanie”’s that I hear throughout the day, and take time to talk to the customers. I thoroughly enjoy meeting all of our customers and answering questions.
M: I am in charge of a huge part of the stores daily operations. As a team, we love to constantly change the store around so that it’s fresh and appealing. Making sure that everyone is happy and having fun while still getting the work done is my balancing act.
P: My balancing act is to make sure that what we’re pulling in from our storage sheds has a place on the floor, and things coming off the floor have a place to go in the back while they are waiting to go out [to the client’s home]. The store is in a constant flow and changes every day. There is no typical schedule of pick-ups and shipments. Every day you have to adapt to the flow of new and exciting product coming in and outgoing product and I have to make room to store it all. Working in shipping and receiving is like Christmas every day seeing all of the cool new items that come in that Jeanie bought at market.
WHAT ARE SOME TASKS YOU MOST OFTEN COMPLETE IN A DAY?
J: Finding my Starbucks, because other than that, I feel like I don’t ever get a task completed. (She laughs.)
M: Re-doing rooms! I try to get at least one room flipped a day.
P: I unload furniture and accessories from delivery trucks and, again, facilitate the flow of merchandise. Trucks are continuously pulling up - you can hear their brakes when they pull around the building. When Christmas merchandise starts coming in, it’s nothing to have 10-15 trucks drop off deliveries every day. We are constantly pulling customer’s new-found treasures off of the floor, finding a place in the back, wrapping and protecting them until they get to go to their new home. With that, we have to reorganize merchandise every day to fill holes and re-energize the showroom floor.
WHAT ARE SOME DAILY CHALLENGES THAT YOU HAVE TO OVERCOME?
J: Trying to make sure all of my responsibilities are taken care of and juggling everything that comes up. Dealing with fabrics that are out of stock or backordered and staying within my deadlines. Continually finding unique, one-of-a-kind merchandise that no one else carries to keep our store interesting.
M: Getting everyone on the same page regarding my plans! Other than that, minor problems are easy to overcome here.
P: Juggling the product coming in, pricing it, getting it on the floor for people to shop as quickly as possible.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY THE MOST ABOUT A DAY IN THE LIFE?
J: Actually for me, the best thing about this is talking to the customers. Meeting all the different people that come in. Customers allowing me the freedom to make their homes beautiful.
M: I love everything about my job. I love Jeanie, my girls, the customers. I love the fact that I get to come in here and do what I love - decorate. I love making the store beautiful.
P: Being around all the talented, imaginative, and just amazing women I work with. Helping our merchandisers bring their ideas to life on the floor is my favorite part of the job. It is amazing to work here. I truly love coming to work every day. Another thing that I love about my job is that I get to work with my 80-year-old mother. After my dad passed, she was lonely and in a rut. She works harder than most 50-year-olds, and this keeps her young. Spending this time with her is just so precious to me.
WHAT TIME DO YOU GET HOME AND WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU GET THERE?
J: I usually get home by 6:45 and in the summer I’m immediately in my gardens. I come in around 8 to eat dinner, take care of my health in my infrared sauna, take care of the house, and try to be in bed by 9 or 10.
M: Usually 6:30-6:45. I usually go in. I greet my puppies, take my meds, and I start dinner if it’s not already started. I talk to my husband and my son to see how things went for them that day. We sit down and eat dinner, watch a little TV and lay with my dogs, and go to sleep.
P: My drive home is long. I usually have time to unwind. I get home, and I am immediately greeted by my pack. I eat dinner with my family and we enjoy sitting by the pond to relax.