In honour of Mother's Day this week, we thought we should formally introduce you to Sal, our resident Salt & Sand mum, and our treasured steamer lady.
If you've already met her, you would know she's super friendly, and I think it's widely known that she loves a good conversation with just about anyone. When I asked her if she had any other skills beyond steaming, she replied "Is chatty a skill?" and I think yes, in her case it definitely is.
Sal's all about the people, and usually at least one person per day, minimum, will tell me just how lovely my mum is. She's kind and generous, and will go out of her way to help someone. One of my favourite things is watching her direct customers to the fitting rooms as if they're navigating a multi-lane freeway, and more often than not she'll just end up walking them there herself in case they get lost. For the first year and a half at the shop, I never once had to buy toilet paper because Sal kept bringing in her own rolls from home and topping up the supply. Unnecessary yes, but very sweet and kind.
In her younger years, she travelled through Europe and lived in London, working in the luggage section of a very well-known department store. She loves any meal she hasn't cooked herself, and her favourite beverage is a double shot skinny latte.
She's a stickler for tidiness, so it's probably no surprise that one of Sal's biggest pet hates at the shop is people leaving the changerooms in disarray, or dumping a tangled pile of clothes on the counter sans coat-hangers for us to put back on the racks. And rare is the day she opens the shop without having vacuumed the floor first.
Sal's also pretty creative, but she's been banned from designing window displays ever since she suggested we bring in a pile of freshly fallen Autumn leaves to decorate part of the floor. I'm not sure whether it was the thought of collecting the leaves from the wilderness, or dealing with the eventual rank, decaying smell, but it was met with a resounding no from me.
Every Mother's Day, birthday and Christmas, she asks for a Labrador, and this year is no different. For 14 years, we had a gorgeous black Lab called Ralph, who bore more of a resemblance to a coffee table than a dog. Ralphie was as friendly as he was round, largely thanks to Sal generously feeding him scraps to make him a strong, young pup. Now she's stuck with two semi-psychotic Kelpies, and she'd do anything for another roly-poly Lab like Ralph.
If she was to head off on holidays tomorrow, there's a very high chance she'd make a beeline for the WA coast. She's been over there twice on recent holidays (pre-COVID I promise), both south through Margaret River and Albany, and north of Perth to Kalbarri and Coral Bay. She loves the scenery and the coastline, but I think the friendly people might have been the deciding factor.
Funnily enough, she left most embarrassing moment blank on her interview sheet. I would suggest a strong contender would be her recent overfilling of the steamer, but I'll let her tell you about that incident in person. And no, she was not "giving it a clean and service" - nice try, Sal.
She's full of ideas, keeps us aiming high, and is the eternal optimist in our midst. When I'm feeling nervous or worried, Sal's there to assure me it will be smooth sailing in the end. I may not always appreciate her positivity at the time, but so far she's been pretty right with her predictions.
Sal's favourite thing about Salt & Sand is being able to see "the delighted expressions of customers who find their perfect piece". I couldn't have said it better myself.
We're very lucky to have her, and I hope our chatty steamer lady is here for some time yet.