When an ugly Christmas sweater empire needed to expand this year, they decided to take a decidedly different approach. They had applicants submit videos of their dance moves.

“We found a lot of great people that way,” said Jeremy Turner, owner of the Ugly Christmas Sweater Shop.

By now, you have surely heard of ugly Christmas sweaters. And “heard” is the word, because they tend to be loud. They jingle and shimmer, radiant with Christmas joy.

It makes sense that Turner is the guy who sells them. He’s gangly and energetic, seemingly always decked out in a hideous green Santa sweater.

Jeremy Turner
Jeremy Turner

“I love Christmas,” he said. “I’m into authentic sweaters. These were never intended to be ugly, they were intended to be pretty.”

He started his shop in Dallas a few years ago, gathering vintage sweaters in one place for sale and rent. Now, he has an inventory of more than 10,000 vintage sweaters, many of them one-of-a-kind.

This year, he decided to open new pop-up shops in Frisco and in Fort Worth, and quickly needed a lot more help.

“We need to look for people who are a little hyper, just crazy about Christmas,” Turner said.

Ugly Christmas Sweater Shop in Fort Worth
Ugly Christmas Sweater Shop in Fort Worth

So instead of a typical application process, he asked people to send in videos explaining why they wanted the job and also to show off their dance moves.

“All you had to do was dance,” he said. “It showed us you were willing to have fun.”

They received dozens of videos for the open positions. Many were from students looking for part-time work, and there was even one from a retired teacher who was quickly offered the job after she danced and recited a poem explaining her qualifications.

“When he stopped laughing, he said, ‘You’re hired!’” recalled Diane McCusker, 69.

Ugly sweaters are a perfect fit for McCusker. She said when she left teaching after 45 years, something was missing.

Diane McCusker
Diane McCusker

“I don’t have kids to make me Christmasy. I’m not going into work everyday,” she said. “So what a great way to interact with all of these people.”

Now she embodies the Christmas spirit when she’s in the store. She even wears her ugly sweaters to church on Sunday to spread the word, hoping more customers will come in so she can help them find the best -- or the worst, depending on how you see it. She hopes to keep doing it every year.

“I’ll be selling sweaters on a walker,” she joked.

Whether it’s a sweater or a person, there’s beauty in finding a new purpose. There’s nothing ugly about that.