This week’s post is more of an advice post. It came about when I got chatting to someone on a night out. After I began speaking to her, she became enthralled by what I do and began asking multiple questions about how I got my job, how long I’ve worked for the company and how I got into the industry.
For those of you who don’t know, I work within the Fashion Industry, in Merchandising. Although I’m not going to disclose who I work for, I began thinking that this could be an opportunity to share some advice on how to get into the industry and give an insight into my experience of the process. I will say that this is only one method, and a personal example of how I landed by dream job. There are many other ways, just as successful, but please be aware that this advice will not 100% guarantee you will get the job, as there are many other influences that can affect things. However, hopefully this will steer you in the right direction.
During my application process the focus was always on previous experience.
I’ve worked within retail since I was 16, working throughout the weekend to earn myself some spending money. This has since become invaluable experience, as it not only shows independence at a young age, but it’s also where you start picking up a commercial mindset. You begin to understand what the customer wants, how they shop and the products in demand.
Knowledge is power
Although I always knew what I wanted to do, I tried to be sensible when making huge life choices, namely the option of going to University and what degree to do. I decided early on I wanted to go to Uni and went along to the London College of Fashion to look at their Buying & Merchandising courses however, at that time the economy wasn’t really in a great place and I was worried I would be reducing my options if there were limited jobs once I graduated. Therefore, I chose to study a Finance and Business degree which would provide me with the analytical knowledge to go into Merchandising, but also give me the choice of going into something completely different if I wasn’t able to break the barrier into the Fashion world. You may also be interested to know that I now work with individuals who have a huge variety of degrees, including Geography, English and dedicated Fashion degrees – however, we all have one thing in common which is relevant experience!
One other piece of advice I would give is that if you are given the option to do a course with a sandwich year or some kind of placement – take it! The experience is absolutely invaluable.
Do your Homework
The interview process can be quite full on. To get my job I had to do a maths test, a video interview, an assessment centre and 2 separate interviews. I hasten to add that this is not always the case. It depends on the amount of applicants, the number of vacancies and other factors. It is however, always best to do your homework prior to applying. You should be aware of the different stages and be ready before the interview to knock their socks off with passion, knowledge and that all important experience.
The Industry Itself
Although my office is not like the Devil Wears Prada, I can’t speak for every office across the industry. I will say the office is very full on. Everyone works at 100 miles an hour, which is why its such a great environment to be part of (if you like that kind of thing). It’s also filled with the most driven people because everyone has worked hard to get where they are and they’re here because it’s what they’ve always wanted to do.
I’m also really lucky to have lots of fun, young and sociable people to enhance the social aspect of the job too. As people in the office like to say “weekend friends”! There’s also that added bonus of free clothes and access to sample sales (as long as you check the samples before you buy them as quite a few have large swatches cut out of them!).
The drawback I hear you ask? The money. It goes without saying that Fashion, in comparison to other industries, doesn’t pay that well (until you work your way up to the top). This is exactly why you have to have a huge tonne of passion to do any job in the industry, as well as having the knowledge that you’re more than likely going to have to budget every single month. If you’re up for that, then go for it! It’s highly rewarding (especially when something you’ve backed becomes a best seller).
I hope this gives you a bit of an insight with what it’s like working in the industry. Please feel free to ask any further questions in the comments below or contact me via my contact page.
That’s all for this week.