I spent all day yesterday recovering from Cocktails with Claire London (pictures to come). In the meantime, I received some reader mail. Let’s dive into our latest Ask Claire question!
Jazmin writes, “I am a Southern University Alumni as well as a FIDM Alum. My skills include editorial styling, editing, trend forecasting, visuals, trend research, creative directing, social media, buying, photoshoot concepts, blogging, marketing etc. I just have The Eye- for detail) My passion is to position myself to be on the cutting edge of the fashion industry. I was always taught that my gift would make room for me…. but it’s not working out.. for me it’s heartbreaking to be honest.”
I’m trying to follow my dreams of being in the industry, but what do you do when you can’t get a job in the fashion industry? What do I do when nobody is taking a chance on me. I’ve sacrificed so much to go to school, I’ve even lost someone I love for the sake of following My Dream. I’ve applied everywhere you can think of and still no prospects (that I know of). I’ve had my mom (who is my biggest supporter and an exceptional business woman) and every counselor at FIDM to critique my resume, I’ve gone through temp agencys’, I’ve done countless internships, I was even the beauty editor of my schools magazine (I’m Published!), I’ve run the whole Styling department while on set shooting by myself (you know how Sr. stylists can be). I want a career that can take care of me financially but one that I’m passionate about, where I can actually use my skills that I’ve learned. I would like to apply my gifts of creativity & precision to do great things, all I need is a chance. What do I do Claire Sulmers? I would really like your help.”
I think it’s almost fate that I took a picture in front of the above sign yesterday. But my short answer would be, “Just Go For It.”
The long answer: if you are talented in so many areas and can’t find a job in fashion, your only real choice is to create your own movement. Create a blog that reflects your talents in editorial styling, editing, trend forecasting, visuals, trend research, creative directing, social media, buying, photoshoot concepts, blogging, and marketing. Launch an Instagram page that shows how gifted you are. A blog or Instagram page can act as a great accent to your resume. Devote yourself to your project, and show potential employers how resourceful you can be.
I can say from my experience that I, too, couldn’t find a job in fashion. So I created Fashion Bomb Daily, which was supposed to be a platform to display my talent. Fashion Bomb Daily got my foot in the door when my University degree and work experience were not enough. No, it did not help me get the writing position I so coveted from Women’s Wear Daily, but it undoubtedly helped me get an internship at the website of Paris Vogue. How could they say no to a woman who had created one of the world’s 100 most influential websites in the world (FBD was #98 on the list when I got my internship)? Eventually I was able to make money from Fashion Bomb Daily, and get to a point where my hobby sustained my lifestyle. Now companies are clamoring to hire me.
This was not an easy journey. There were many years that Fashion Bomb was not paying the bills. But I stayed persistent and consistent. I had a writing gift and a love for fashion, and realized that ‘lack of a job’ was not a good excuse for not expressing myself. I did what I loved, for free–the money and jobs followed.
So for you, dear Jazmin, do not despair. Show and prove.
Imagine if Beyonce (for example) kept trying and trying to join a choir vs. creating her own music? If Steve Jobs applied to work at a software company vs. creating Apple? Sometimes you are simply too great to work for anyone else. You need to create your own, and the world would benefit from you doing what you do in your own unique way.
For now, find small jobs that can pay your bills. Freelance. Work in retail (I worked at Ann Taylor, it was awful). Small jobs to pay the bills are temporary, but you gotta eat! All the while, show your devotion to your craft by simply creating. And the cream does rise to the top! When you’ve done good work and paid your dues, the world will take notice.
Love & Light,
*PS It’s true that some people do not have that entrepreneurial bug. That’s ok, too. If you yearn to work for a larger corporation, consider taking an internship. I did three internships after graduating from college. No job is too small. Keep pushing and don’t take no for an answer. I wanted to work for Vibe Magazine so badly when I graduated from college! I offered to work for free. They would not let me in! So I went home to Atlanta and worked for a smaller magazine to get my foot in the door. Keep asking until you get a yes. You only need one.