February 3rd, 2014
Bomb Life 101, Career, Claire's Life
Started from the Bottom: Claire’s 6 Tips on Breaking into Fashion
By Claire

Someone asked in a prior post how I started in the biz, so I decided to give you a bit of insight on what I did to get here, and how I’ve navigated these treacherous yet stylish waters.


claire-sulmers-andre-leon-talley
In the very beginning, posing with Andre Leon Talley ca. 2005 (?). I had a thing for J.Crew. Andre said he liked it! He was probably just being nice.

In my mind, I’m far from successful (I’m trying to get that Oprah), but there are few things I’ve learned along the way. Behold, my 6 Breaking into Fashion tips.
1. Intern, intern, intern.

Upscale Magazine Blindsided
Something I wrote for Upscale Magazine. People refuse to spell my name correctly.

Did I mention interning? There is no other way to break into fashion. Why intern? You learn the ropes, learn how to write ‘magazine’ copy through small tasks (writing captions), and start to build a network of peers that will last you through the duration of your career. My first internship was with Upscale Magazine down in Atlanta. I applied on a whim. After graduating from college, I actually had dreams of working in TV, but couldn’t find a job at all, even with internships at PBS and ABC under my belt (yes, interning starts early. Try to get summer internships during college). At any rate, I was out of work, so I told myself, “I like to write, why not work in magazines?” I was in Kroger one day and saw Upscale on the newsstand and picked it up. I looked on the masthead for a contact and address, then sent my resume, cover letter, and a copy of the first chapter of my college thesis (I wrote about the Venus Hottentot for my final paper. More on that in another post). Long story short, I was called in to interview, and they loved me (duh!). I wanted to write about news, but they only had an opening in the fashion and beauty department. And thus my journey began.

claire sulmers upscale magazine
One of my first published pieces.

I wasn’t paid a red cent, which is normal in media. People really don’t get it: you have to work for free or for minimum wage to break in. If you don’t do it, please believe there is someone else who will! Thankfully, I was living at home at the time, so expenses weren’t super high. I made a little money on the side by correcting college essays, and got a part time job at Ann Taylor (which I hated. I really can’t do retail). I made it work until my next internship, which was New York Magazine. There, I was paid $5.15 an hour, but made ends meet by staying with a friend and by making frequent visits to my aunt, who cooked lots of delicious food that I would happily eat (I’d then wrap up a few plates to take home with me and eat throughout the week). Back when I was making $5.15 an hour (4 days a week), I remember looking at J.Crew sweaters that cost $50, and calculating how long it would take me to buy it. My clothes weren’t always up to snuff.

the bomb life
But look how skinny I was!

One day I walked into New York magazine in a woefully wrinkled wool coat (it could’ve used a good steaming or dry cleaning), and one of the ladies asked if I worked there–perhaps she figured I was riff raff off of the street! But I learned so much from all my internships, and still keep in touch with many of the people I started out with, who now have plum jobs at big media organizations. While at New York Magazine, I remember going to get British magazines for Joanna Coles, Editor in Chief of Marie Claire, who was then a senior writer at NY Mag. You never know who you’ll meet along your path, so do great work and try to stay in touch! I’m not so good with the staying in touch part, but the experience of working for a magazine will prepare you for all your future writing endeavors.

2. Take risks.
marc jacobs claire sulmers louis vuitton party

After all my internships (I also interned for Newsweek), I found the holy grail: a great full time job that was lax enough to let me do what I wanted, for the most part, as long as I got my work done. Still…I was unhappy. For 4 years, I worked at a magazine, researching, writing, and fact checking stories, but my real goal was to work in the fashion department. But, I kept getting passed over for promotions, and requests to switch departments were denied. Not one to stay in an unsatisfying situation, I decided to move to Paris (revisit my announcement post here), and put my French Degree to some use.
claire paris

Did I have a job? Did I know anyone there? Not really! But I knew I couldn’t stay in New York if I wanted to move to that next stage in my career. Paris is known for fashion and I had a degree in French I hadn’t used yet, so it seemed to make sense! I quit, dropped everything I knew, and moved across the ocean. My goal was to work at Women’s Wear Daily or Vogue (I always shoot for the stars). How I’d get there, I didn’t know. I eventually ended up interning at Paris Vogue, which was a miraculous act in itself, but I can say that the Universe rewards risks. I think many editors I wrote to after my move to Paris were impressed by my gumption, and by my willingness to do what I needed to do to get where I wanted to be. If I needed to start from the bottom at a fashion magazine and intern to break in, I would intern! In Paris! Moving to France was awesome, also, because I was able to experience fashion week, even a little. Men’s Fashion Week, Womenswear, Couture…I was in town for it all!

3. Stay Humble.


Claire sulmers in paris doing something happily
I’m smizing here

My internship at Paris Vogue was a humbling experience. I went from having a full time job with vacation, benefits, and an office to an internship that paid 350 Euros a month. I had more experience in media than my boss, who was several years younger than me, but it didn’t matter. I was suddenly the lowest on the totem pole. While at Vogue, I was called a ‘nobody,’ made to stand outside of shows with a camera in hand and take pictures of people for the site, and relegated to doing the tasks most people didn’t want to do. But, I did it happily.
Me working hard for Paris Vogue
I knew that the experience was what I needed to break into the upper echelons of the fashion industry. So even though I was poor, overworked, and sometimes undervalued, I came in early and I stayed late. I pitched ideas, and swallowed my pride when my ideas were rejected or passed over. I ate my little baguetttes with butter and did my best. And Paris Vogue led to Italian Vogue; working for both entities have continued to contribute positively to my website and my career.

4. Don’t be too sensitive. Develop thick skin. Don’t take anything personally.
tibi skirt what am i wearing the bomb life
So I’d be all dressed up for work, and I’d write news stories during the morning, then switch into my flats for the afternoon. I’d walk along Avenue Montaigne, Rue St. Honoré, and Rue de Rivoli looking for stylish passersby, so I could tell them, in my American accented French, that I worked for Vogue and that I wanted to take their snap. French people don’t like to have their pictures taken. For Vogue, I was instructed to take pictures of people dripping in high end labels. Most Parisians with money don’t want to flaunt it–hence a big difference between American and French culture. Americans are flashy; the French like to promote a more egalitarian outlook (people are supposed to be equal, but they aren’t). So if someone is rolling in the dough, they don’t boast. At any rate, I heard, ‘Non,’ a lot. And expect to hear NO all the time in fashion. No, you can’t come in. No, you’re not on the list. No, no, no. Just let it roll off your back and keep smiling. If someone tells you no, find a way to get a yes.
me taking pictures in paris
All you need is one yes. Maybe ask in a different way.

5. Try to be nice to everyone.
claire sulmers robert verdi phillip bloch ms. jay alexander
For some reason people believe that being a b*tch is just what you do in the catty world of style. I’ll let you know: it won’t get you far. People won’t like you. They’ll plot your demise. People talk. The world is small. And all that negative energy? Ain’t nobody got time for that! And while it’s a given to be nice to your peers, I can’t overstate it enough how important it is to be nice to security guards, members of entourages, publicists, the list goes on. Be professional at all times. If someone says they can’t invite you to a show, say thank you, curse them out in your head, and plot for next season. Noone likes a sore loser. And I’ll tell you one story of when being nice helped: I saw Rihanna at the Margiela show in 2009, and of course wanted to meet her! All the press were swarming her like flies, but noone was paying attention to her best friend, Melissa, who was right next to her. So I went up to Melissa (who is now a star in her own right) and started chatting with her. I told her about the site, and about how much we loved Rihanna–and loved her style. I gave her my pink card, then we parted ways. Later on, I was milling around by the entrance, and Rihanna came up to me! She asked about the site, and seemed genuinely interested. Then we took a picture.
claire sulmers rihanna the bomb life
I’m sure Melissa had spoken to her backstage and encouraged the pop princess to come say hi. So that said, you don’t always have to go the obvious or most direct way to get what you want. If the front door is slammed shut, try the side door. Be creative. Start a blog. Take a risk. You won’t always be comfy, but that’s just the world’s way of testing you; and the industry’s way of seeing if you really want this. And once you’ve paid your dues, the pay off is quite grand.
3--claire-sulmers-gianvito- 2  claire sulmers gianvito rossi paris fashion week rick owens spring 2014 brooks brothers peter pilotto runway fall 2013 skirt red black white
6. Look the part.
claire sulmers the bomb life
I initially was only going to provide 5 tips, but decided to make it 6 so that I could include this very important piece of advice: Dress and look the part. Fashion is a superficial industry. Find a way to stand out. My way was to dye my hair platinum blonde and always have it done! If I can’t do my makeup, I get it done. An upgrade in wardrobe also helps;) While I was slaving away getting all the juicy experience, I honestly couldn’t afford to do much of anything (as the pictures above undoubtedly display). But once my hard work started to pay off, I began investing in myself.
2  claire sulmers t by alexander wang neoprene zip dress helmut lang jacket givenchy shark tooth sandals
If you’re not a woman of color, you can get away with just being cute and having nothing to say. Black women have to be smart, well dressed, well traveled, speak languages, deal with nonsense, smile…a lot will be demanded of you. Just do it. It might take you a while (I still have not reached the promised land), but don’t give up. As one of my favorite mentors once said, “Keep on keepin on!”
That does it!
I hope that was at least somewhat helpful to someone out there.
And thank you for reading my new site!
xoxo
*I actually have even more tips, but think this could be a book. Once I get my millions in 2016, expect a book deal to follow shortly thereafter!
**Last tip: Say what you want to achieve, and tell everyone. You never know who might emerge who can help you reach your goal. Please believe, I told everyone who would listen that I wanted to work at Paris Vogue (read the story on the picture below here).
claire sulmers vanessa paradis paris vogue
And Voila! It happened.

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110 comments

110 Responses to “Started from the Bottom: Claire’s 6 Tips on Breaking into Fashion”

  1. Noelle says:

    Claire, this post is so inspiring so thank you for taking the time to write it. The beautiful thing is that these tips are not just for fashion. They can and should be applied to all aspects of life and I intend on doing just that.
    i really do think you should write a book, you are a self made, successful black woman ONLINE and off. I would be first to pre-order a copy.
    Have a blessed year.

  2. tasha says:

    This is a really great piece and a testament to working hard. So many people dont want to intern or work really hard. They just want the lights flashing and to be known with nothing.

    It is rare that actually happens. These are all great tips. We have to start on the bottom and work our way up. We have to be ten times better because to be pretty and white mediocre is okay.

    Kudos to you for chasing after what you want. Go the self publish book wrote! You have a base already. No need to wait for someone else to come swoop in and only give you 40% when you deserve it all.

  3. Joslyn says:

    I loved this article, especially the expectations of women if color. This is why I always try to keep up with my reading, watch educational television, travel and experience different cultures.

  4. A is for Awkward says:

    Love the story and outlook Claire! Also your outfits (in blonde) are so ridiculously on point I don’t even know where to start. Girl your shoe game is tight! :)

  5. Chas says:

    What an inspiring post… I found your website over a year ago and visit it everyday, sometimes 2 or more times a day. I love to see black women doing it well!!! My hats off to you and I wish you continued success.

  6. Ciara Smith says:

    THIS WAS AMAZING! VERY INSPIRATIONAL!! THANKS CLAIRE

  7. Jasmine J. says:

    Claire you are such an inspiration! Before reading this I admired you and your website and have been reading it from the beginning (back when I was in middle school!). To see the growth of your success and empire is what I use for my inspiration all the time! Being a black girl in college who’s aspiring to get into the beauty/fashion industry through writing and cosmetic science, it’s next to impossible to find anybody to relate to or admire similar careers let alone believe that it’s possible to have a promising career in the beauty/fashion industry. I have dreams of working in Paris and following a path that I respect for myself through hard work and dedication just like you. This post just reminded me why I can’t quit. To see the evolution of your career in these pictures is truly amazing and it reminded me that things can’t just happen overnight. Can’t wait to witness the bigger and better things you have in store because your story inspires me everyday girl! xoxo

  8. Kiara Richardson says:

    As a junior in college with dreams of landing a job in the fashion world, this story is so inspiring. You give me hope that even though I may have to travel to NYFW to volunteer for free and intern for a little bit of money, it is all worth it. Thank you very much and I will continue to read all these different tips. They really help and I’m glad to see one from your after reading most of the other ones on the FashionBombDaily. One of my intern dreams is to one day intern with you all. Good luck in all that you do.

  9. This was so inspirational and came at a perfect time for me. I’m about to quit my job and start my own business and only today I had real last minute nerves and for the first time considered forgetting the whole thing so thank you so much for telling your story. You are so right about women of colour needing the whole package. Great post and thank you again.

    x

  10. Erinn says:

    I really love this post Claire!! People mistakenly assume that success just happens overnight. It’s always refreshing to hear about the grinding that went on behind the scenes as inspiration.

  11. Savannah says:

    Thank you Claire! This is exactly what I needed on a crappy snow day in New York. I aspire to work in either Fashion Magazine or PR and every now and then I fall into a rut and start to feel like I can’t make things happen. Yesterday I felt exactly like that, but this post was the push I needed to lift my spirits, so once again Claire, thank you!

  12. Dobe says:

    Awesome piece, Claire! Great to see the evolution in your pics… you have definitely come a long way and deserve all the fruits of your hard labor.

    I’ve always wanted to break into fashion, and it’s proven difficult, especially when you don’t begin early and end up with bills to pay. But these are all great tips, and as someone stated earlier, can be applied to many aspects in life. I have been a looong time reader of FBD and I am always so proud when I see you taking it up a notch… “Keep on keeping on!” (also one of my father’s lines, lol)

  13. Mak says:

    Great post! It’s nice to see how far you’ve come. Keep up the hard work!!

  14. Don says:

    This is truly what determination is all about. Kudos to you Claire.

  15. Bkcopywriter says:

    This was a very inspirational story. Much needed. It seems like starting at the mail room or the bottom isn’t that bad after all. Merci Madame Claire!

  16. southern says:

    Claire you are an inspiration, you’ve come such a long way. I have no interest in going into the fashion industry, but you’ve given tips that are great for any career.

  17. Myesha says:

    The motivation that I just received from this post is indescribable. Thank you so much Claire for taking the time to write about your journey. I will be looking forward to your book!

  18. Crisjae says:

    Thank you so much for the advice Claire, I am so determine to work hard and push forward through all the bull they throw at me… I’m glad I got to hear it from your point of view.. I am currently a fashion merchandising student, hoping to be working in London once I graduate.

  19. niknikky says:

    This was a very enlightening, very inspiring post. Great job, Claire.

  20. Ahsia says:

    Your story is so inspiring! It’s amazing to actually see your journey through pictures, and now see the fruits of your hard work/determination. I am a 20 yr old college sophomore and this article made me realize no dream is too big! Hopefully I’ll see you one day at Fashion Week :)! xoxo

  21. Rese C. says:

    I have been a fan of this site from the very beginning. I even remember when you use to have clothing exchanges in your apartment. Needless to say it has been a pure pleasure to watch your growth. While I am not looking to be in the fashion industry your growth inspires me to keep on keeping on. As a small business owner it is very encouraging to see the pay off from working hard. Looking forward to the book.

  22. Essie Golden says:

    This has given me SO much hope. Thank you for sharing your journey. I’m in awe of you! I can’t wait to see what you do next!

  23. A. Jeannine says:

    Loved this- it seemed to be one of your most transparent pieces yet. BTW..I found your site by reading your work on Black Vogue Italy about 4 years ago and have been a faithful reader of your blog ever since!

    Congrats on the great work and I’m sure so much more is coming for you!!

  24. i am transitioning into the fashion world as a grown woman and it is hard. thank you for the tips! you are an inspiration!

  25. dea win says:

    GREAT POST! You are truly an inspiration…….I totally needed this today :)

  26. i am transitioning into the fashion industry as a grown woman and it is hard. thank you for taking the time to write this. you are an inspiration!

  27. Dericka Dyer says:

    so inspired love it!

  28. Anonymous says:

    WOW, I’m so inspired by your story! Thanks for sharing.

  29. Sasha-Shae says:

    Thanks for sharing this Claire! Awesome and inspiring. :)

  30. S says:

    This was an awesome piece Claire! So informative and inspiring. Gives me some much needed motivation! *SMILES*………

  31. Esta Fiesta says:

    Great read Claire!! VERY inspiring! I’ve had my shares of ups and downs trying to make it in this industry and it’s refreshing to hear this type of advice!

  32. Tamara Pridgett says:

    This is wonderful, and not just for people aspiring to be in the fashion industry. I’m about to graduate and have been having unecessary panic attacks about where I will be in a few months/what I’ll be doing & this is so motivating. :)

    P.S. do YOU offer internships?

  33. Trisha says:

    Loved this !! You are very inspiring. It’s really great to see how far you’ve come and how far you’ll go.

  34. Nony2001 says:

    Thank you Claire for sharing your inspiring story and I can’t wait to buy and read your future book!

  35. Brittani says:

    Claire, I loved the tips!! You have a great brand and are an inspiration to me!

  36. Chasing Joy says:

    These are really great tips. They apply to life in general and not just the fashion industry.

    Thanks for sharing.

  37. So inspiring and you’re beautiful.

  38. Fisayo Longe says:

    You are so inspiring Claire. Thoroughly enjoyed reading your story and I can definitely relate to some of it. I love your ambition and work ethic. The sky is the limit for you. I hope I see you around during LFW, would be lovely to meet you.

    http://www.mirrorme.me

  39. Blamo Jaurey says:

    Claire this piece was long overdo! Thanks for sharing your journey and driving home the point that to have true and lasting success is to work hard for it. You are an inspiring – amazing- bombshell indeed!

  40. Dee says:

    Your story is so inspiring Claire!!! Thank you so much for sharing. XoXo

  41. melissa says:

    claire this is inspiring to say the least. we have spoken about advertisement over the past week claire and i swear to you i’ll be sending you a payment very shortly. you have just inspired me so much. i dont even know what else to say. just know for the lil chocolate girl whose had dreams of being in the fashion industry since a baby is doing her best to get there. thank claire. i will reach out. its melissa from sense of style boutique. thank you

  42. facialuxe says:

    Well done Claire!
    Very true and inspiring post. This, in essence, is how a sister should be on her “grind”. Especially. With point #6. A black woman needs to be better inorder to get ahead and establish her self in any field. I’m looking toward to purchasing your book!

  43. Bukky says:

    Great post Claire! I’m an avid FBDer, going on 6 years almost and I truly admire your strength, determination tenacity and humility.
    While I’m not in the fashion industry, nor have plans to work there, I think you are still highlighting VERY important tips for life and the pursuit of a career especially for Black women. I’m pursuing my PhD in math education and while my work/credentials are going to speak for itself, the impression I make on people, and who I meet can (and do) still factor in heavily into getting into the career I want.
    I’m going to show this to some of my young mentees who want break into fashion. I want them to understand that dressing the part is one thing but working towards something is so much more important in the beginning.

  44. Eva says:

    A friend told me to come by and check this out. Neither one of us has fashion as a main focus on our blogs, but this post has so many gems in it – pleased that she recommended it! My mom told me a lot of this, but when you are grown and IN it, sometimes you need someone else’s perspective to refresh your thinking.

    Thank you.

  45. Debbie says:

    Thanks for sharing this, you won’t even know how helpful this is for a lot of people. I studied fashion styling and interned for so many established stylist that are lit of years younger than me and I have the accent issue which makes it more harder.Instead of pressing on like you did I started my own personal style blog which is even harder. But your story is top notch, so inspiring. Thank you for sharing it once again

  46. Katie Alexis says:

    This was so awesome. I really changed my outlook on somethings…

  47. Claire says:

    Dear Everyone: WOW! Thank you for your comments. I honestly wasn’t expecting this response. Maybe that book deal will become a reality after all…?
    I sure hope so.
    More to come from TheBombLife. Still figuring it out, but we’ll get there.
    xx

  48. Raven says:

    Amazing post and so very nice of you to share your story Claire, the good and the bad. Bravo!!!

  49. Dorie says:

    So I must admit .. Your post gave me an engery boost . I feel like I can run an extra mile now . Keep up the good work ..

  50. Colo says:

    Wonderful article and great testimony. For a recent college graduate with a degree in fashion, these were the right words that I needed to hear at the right time. thank you

  51. Hi Claire reading this article or short bio has given me so much hope for the future and also drive to continue following my dreams in fashion of course.I was so drawn into each word and advice,i must say THANK YOU for sharing.Alot of people forget where the starting point was,when they have climbed the ladder to a certain point,let pride set in and never acknowledge another person trying to make it.Actually one of my dreams was to meet you in person, and ask you how you manage to keep up with the day to day details on your blog.Truth be told,i can’t even keep up with you if i tried..Smiles. I needed a life coach and i found one.Thanks again and hope to meet you in person someday.

  52. Charnele says:

    This is undoubtedly one of the best stories about breaking into the fashion industry that I have heard in a while! Thank you for being so transparent and inspiring with your life and story. Lord knows it takes a lot of heart, dedication, and faith to go through the trials and challenges of accomplishing your dream. I went from having 2 internships, a work study job, and full time school schedule my last semester of college to being unemployed and just blogging and being “poor” for a year. But best believe I was at fashion week in my home town of Miami using my last coins to pay metered parking because fashion is what I love. Now I’m a copywriter for a men’s grooming company and spend all my extra time in grad school and working to expand my blog. Your story hit home for me and was such a necessary boost of encouragement. Thank you so much Claire! xo

  53. mikey kun says:

    I loved reading this, I can take away so much from this and apply it to my own dreams. Thanks so much for writing this.

  54. Hi Claire,

    This entry was very inspiring. Thank you. I met you a couple of months ago at the Time inc. event. I told you I wanted to start a blog and start writing about fashion. You said Do It! Just write! And so I did… Thank you for the brief chat. You also said I may send you something to read for your feedback. If that offer still stands, I would like to email something I’m working on. I hope to hear from you soon.

    Thanks again!

    Shetira Urquhart

  55. rw says:

    luvv Rihanna’s nipple ringed boob resting every gently on your bossom, bot in black turtlenecks, and your always warm and winning smile

    ahhh, this was awesome

    i work in the fashion industry as well, but on the design end, and there are many similarities in your journey

  56. Arryles says:

    This Post was extremely inspiring. I am looking forward to your book. I admire your drive and tenacity to create a job that you truly love. I have a back ground in fashion design and merchandising. I have recently started a line specializing in pencil skirts. I would one day love to have you wear one of my designs. Keep smiling and dreaming big. Thank You for the wise advise.

    arryles.blogspot.com

  57. tami says:

    Very great tips

  58. Olwethu says:

    Thank you so much for “keeping on, keeping on” if it wasn’t for that I would be miserable most days as i visit it each day in order to feel better and plan outfits. Mostly your entries are inspiring.

  59. chuqqy says:

    I love you claire!

  60. chuqqy says:

    This is beyond amazing claire! I admire you a lot and your journey proves that “it always seems impossible until its done” -Nelson Mandela.
    And also a reminder to all that nothing good comes easy.

  61. Bobbie says:

    Claire,

    What a great article. I love your journey to your passion of fashion. Your smile tells it all on how happy you are doing what you love. Such an inspiration

  62. Mads says:

    Such an inspirational read! This has probably been said already (62 comments in) but these tips can be applied to any career. I work in corporate communications for a FTSE 100 and being black and female, my game, all aspects of it, has to be 100% tight all the time.
    You’re a credit to our race sister; I’m looking forward to what the future holds for you. x

  63. hollyjae says:

    Amazing, inspiring, and encouraging all in one. Watching you progression makes new bloggers like myself “keep Keepin on” as you said! I get a little discouraged at times when I don’t see as many views or comments as I like, but I have to understand that growth is necessary. Starting from the bottom is what humbles a person once they do get to the top. This post has really touched me and gave me numerous ideas on where to go from here!

  64. SabrinaK says:

    Man oh man! This is what I needed this morning as I sit here at my Probation job feeling down and out because apparently my sense of style is not for this job and one young lady always has an opinion and feels as though she has to comment on it. I felt like I took the wrong path in life and studied Criminal Justice when my true passion lies deep in fashion and jewelry/accessory design. Your story speaks volumes to young women like me who feel as though they have no hope and we have to just settle for an 8-4 and give up on our passions and dreams. It is so true with what you said about taking a risk and stepping out of your comfort zone to achieve what you want and getting to the “Promise Land.” You are truly an inspiration and you just gave me the drive to focus on what I have to do, to wake up to a career that I love.

    Chuqqy you said it best nothing good comes easy. Truth!

  65. I know that everyone has probably already read and responded to this post, however, i’m still leaving a comment as it was truly inspirational to me! All points have been written down and I will use this as a daily reminder to continue pursuing my dreams. Thanks Claire!

  66. Aleet says:

    Awesome article, Claire!
    Very enlightening, encouraging, and uplifting no matter what industry one aspires for. So happy for you. Can’t wait for that book in a couple years!!

  67. michboa says:

    Inspiring. Thank you for sharing.

  68. Mac says:

    Please write a book. I would be the very first in line to buy it.

  69. I.M. KELLS says:

    Great read Claire! Very inspirational! I’m happy that you have accomplished so much and chose even greater goals for yourself in the coming years. Best of luck!

  70. Erin says:

    I almost stood up and clapped after reading this article. You’ve been an inspiration to many of us for so long, and I love how open and humble you were in this post. Your hard work and determination is very clear. I’m so happy I had the chance to meet you and write a couple posts for TFB. That truly meant the world to me. You rock Claire Sulmers, can’t wait to get your book when it comes out! *claiming it*

  71. Great tips. I’ve been reading since the beginning and I love seeing you on the come up. I feel like I know you!

  72. Kalifa says:

    Claire, I would just like to say this post is amazing. I have literally been reading your blog since 2007 when a friend of mine first introduced me to the site in undergrad. And I have to say seeing you evolve over the years is truly inspirational. You have come a LONG way girl and I wish you all the success in the future and I’ll be reading while you do. :-)

  73. Indigo says:

    I love this article Claire! You have given me much to think about… A lot of your advice just doesn’t apply to the fashion business, but business period. S/N… I wanted to continue reading the piece you did on blind dating. lol

  74. DeeFresh says:

    I like this article. I’m super happy you posted this. One of my goals was to meet you and ask you most of these questions lol so kudos on truly writing from your experience and sharing your story!

  75. Mel says:

    That was a wonderful post Claire. I recognize myself in your earlies. I live in Paris and I’m currently at the “intern, intern and again intern” stage and being humble and nice is for sure the key to success.

    As you’ve mentionned in your post being nice to everybody is way important, the assistant may be editor in chief one day and will remember your name for sure aha. Ironically I look to move in NYC soon I have completed my internship and achieved my degree

    Your journey is very inspironnal and I hope you will reach your “promise land”

  76. Tiara says:

    I just want to say thank you. As a fashion student, graduating in December, I am definitely nervous about what to do or where to go. This really helped. I love your blog and I will continue to read and be inspired by your spirit and your style.

  77. Jaranne says:

    Wow. This was an amazing read, Claire — completely inspiring.
    These tips are applicable way beyond the fashion industry! That book would be a “Must Have” on my list any day.

    Keep doing what you’re doing and investing in the surest thing you can, yourself.

  78. Miss KS says:

    Your story and your journey are inspirational. I love you platinum locs and your eye for style. Thanks for this post.

  79. Sara Cantu says:

    I loved this post, Claire! I have been following your blog for years now and it was a major source of inspiration in starting my own blog, which in turn led to pursuing my fashion writing career. Never in a million years did I anticipate turning my passion into reality, working my own hours, writing about what I love for a living, all from a small town in Texas. Thanks for continuing to inspire tons of young fashionistas! Keep doing you, Boo.

  80. Keepinitreal says:

    This was so on point! It was so nice to hear your journey. I graduated last May and 8 months later…I’ve still been searching for a job. I completed 7 internships while in college. SEVEN! Even with all those contacts I still couldn’t find a job and have been temping…after all that…I thought well maybe my path is meant to be different. I started a celeb blog in the summer…haven’t seen instant results and haven’t been consistent since there is way too much going on in my life BUT THIS advice right here…you have shown that if you want to accomplish something, you can NEVER give up! Luv it Claire!

  81. MsDL says:

    Very inspirational and insightful post…I am a firm believer of speaking things into existence along with following through ! Gorgeous woman with such great experience may you be Blessed to continue to pursue all your dreams and goals reaching the level of success your heart desires. I enjoy your reading your blog and classy style, thank you !

  82. Sheena says:

    Claire – You truly are talented, beautiful, humble and an inspiration.

  83. Tiany says:

    Loved it!

  84. laurelle says:

    Thank you Claire for this post!
    I am actually struggling and feel a bit (-a lot-) discouraged but your words were very encouraging and inspiring.
    Since you speak french: ‘Merci beaucoup et bonne chance pour la suite de tes projets’!

    I am a french speaking woman and I apologize if there are some mistakes in my message :-)

  85. Meagan says:

    God has a way of speaking to you through people. Thank you Claire, I’m sure you’ve inspired so many individuals with this post! I, being one of them. Thank you, thank you thank you!

    P.s. When did you return to the states?

  86. Jewels says:

    Claire, this was soooo on time for me! Thank you for sharing your story and inspiring myself and others. I am a freelance wardrobe stylist and fashion blogger, I have been hitting a lot of [career] road blocks lately, and it’s hard to stay encouraged. But it will come together in due time I have to continue to work.

    You are a true inspiration!

  87. You definitely almost had me in tears Claire! Thank you for sharing your testimony! This just made me love you even more! Definitely assures me, we are heading in the right direction! -Edwina from Edwina LaShan ❤️ Thank you! You inspire me!

  88. Danielle says:

    Hi Claire that information was very helpful but I am too old to intern do you have any suggestions on how to get started a little later in life because this is my passion Claire

  89. Joy says:

    This almost brought me to tears…very inspiring article. Congratulations to you and job well done!!!

  90. Margo says:

    Thanks so much for sharing your story. Very moving & inspirational! Your humility is refreshing. You’re truly a divine being!

  91. Ty says:

    Simply Beautiful

  92. […] and for those of you who are thinking of breaking into the fashion industry, check out this super inspiring post by Clare Sulmer. It is so very informative and full of information and behind the scene images […]

  93. […] She continued, “With Rihanna, it wasn’t like she requested the service. I offered it. Most people didn’t know personal shopping was even an option. But I offered, went over and above, and cultivated a great relationship.” Wise words from a successful industry fixture! Well, I hope this interview was as informative and fun for you as it was for me! We’ll be doing a lot more of these–my goal is to have one every week (or every other week). Is there anyone else you’d like to read more about? Let me know in the comments. *Want to know how I got my start? Read my Breaking Into Fashion tips on The Bomb Life! […]

  94. Zee says:

    Wow! I enjoyed reading your story. I often have to remind myself to keep moving forward. “Follow your dreams”, “Don’t get too comfortable” , “Never give up” Those are the things that I have to keep in mind. You are living proof that hard work pays off! Congratulations! God Bless! :)

  95. Fumi says:

    That was really inspiring, especially since I’m getting ready to go to fashion school.

    At 39.

    Changing your life as an adult is hard but harder would be to look back and regret. So thank you for that. I will be looking back on this post when I have a down moment and remind myself to get off my butt and keep plugging away.

  96. LOVED reading this! I’m not necessarily trying to break into the fashion industry, but this was inspiring for me nonetheless. I’ve been following you and your work for a while now. You’re such an inspiration!!! <3

  97. Shea says:

    Wow, admire you for being so persistent. You seem to be so genuine I wish nothing but the best for you.

    I am very proud to be a part of your blog I have seen you in so many different areas in fashion and I had to know who this chick is? Not in a bad way. Fashion knows Fashion and I know you will achieve those millions!!!

    Continue to be Fab and Humble you have a Beautiful Spirit.

  98. Shea says:

    LOOOOVED your story and I wish you nothing but the BEST such a Humble Sweet Spirit.

  99. Thanks for your inspiring story and words of wisdom! Has an educated woman of color in her 50′s, that is changing careers of an elementary teacher to a writer, blogger, online global teacher… you have inspired me with your global ambitions. I will continue to follow you
    Peace
    Bev

  100. Cari says:

    Claire,

    I cried reading this. I am not into breaking into fashion, however this post urged me to go for my dreams regardless of what they are. You are truly an inspiration, and I pray that God continues to bless you beyond measures!

  101. Cassandra says:

    Claire,

    You are truly an inspiration. I myself, am having a hard time breaking into the fashion industry living in Toronto, Canada and as a black woman. Your honest words have restored my inspiration and faith.

    Thanks,

    Cassandra

  102. Alyssa Wilson says:

    VERY inspiring story. Just graduated from NYU in May w/a degree in film & tv production and I am going through the same thing that you went through post-grad. I think this story might’ve changed my life. God Bless.xx

  103. So inspiring. Thanks for sharing.

  104. Geesh Claire. The smile on my face reading this was so grand. So inspirational. I so love from where you’ve come and to where you are going. Thanks for sharing and always being true to yourself. Peace, Love & Blessings!

  105. Detra says:

    Fantastic article! I am older than probably most who are following you and your site, or maybe I am being presumptuous. I have loved fashion since I was a child, my mom and aunt showed me the beauty of black women and Essence help to teach me the beauty of black women in fashion. I am an actor, its my number one passion, but I often think of becoming an editor of a fashion magazine, but then a little voice in my head tries to speak to me and say it’s to late I am to old. Let me tell you all, that you are NEVER to old to achieve your dreams and passions, go for it, push yourself and remember to do as Claire has instructed and be nice to everyone. Cheers! Thanks Claire.

  106. Giselle says:

    Bookmarked and revisited every time there is an inkling of doubt. Dreams are real and do come true. Plans and preparation go hand in hand. And honestly, I’ll be the first to buy your book — you already know. Thanks again.!

  107. oh woow woow that is so inspirational and l cannot wait to read that book,you are amazing!!! God Bless you and keep on keeping on.

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