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It all started with a shoe, then an elective in high school, followed by a recruit from the west and a big move to the opposite coast. From there, I toiled away at a fashionably pretentious over priced institute only to find myself spat out into the most grueling, catty and competitive industries...fashion. 'Devil Wears Prada' was just a book at the time and Sex in the City offered no insight to the behind the scenes of this industry I dove head first into, leaving me to feel I was in the shallow end. No pun intended.
Not to worry, I was still bright eyed and tulle tailed as a working girl at a denim showroom in downtown Los Angeles at the heart of the fashion district. That, unfortunately, did not last long. After covering up messes, fixing errors, re-ordering Nespresso cups, fourteen hour days, garment steaming and attedning design meetings in a ventless room with chain smokers, I decided to make a move. I interned as a creative director assisting Mercedez Benz Fashion Week in Los Angeles at Smashbox Studios, yes...we HAD a fashion week here. Dabbling in assisting makeup artists, dressers, wrangling models and soothing over caffeinated designers, I found a chaotic home. That lasted all of two years until IMG pulled MB Fashion Week out of Smashbox leading to the decline of a legit and structured presentation for Los Angeles and it's designers.
Left behind in the stylish dust, I took a break. A LONG break. This brake turned into a commission only sales 'career' which consisted of me going door to door selling office supplies in cities from Inglewood to Covina whilst recruiting others to do the same with me like it was an end all of end all experiences and you were lost without it. Dressing in drab and sporting a very much lack luster wardrobe (LA is hot when you are in the field for 6 hours a day) I seemingly traded my aspirations of donning Chanel and Jimmy for Ross mark downs and Old Navy flip flops. This lasted 4 years.
Coming out of the sales fog with commission breath and a need for success, I made my way back to my fashion roots by consulting for large brands as creative director and digital marketing director. I loved my work but it seemed daunting to be continuously passionate about someone else's 'baby'. I lept again, not knowing if I was going to venture into the shallow or the deep end. Either way, I wanted in that chic pool.
I made a decision to blog full time. Up until that point, the site had served as an outlet, an online journal for my rants about industry happenings like the world of counterfeit Louboutins and Madonna collaborating with H&M. So to kick it up a notch and make a name for myself, I dug both stilettos in and hit the gas. My background in marketing and social media certainly were boding well for me from the get go. What came in handy, however, were those pesky trade skills I gained after my super unsexy stint in sales. I found myself reaching out to brand after brand, selling them on how it would behoove them to allow me to feature their items on my site in addition to sending me items for free. What an odd concept! At first, I was a bit weary of 'requesting' items. I felt unworthy of 'free stuff'.
Well, that feeling did not last long. It soon came to fruition that those items were in fact not 'free'. Those items required man hours- back and forth emails, writing copy, scheduling and planning a photo shoot, investing in a decent camera, getting a photographer, styling the rest of the outfit, spotting a location to fit the 'theme', etc. When I realized I was back in sales, but on my terms, I felt a bit more like me again. The assertive me meshed quite well with the fashionable me. Entering back into my desired field as a self-assured, knowledgeable and passionate person led me to pursue more with the blog. Determining that this career choice would be the my path to success and happiness was simple at that juncture. It was a business, my business.
I would spend 9am-9pm emailing, scheduling, networking, attending events, posting, pinning, sharing, tweeting, shipping, traveling. I would attend Fashion Week in New York, collaborate with national brands, rub shoulders with fashion's elite. I was creating and molding my brand, my message. All on my own terms.
So here we are today. I am blogging and managing my site full-time and loving it. There are ups and downs, you bet! There are a select few in the blogging community that pay their bills and do more than just break even doing this. The fashion community still has a unsettled perspective on the impact of bloggers. As of recent, bloggers are being deterred from attending New York's Fashion Week unless they are there on behalf of a certified publication. Whereas the rest of the industry recognize that bloggers are becoming the new certified publications. Consumers are making their purchased based on blogger recommendations, not based on if Rosie Huntington-Whitely has worn it while grocery shopping. The economy shifted and so did social media. The majority of consumers respond better to digital versus print. They prefer to interact than remain anonymous and un-opinionated.
It is a fast paced, ever changing environment where in which a lead time used to be 24 hours is now 24 seconds. Change is the cause, bloggers were the effect. If a blogger is gifted a pair of shoes, those shoes in turn sell out (depending on the blogger's reach/impact)...the brand profits. Simple as that! For new brands seeking buzz and awareness, a blogger in their respective industry can put them on the map. We take the irrelevant to relevant with little to no cost!
This is something I understood immediately. It was a language I not only spoke, but mastered. My calling was to become a style expert without necessarily becoming a celebrity. My niche...blogging.
Through this self appointed position, I have learned copyrighting, photography, digital advertising, social media management, public relations, brand management, video editing, PhotoShop, event planning, interviewing, styling, sales, hair and makeup...the list goes on.
My most significant lesson, to my surprise...you do not have to be an ice queen to win in this industry. As much as I can relate to and resonate with Lauren Weisberger (author of 'Devil Wears Prada') I have experienced more success by being genuine and professional. I own my power of being a brazen female running her own business and possessing the ability to teach someone and empower another to do the same. I yield a great honor to be able to some day pass my 'expertise' along to willing minds wanting to pursue a similar path. And THAT means the world to me.
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