I find it very interesting to hear people’s back stories; the why and how they got to where they are. It is fascinating how roads bend and turn and lead one to their passion. There is never a cookie cutter path, which makes everyone’s story truly inspiring. I would like to walk you through my story:
Let’s start with how I got into fashion. In college, I was a music business major wanting to focus on concert production. I graduated college in 2008 when the recession really hit. This was terrifying. One of my professors even told me that statistically, my generation will and can never be as successful monetary wise as generations before us. At 21 years old, what do you do with that?!
After some very eye-opening internships at major music moguls, I realized this is not the correct path for me and that I should explore my career goals in a broader range. I ended up at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) in New York City. They have a wonderful professionals program that is not only affordable, but taught by industry professions. An intro to fashion styling course caught my eye, fast forward 2 years later I was done with the course and knew fashion was for me.
I finished FIT in 2011 and took anything I could find, I was very green and I knew nothing of the freelance world. For a while, the best jobs I could get were TFP (time for print). I styled all sorts of test shoots for free in exchange for images to build my portfolio. To be honest, It ate up a ton of my money and was always a huge investment with no guarantee that you would end up with useable images.
Fast forward to June 2011, I was offered a position at NET-A-PORTER. I eventually worked my way up to becoming a still life stylist, and I spent my days styling product for their website. I worked on everything, it was such a great experience.
In April of 2014, the scariest part of my career started. I left NET-A-PORTER and began to freelance full-time. I learned more in that year and half than I had during my time at NET-A-PORTER and FIT combined. Looking back, I am so very grateful to of had this experience. I was thrown into uncomfortable situations, long days, endless amounts of new faces, and a growing list of clients. I was so proud of myself for going out there and just doing it. This experience made me more confident, stronger in my styling skills, and ready to find my next chapter.
During my time freelancing, I was exposed to a lot more editorial work. I found myself struggling with the fact that even though I had no say in how images should look or why. I increasingly felt this urge to be the creative mastermind behind the photos, not just styling them.
In August of 2015, I started at Hudson’s Bay Company as a Photo Art Director for their digital space. I got hired to cover men’s and kid’s content across saks.com, saksoff5th.com, lordandtaylor.com, and thebay.com (based in Canada). I finally felt like I had found my calling!
Two years later, HBC had gone through a lot of changes: I went from being on a team of three, to doing everything myself. I was SO grateful and excited that I had the opportunity to take creative control over my areas. However, the summer of 2017, they decided to lay off 2,000 people. My team of Photo Art Directors went from 10 people down to four, six of us were let go. Honestly, I feel like this was meant to be; I was given another chance to go out on my own and explore what I truly wanted for my career.
I began to freelance again while I applied for full-time positions. It gave me time to reflect on myself and what I want in life. Quickly, I got the same itch that I did when I was freelance styling, the need for creative control. While I had creative freedom at HBC, there were a lot of other people involved which often made things difficult from a creative perspective.
Fast forward to now, I follow a quite a few influencer/bloggers and they all have started to open up about what it was like to be an influencer, how they got there, and the truth behind it all. I found it so fascination. You can create your own brand, be your own person, and have creative liberties. This seemed like a no brainer for me. Why wouldn’t I work for myself? I already freelance, have art directing/ styling skills, and learned a bit about photography, why not see what could happen.
So, I rebuilt my website and launched it in November 2017 with only 6 blog posts. I began to plan my content, brand my instagram page, and grow followers.
Now, I am slowly putting together more and more content for my website, trying to work with brands I like, and learning new things everyday. I love having control over my images, my voice, and hope that this will one day turn into a full-time job.
Nothing about my career path has been by the book. It took a ton of hard work, dedication, tribulations, and a LOT of stressful times to get to where I am. There is still have a long road ahead of me, but I consider myself extremely lucky to have the career I have, I do not plan to stop now!
(To see more of my work check out my portfolio page!)