Yesterday I was asked the question ‘how did you get where you are today’ and my initial thought was ‘I just did’ but let’s be honest, that is in no way how it happened. There were a couple of internships, job interviews, disappointments and a few ‘because I have to’ gigs in between.
While I know every career path is different, I would have to say that mine has been just as unique as other peoples. So here we go…
My entire life I have been interested in fashion. I always loved to shop (for myself & others), helping my mom and grandmother pick out jewelry and outfits growing up, reading magazines and even going as far as commenting on my teachers wardrobes when I was little (yes, true story).
My junior year of high school I started looking at colleges with my parents. Knowing that I wanted to major is something ‘fashion’ related and being a decisive person in general I only looked at 3 colleges. SMU, Baylor and The University of Kansas. I immiedielty took SMU off of my list, not because I wanted to but because at the time they did not have any majors that were fashion related (now they do!). So it was really between KU and Baylor. I honestly could not decide. I went back and forth for months and months. Finally in April, just a month before I graduated from High School, I woke up to a voicemail from a friend listing all of the reasons Baylor was the best school. To me, it was a sign. So I accepted Baylor and was so excited to move to Waco and start school at the end of the summer.
At orientation I selected my major, Fashion Merchandising with a minor in Business Administration and never looked back. Apparently the average person changes their major at least 7 times but not me. Like I said, I’m pretty decisive. The summer after my freshman year of college I knew it was time to get my first ‘real’ job. So spring of my freshman year I went on the job hunt. I applied for a lot of different things that I thought would help build my resume and experience. I ended up getting a job at Nordstrom Northpark working on the retail floor in the Via C department. You guys, I was so excited about my first ‘real’ job. Not only because it was with Nordstrom but because I found it all by myself…I was pretty proud.
Little side note: my dad has done a lot of cool things throughout my life but one of the coolest gifts he has ever given me was he made a copy of my first check and had it framed. It’s hanging on our gallery wall in Wade’s home office..pretty funny!
After the summer ended it was back to school for me. It was such a great summer filled with so much great experience. I learned customer service, patience, organization, sales, working with others and so many more ‘in store’ retail related things. It was a great thing for my resume. The summer after my sophomore year, I went on a Baylor fashion merchandising trip. We spent a week in Montreal, Canada and a week in New York visiting different showrooms, speaking with fashion designers, costume designers, heads of department stores and so many industry people. It was such a great trip where I got to see ‘all sides’ of the industry. After that trip ended, I headed to Costa Rica to complete Spanish 1 (what an experience).
School started per usual in the fall and it was another summer for the books. The semesters flew by and I realized I was not only completing my junior year but also that I needed 3 semesters of Spanish….YIKES. 1. I was feeling the pressure of school beginning to come to and end 2. 3 semesters of Spanish in a classroom was literally my worst nightmare. I decided to go to my guidance counselor and ask her where I could finish my Spanish credits over the summer. She told me there was a program that was starting in a month in Mendoza, Argentina. Not being the best with maps, I assumed that it was ‘close’ to Costa Rica and since I had such a good time there the summer before, I said sounds good.
So I told my parents that I would be living in Mendoza, Argentina for the next 4 months..with a host mom and competing my Spanish credits at a college there. I just want to side note that when I signed up for this experience (and that it was), I did not have a clue that in Argentina the seasons were opposite. No summer, it was winter there. Pretty different. I will say, this was the best summer I have ever had in my entire life. I learned so much about myself, about others and about a new place. I loved the friends I made from Baylor (a few are still some of my best friends), the people I met who lived in Argentina and the experiences that I will never forget (skiing in Las Lenas, staying out until 6 am, horseback riding through the Andes mountains…I mean the list goes on). Best. Summer.Ever.
After the best summer ever, senior year started. I was scared because I knew my time in college was coming to and end. The semester continued and in October of my senior year, last minute I went on a 10 day trip with TOM’S shoes for a shoe drop in Argentina. I spent 10 days with the founders of TOM’S, learning about how they had and idea, built their brand and grew it to what it had become. It was really interesting speaking to such cool guys who just went for their dream. It was also really amazing doing the shoe drops at orphanages around Argentina.
The fall and spring semester came and went and if you read my post last week (about how Wade and I met), you know that I moved to L.A. for the summer after my senior year to complete my last college credit which was a formal internship. I interned at a local publication in Los Angeles and worked on photo shoots, did marketing, learned about everything from media kits to how to pitch yourself to advertisers. Little did I know that this would be another side of the industry that would provide so much valuable information to my future.
After graduation, I was officially on the job hunt. Again, I knew I wanted to be in the fashion industry in some capacity but not sure what ‘direction’ I wanted to go in. While I was job hunting, I decided to take a job at Juicy Couture to earn a little extra money while I was looking for something that would be more permanent. I worked at Juicy for about 3 months before I landed a job with a major surf brand working as an assistant clothing rep for the southwest territory. I loved this job. I loved it because I became instant good friends with the lead representative and we got to work from her house, which was something I never even thought possible with a full-time career. We traveled together, unpacked thousands of samples, merchandised the showroom, worked markets, put together buys for accounts and learned what products worked for different regions. For me, it was like being a buyer without worrying about the accounting aspect of that job (math is not my thing). It was such a great job.
While working as an assistant clothing rep, I was also working for a local personal shopper on the weekends. I would help her pre-shop for clients, organize their closets, pack their suitcases and put together outfits for special events/etc. I could not even believe that I was getting to do this on the weekends. I mean, the woman I worked for had made a career out of shopping for others. How cool! I did this for about 8 months (while also working as a clothing rep) and wanted to somehow go out on my own. I talked to the lady I was working for and she said I could do it on my own. Now it was time for me to really put my thinking cap on. How could I do what she was doing but reach more people? I wanted to figure out a way to do in store but also online consulting…..
I decided to build my own brand, which meant investing in a web-site. Wade actually came up with the name Dallas Wardrobe one night during a brain storm session. I contacted some guys I went to high school with to build a web-site/brand for me and they got going. In the process of building my brand, they recommended that I have a tab on my site that said “blog”. This way a potential client could get to know me/my style better and plus it would help my wardrobe consulting SEO and google search ability. I would be lying if I said that I was not against adding a blog tab to my site. I did not want to AT ALL. I thought it was such a silly concept but after they talked me into it, I finally caved.
I was working all the time building my clientele and at night I would update my blog with style tips. Well I began to notice that by updating my blog, I was reaching so many more people…People outside of just my Dallas market. Readers consistantly returned and my audience continued to grow. Honestly, I was so confused because this whole ‘blog’ thing was so new to me. I decided to be more consistent and start adding outfit posts (my worst nightmare at the time). The readership grew. Next thing I knew, this ‘blog’ that I had not wanted to do in the beginning had begun to consume so much time and become bigger than I could have ever imagined. I decided to do a second re-brand and make my blog the main feature but also provide a potential client with information on how to work with me.
Now 5 1/2 years later, the blog is my full time career and the dream job I never even thought existed. Yes, I work all the time. My hours are insane but no day is the same but I would not trade what I do for anything. The people I have gotten to know over the years are incredible, the experiences have been one of a kind and I am blessed to be able to work from the comfort of my home (someday’s in sweats). It was been a long, long journey to get where I am today and each experience along the way has helped me not only learn but get to where I am today.
If you have actually read this post from start to finish (good for you), please know that it has not been easy. I have been disappointed, hurt along the way and at times discouraged and uninspired. No two career paths are the same and everyone has their own journey. Mine has been different for sure, but all of my unique experiences along the way have gotten me to where I am today and I could not be more grateful. xx
image by sukilynn