What it takes to get a job in fashion industry

Posted by Kathleen Fasanella on Jun 2, 2009 at 2:41 pm / Newbies / Trackback

This will be eye opening for those of you who are looking to get work in the fashion industry. This is a legitimate job offer a friend emailed to her friends. Like many in the industry, she’s side-stepping recruitment services and employment ads. She’s looking for a pre-endorsed candidate. This employer is uber connected and highly influential but not a brand name. If I were close (Napa County CA), even I would give this job serious consideration because there’s a lot this woman can teach me, particularly about product marketing and retailing. Do make note that not one word of fashion industry experience or education was mentioned. In real life, this is what any employer needs you to do. Seriously.
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Help me find someone amazing! I need to find someone amazing to move forward. Currently I need part-time, paying between $12-18 per hour and that really depends on the person’s level of experience and capability.

Here are the skills I need:

  • Extremely efficient with the computer, personally I’d prefer the kind of person who spends probably a tad “too much” time on the computer. I wouldn’t really be able to work with someone who felt kinda “icky poo” about computers like all they know how to do is just check email and watch youtube. Microsoft Office is a must, but really someone very computer savvy and efficient.
  • A really patient temperament to deal with customer service issues.
  • Someone reliable, dependable, hard working and a really strategic and creative thinker
  • Someone who only needs to work part time but can be there during the hours they need to be there (i.e. consistent schedule)
  • An independent thinker and worker, someone personally motivated to excel at everything they do
  • Integrity

Decent writing skills are a must, I’m not expecting a Rhodes Scholar, but it drives me crazy when people use than instead of then or conscious instead of conscience (really, those are two of my biggest pet peeves ever).

A college degree is not necessary, but honestly, I have come to learn that I tend to work better with people who at least went to college for a little bit, even if they didn’t finish, even if it was community college. So yeah, it won’t reflect poorly on college dropouts if you send them.

The person has to be able to work on site at my office in southern Napa county California.

Here is what they will have to do:

  • Take care of my customers like they are the only people who walk the face of the earth. This includes phone, email and using our customer support suite (internet based software) to manage contact
  • Work with suppliers and the fulfillment center as part of managing the customer experience (hey, did you ship our stuff, we have people waiting for their stuff)
  • Take some telephone orders, needs to be a trustworthy person as they will occasionally handle credit card info (no thieves, sorry), process credits/refunds, etc.
  • Work with the publicist to send out samples to media and to beg, borrow and steal samples from sales reps and manufacturers to get them to magazines on TIGHT deadlines (tight as in getting a call at 1PM for samples that have to go out the same day and the showroom is on the east coast which means everybody will go home soon)
  • Ship packages that have to be shipped from the office (it isn’t much, but it is what it is)
  • Manage website inventory updates
  • Basic administrative tasks and research, data entry, run of the mill admin stuff, call this person get that

Here’s what I really want for someone to do:
I need somebody who wants to make things better. Somebody who looks for ways to improve upon what is there. Not the kind of person who comes in “punches a clock” and calls it a day, but somebody who can look at the way things are done and figure out better, faster, easier, smarter ways to get things done.

Here’s what I don’t like:

  • I cannot micromanage anyone
  • I don’t like people who don’t own up to their mistakes, defensiveness does not facilitate improvement. We all make mistakes, I do it nearly every hour of every day. A “yeah, my bad, it won’t happen again” is a whole lot better than “well, you did this and that and how was I supposed to know” or even worse “well it’s not my fault, there was a glitch in the Matrix.”
  • I can’t deal with people who stay at a job they don’t want to do just because they need the money.
  • I don’t like people who can’t (or won’t) think independently, who can’t (or won’t) problem solve

And here’s the cold hard truth:
I am HIGH STRUNG and have a tendency to get antsy, which doesn’t make me the easiest person in the world to work with, but as a boss, all I care about is that the quality of the work is good and that it gets done. If an employee needs flexibility to be able to live their life (classes, training, family, etc), I am absolutely okay with that.

I need your help. If you know of anyone who is looking for part time work, who is flexible but reliable, please do let me know and pass it along.

Help me find someone amazing!

—————–
You know what the tragedy of it all is? That the subject of her email was “Help me find someone amazing!” That today, someone who does a job properly is amazing. We’re all looking for someone amazing. Amazing counts for so much more than education and experience.

This is a legitimate offer from someone I admire and respect. If you’re amazing and interested in this position,. I may already know you to the extent that neither of us cares if you skip the final spell-check but I will be forwarding these so a proper business email is best.

3 Responses to “What it takes to get a job in fashion industry”

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Esther
June 2nd, 2009
6:14 PM

I would seriously apply for this job. Someone wanna invent the Stargate, because I am currently landlocked in Idaho.

Carolyn
June 3rd, 2009
10:31 AM

I concur. It is a tragedy that doing it how you’re supposed to makes you ‘amazing’ these days. When people tell me “man, you’re amazing. How do you do that?” I think to myself “how do you NOT do that?” (Did that sound a bit snarky? It doesn’t sound that bad in my head, haha.)

My favorite bit of the whole list is “I can’t deal with people who stay at a job they don’t want to do just because they need the money.” That’s entirely the reason I left my old gig. I was excellent at what I did, but at the end of the day, my job didn’t bring me any joy, just the paycheck every two weeks.

Best of luck to this employer! If you ever come across a similar opportunity in Los Angeles, let me know ;)

Ruth Hotchkiss
June 11th, 2009
4:47 PM

Where in “southern Napa county” is this position? I live in San Bruno and am wondering about the commute issues. How many hours per week is the position? If it’s only 4-5 hours/week, the bridge tolls, gas and other commute costs may just cancel out the net earnings…

However, this person sounds like someone I could learn a lot from. I’m an avid sewer (since high school and then again since 2002) with 3 years’ fabric retail experience (JoAnn’s) and want very much (eventually) to sell my handmade toddler clothes – but realize I need to pay my dues in the industry by learning a whole lot more than I know now about consumer needs.

I’ve done admin work forever; am self-reliant and conscientious; have terrific phone manner and tons of patience. My greatest satisfaction is ticking off all the items (and more) on a “to-do” list. Have especially honed PR skills and manage to make friends with my suppliers so that (after brief exposure to me) they bend over backwards to “help” me meet deadlines, etc. I care about doing a good job and want my employer’s (and my) projects to be more than successful. I want our collaborations to be “over the top”.

Should I apply? Please advise since I wouldn’t want to waste this person’s time. The slightest encouragement from you will set my fingers flying to prepare a proper resume…

Best wishes,
Ruth Hotchkiss

PS Love your site!

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