working for a fashion startup

Working for a fashion startup: Expectations

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Those who dream of working in fashion often fantasise about working for the powerhouse names. Striding through the doors to Versace HQ in red-soled stilettos and an iced coffee in hand sure sounds enticing, but if there’s one thing we know, it’s that the fashion world is an awfully tough nut to crack.

By nature, the fashion industry is especially exclusive. High-end brands are notoriously known to hire through recommendations, affirming the idea it’s a lot about ‘who you know’ not ‘what you know’. Don’t let this put you off, though. Consider working for startups; they can help you kickstart your career in fashion.

With the emergence of online shopping and e-commerce, fashion startups are increasing tenfold. These days, designers can even run a business from their very own homes if they want to, selling everything online. And excitingly, e-commerce opens a range of job opportunities for aspiring fashionistas. From copywriting and social media, to data entry and SEO, brands are always in need of a digital guru.

But of course, it’s not all fun and games. As with most startups, there will be a lot of blood, sweat and tears involved. Here’s what to expect if it’s your first time working for a fashion startup.

Expect to: work harder for less

As a career path, fashion is massively sought after. Whether it’s for the clothes themselves or the glamourised idea of it all, you can expect thousands to be pining after the same role you’re set on. It’s been this way for a long, long time. And it’s also one of the prevailing reasons making this industry so difficult to break into. 

If you find yourself landing a position in fashion, expect to work hard for it.

Obviously, this doesn’t just apply to startups, but to the industry as a whole. If you’re working for a startup, however, you might find yourself working a little harder than you bargained for. 

This is due to the fact that most startups are cost-poor, and they need to condense multiple roles into one. You might find yourself working longer hours and across more departments than initially anticipated.

Expect to: learn new skills

A perk that comes from working for a startup is the chance to learn new skills. You’ll find it’s a lot easier to up skill in a startup rather than in an established company, as you’re likely to be given more responsibility. Your boss might ask you to lend a helping hand wherever necessary. This could be doing extra work within your department or outside of your department. 

Whatever the case, learning a new skill is invaluable, particularly when it comes to the fashion industry. The more skills you have, the more desirable you are to your current or future employee. 

So go ahead, learn something new! If you’re a copywriter, learn SEO. If you’re a customer service representative, learn sales. If you’re in stock control, learn how to manage orders and returns. Branch out and be the best you possibly can be, just don’t wear yourself too thin.

Most fashion companies want their employees to be passionate about fashion, or at least hold an interest. Established fashion brands and startup fashion brands alike. And wouldn’t you want to if you were pursuing a career in it?

Be in the know about the latest fashion news and trends, and you’re off to a good start.

When working for a startup, consider following competitor brands on social media. This is an easy way to incorporate research into your every day routine. If it’s a lingerie brand, follow all relevant lingerie brands. If it’s a resort wear line, follow well-known and locally-based resort wear labels. Pick the appropriate niche and become an expert on it.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to go overboard with it. Follow trends however suits you best, but you won’t necessarily be expected to adhere to the trends yourself. Just be educated on them.

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