If you are a student and have an interest in fashion marketing and or PR, your initial impulse might be “I must find a job working in the marketing department of a big retailer to get the most out of my combined passions.” However, there are a multitude of ways you can utilise your skills and knowledge beyond the big retailers. Having graduated from a fashion business degree Laura went on to handle marketing and PR for a new fashion focused iOS app that you may have seen on Dragon’s Den.
We caught up with Laura and she let us know about her experiences at university and how she found herself in the role of International Engagement Officer at Mallzee. Mallzee is a personal shopper in your pocket that allows its users to search over 1 million products from 200 big name fashion retailers.
Briefly introduce yourself.
I studied Fashion Business at Glasgow Caledonian University.
How was your experience on the course?
Great. I absolutely loved doing a course that let me explore both the practical and theoretical aspects of the fashion industry. Studying something I was passionate about really helped me focus and I genuinely didn’t mind doing coursework and going to 9am lectures as I had a keen interest in what I was studying. The course itself is excellent for letting students be creative and really encourages industry experience.
Do you feel your studies helped you gain the necessary skills and experience to aid you in your journey in fashion marketing?
Definitely. My course was a mix of both practical elements and theory. Even though I knew I didn’t want to get into the design/production side of the fashion industry, it was still really interesting for me to learn about this side as this knowledge comes in handy. The business aspect of the course covered everything from accounting to fashion buying so I felt that when I left I had a really good knowledge of the industry as a whole.
Did you do much work experience or internships whilst a student? If so what did you do and where?
I did. Luckily I realised how essential work experience was in the fashion industry was early on and wanted to get as much experience as possible while at university. My first piece of work experience was as a runner at The Scottish Fashion Awards, which involved greeting and assisting the VIP guests throughout the event. I then interned for a summer at Look Magazine. After that, I assisted the fashion editor at The Glasgow Herald during a semester at University and assisted at some events with Nightwalk Events in Glasgow and then spent my final summer between University years at BPCM PR. When I returned I began interning with Mallzee, and the rest is history!
What did you intend on doing or aspire to do with your degree?
I knew I wanted to get into fashion but I wasn’t entirely sure what area of the industry until later on in my degree. That’s why I thought it was important to try out different types of internships, to see where my interests and skills really lay. After interning at BPCM and Mallzee, I really felt that I was most interested in the marketing and PR side of fashion, it’s the area in which I feel my skills are best suited to and I really enjoy it.
How long did it take you to get a job relating to your degree after graduating?
I was really lucky in that I was offered the job at Mallzee for straight after graduating, which meant I started here pretty much straight after my final exams. It was so great to know that I was going straight into a full-time position in the industry I wanted to work, with a company that I love and am passionate about. That’s definitely one of the huge benefits of interning throughout your final year at uni and is probably my biggest piece of advice to anyone worried about securing a job after uni.
Do you have any tips for aspiring fashion marketers on how they can go about making a living from their passion?
My biggest tips for anyone aspiring to work in a similar role is to get as much work experience as possible. Use any free time at uni to be adding to your CV (I know that it’s tempting to spend this time socialising/shopping but I promise it’ll be worth it!) and making as many contacts as possible. As I said, interning over your final year could really pay off as it could (if you’re lucky and work hard) lead to a full time position after you graduate. Another tip is to look for jobs within fashion start-ups. Mallzee is a start-up company and when I applied for the internship the company had literally just set up. Getting in early has huge benefits, as you’ll get to witness a company being built for the ground up. Also, if you’re offered a job with a start-up, you’ll probably get more responsibility and room to be creative. Plus, there might even be an office dog, could you ask for more?