Ten years ago, I took my first steps into the so-called harsh fashion industry. I landed internships (and jobs) at Grazia and ELLE and kicked off my career with my blog This chick’s got style, which, looking back, looked more like an arts & crafts project (yes, I edited all my images in Paint), but I pulled it off and developed a fan base right from the beginning. I wrote every post on the blog myself and shared my thoughts, outfits, dreams, and insecurities with you.
Three years ago, I decided it was time for a new formula to match the changes I have gone through in five years. There it was: Chapter Friday. Not in my craziest dreams did I imagine what a huge phenomenon blogging would become. Nor that it could be my business. Chapter Friday is my business now, and I run this platform with a team of super girls who take photos, write, produce and film. We share our expertises and make things. Together. I firmly believe in the power of sharing and that’s why I shared some of my how-to-make-it-in-fashion-tips & tricks in a video, quite recently.
For all you non-Dutchies, or all of you who prefers written words over video: I’m sharing what I’ve learned and I hope it will help you chase your dream becoming the next big fashion editor, stylist, vlogger or designer.
And don’t forget: don’t give up if you aren’t immediately successful. Try again.
1. Be determined
Know that this is what you want to do. Making the leap to the fashion industry requires commitment: there’s a chance you’ll be freelancing (first), which doesn’t provide a stable income and work may be hard to find. And what does that mean for your social life? Also, the fashion industry is pretty competitive. Still on board? Good, you know the cons. You’re probably you’re filled with determination.
2. Find yourself a support squad
You have to do it by yourself, and you can’t do it alone. I learned I needed to delegate tasks to team members. I’m a terrible planner, I’m way too chaotic and I hate doing taxes. I do have a team who helps me out and that makes life a hell lot better. Delegating is celebrating.
When starting your own business, there’s a big chance you can’t hire talented people right away. But make sure you find your self a support system of friends and family who can help you out when you’re out of ideas and hope, knowing that they will give off good vibes and advice.
3. Find your own niche
What’s your unique niche and can you explain the concept in one sentence only? It’s essential to have a plan. Think about your target group carefully. Who is this desired group and what do they need? Keep thinking of unmet needs and evaluate ways that life could be easier with products and services developed to meet those needs. Read more about niches and success formulas here.
4. Come up with a good story
Whether you’re offering a product or a service, you need a brand story. A great brand story personifies your brand, and that’s what you need in order to position yourself in the most effective way. My favorite example is Glossier, an American beauty brand. Their philosophy? Skin first, makeup second. It’s easy, it’s catchy, it’s positive. And the best thing is: they maintain a unified look for all products, marketing, and social media. Whenever I buy something online, everything is beautifully wrapped and I get stickers too. Pure perfection down to the very last detail.
5. Go social (media)
A good network is an essential part of the job, whether you like it or not. Go to (networking) events, to drinks, go to fashion shows. Get to know people and let them get to know you, and your work. It’s easy to build a beautiful portfolio on social media (Instagram & Pinterest) even if you don’t have heaps of experience. Make social media work in your favor. Curating reveals a lot of your style (like @PlantsOnPink, for example). Curation is creation!
6. Practical experience
All you need in life is practical experience. Especially in the fashion industry, everything happens out there. In the real world. I learned heaps during my internships. It was education for life. An internship has multiple benefits: I learned by just doing it, I gained industry insights, meeting with so many people and had the chance to find out if this was what I wanted. And if you make a real good impression, you might end up turning that internship into a real job.
7. The value of doing things that scare you
Or like Eleanor Roosevelt famously said: “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” Invite someone out for coffee, find yourself a mentor, talk to people on events – even though you’re scared. Sometimes all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage.
Whatever you do, keep a close eye on your financial situation. There’s nothing worse than holding back your business because of money issues. Whenever you start a new business, it doesn’t mean you need to quit your day job. Setting up a new business takes time – hold down a regular job for three, maybe four days a week in order to pay the bills. It’s not an adventurous, but a wise move.
Oh, and: this is the video I told you about earlier 👇🏻