Coffee Chats & Career Insights

Happy Thursday, loves! This week has been going by so fast--well, faster than normal. Which is interesting because it usually goes by painfully slow when I'm looking forward to something...in this case it's a weekend getaway! (Follow along Instagram to see where I'm headed!) Not to worry, a little "packing guide" for fall is in the works for all of you. 

But anyway, I had a very enlightening chat very recently with an old friend of mine over some amazing coffee at one of my favorite neighborhood coffee shops. Of course, I couldn't wait to share it all, the coffee and our conversation of interest. I'm usually not one for lifestyle/advice posts, but I think it's a good start for me to try something new and branch out these days.
So, first of all, the amazing coffee shop in question is a pretty famous cafe and popular stop in Greenwich Village--Stumptown Coffee Roasters! Whenever I'm in need of a desperate catch-up session with a friend, or a nice cozy space to work/blog, Stumptown is pretty high on my list of go-to places. The atmosphere is warm and there's always that nice aroma of roasting coffee in the air. What better way to get those creative juices flowing? I'm one of those people who loves natural light and I always find myself more productive in a natural setting. Best part? There's even outdoor seating! So on those warmer days, chatting over lattes in the streets of New York has got to be one of my favorite past times! 

Alright, now that we've got the perfect conversation setup, let's get down to business. A friend of mine recently returned to New York after a semester abroad and had asked me out for some career advice over a cup of joe. I love impromptu and casual gatherings such as these--I feel that there's a certain level of intimacy between you and another individual as you connect over experiences in the fast-paced world of the fashion industry. I've held many different positions and interned for a variety of fashion companies over my college years and it can definitely be a daunting thing to face when deciding on a career path. 
From PR to start-ups to corporate internship programs, I can't say that I've done it all but I've certainly had my fair share of experiences as an intern in the fashion industry. I never really knew exactly what I wanted to do, exactly how I wanted to make my mark in this multi-billion dollar world...but I knew from the start that I wanted to be part of it. Of course, with this kind of mentality, I went astray and did not realize that my own career growth and development should be the priority. I ended up chasing brand names, trying to one-up the former company I had worked for...accepting positions just because I was afraid that I wouldn't be offered any other positions, that I wasn't good enough to work for a great company, and didn't know my self worth.
There's a stigma in the fashion industry that interns are interchangeable, replaceable. That "a million girls would kill for this job" and it was that kind of mentality that I brought with me which really hurt my career development. It wasn't until I had a very unenjoyable internship experience at a start-up company that I finally realized my own self worth.  **This is not to say all start-ups are like this, and I have close friends who loved working with their start-up teams, but my particular experience was just very eye-opening for me. I'm not one to shirk away from hard work and responsibilities, but there is still a point where you have to ask yourself, what am I getting out of this?
We often get lost in the "brand name" of the company, happy to go on coffee runs and pick up samples from photoshoots, but an internship is two-fold. There is a difference between having to "pay your dues" and just being overworked and taken advantage of. From my one dreadful internship experience, I've realized that I should always ask in any position I'm in--"am I learning anything from this?" It doesn't have to be that you're learning something new every single moment, but you have to see if you've exhausted all the potential from a certain internship and if you have...it may be time to move on. 
So, the fact of the matter is, be true to who you are and passionate about what you do. There have been countless times where my passion for a position landed me my dream internship. I'm pretty upfront and I've asked former bosses/supervisors and recruiters what set me apart, and that was their answer. If you believe in what you do, others will believe in it too.

That is what ultimately will set you apart from the "million other girls." Personality seems to be overlooked  whenever we're preparing for that dream job interview. I feel like we get very caught up on the technicals, on our past experience and trying to impress an interviewer with what's on our resumes. But in the end, if you can just make a connection and show your passion and personality, it goes a lot further than you think. No matter what, you'll always be working on a team, and you could be the smartest and most experienced person in the world, but the individuals on that team will always rather work with someone who has a great attitude and outlook, because technicals can always be taught and learned.

I'm grateful for all the opportunities and experiences I've had over my college years, the good and the not so good ones. To be honest, it's the bad internship experiences that I've had that made me realize and grow, more than I ever could have if I didn't face those same challenges. I wouldn't be giving you guys this advice today if it weren't for those moments.  So, to all of you out there, still unsure and uncertain what a future in fashion holds for you...understand what it is you need the most in a specific moment,  and go for opportunities that will help you grow and development the most at that point in time.

Feel free to email me if you guys need any more advice! I'm always here for you guys and would love to share my experiences if it will help. Best of luck my fashionistas,
Photography by: Matt Chu Photography

{Cardigan: Ann Taylor}
{Coat: All Saints; Similar here}
{Bottoms: Rag&Bone}
{Shoes: Prada}
{Tote: Louis Vuitton}
{Phone Case: Kate Spade}
{Sunglasses: Taiwan Street Market; Get it here}

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