It's that time of year again (no I'm not talking Love Island, so please stop). School's out for summer and graduates are no doubt in the midst of their obligatory "wtf am I doing with my life?!?" freak outs. If this describes your current situ, trust me when I say we've all been there. Even the people you think have done nothing but slay it, yup, they've been there too. So I thought I'd pick the brains of some true success stories from the fashion and retail industry. From designers, shop owners, editors and photographers if they could give one piece of advice to you for the immediate future, this would be it...
...on starting your own label
If I could give one piece of advice it would be to fully understand the world of business. I’ve seen too many talented and creative people stumble because they fail to grasp the importance of margins, costs, taxes and more. It’s amazing to have a product people desire but without the business understanding to back it up your dream might not become reality.
*Richard Davies, Owner / Artist, Abandon Ship Apparel *
...on creating opportunities
Don't wait for the man on the white horse to come and rescue you, you have to make it happen for yourself. Never be scared to call up a stranger and ask questions, get advice. Some might not but most will, keep the faith and keep going but be flexible with your outcomes.
*Sarah Hill, Owner, Sara Hill Makeup / Academy of Makeup *
...on managing your own expectations
It sure can take a while to get where you want to be. Instagram and the fashion press love to glorify ‘overnight success’ but in my experience, it just doesn’t exist. Work really hard, work consistently, and say yes to as much as you can. You never know who you’re going to meet - I’ve had some of my biggest, highest profile projects and commissions through the most unlikely of places. Through taking on the smallest of jobs and doing them to the best of your ability you put yourself in the right place for great opportunities to come along. A friend once told me ‘winners make it happen, losers let it happen’ and that always stuck with me!
Karen Mabon, Illustrator & designer, Karen Mabon
**...on making your own destiny**
Start a side project. That might be a basic T-shirt line, selling something on Etsy, reselling vintage shop finds on Depop, whatever. Understanding the process of taking something to market isn’t as overwheling as you might think, and the skills are invaluable. Every piece of advice you need is on the internet, Google is your friend. As an employer, anyone with a side project (even one that didn’t work out) is hugely attractive, it shows you’re motivation and aren’t just here to pick up a paycheck.
*Marty Bell, Owner, Tens Sunglasses *
...on getting work experience
Pay attention to the opportunities available around you. There are numerous platforms and resources available that are great for building connections and gaining experience. Use the free time you have to make use of these in an effort to connect and learn from people already in the industry.
Bethany Grace, Creative / Owner, Stark Studios
...on getting noticed
Make sure your portfolio of work is available online. Your Instagram feed is a great way to showcase your work. Collaborate with other creatives to spread your network and reach and shout about what you are doing. Don’t stop learning just because you stopped schooling, remember to keep creating even if you are looking for work. A personal side project is always a good way to keep your creativity switched on.
Julie Macauley, Jewellery designer and Owner, John + Pearl
All good things must come to an end! We are leaving Duke Street permanently at the end of the week and after 6 years of designing you bright and beautiful things, I am taking a break from all things J+P to focus on new horizons. The great news is we are selling everything at 50% off (woohoo!) You don’t have long to get your hands on J+P, pop into the shop or use the code ‘allgoodthings’ to take 50% off all jewels online and in store. THANK YOU for your support and keep an eye on Instagram to see what is coming next... Julie xxx
...on finding your path
Stay true to yourself and don't compare your journey to others, greatness takes time. If you decide to start your own label remember it is impossible to do it alone. Ask for help and advice as much as possible and make your own final decisions alone. Make sure you enjoy the journey and have patience with yourself, every day is a school day in business!
Silvia Pellegrino, Designer & Owner, Chouchou Couture
...on other people's opinions
Never ever listen to anyone who tells you that you can't / shouldn't do it. If you have a passion or an idea or something people can't comprehend, including family or friends, just keep going and keep doing you. Something as strong as unwavering self belief is half the way to the successful result.
Nixalina Watson, Fashion Editor, Her World / Sex and London City
...on putting yourself out there
Find your people. Reach out to others that you admire, offer to assist or intern and build a network of creatives that you admire and whose aesthetic you love
Stuart Truesdale, Stylist and 1/2 of I'll be Your Mirror
...on finding your niche
Be confident in your work. Even if it's not everyone's cup of tea always stay true to your style. SOMEONE will get it and your people will find you and once they do, they'll be with you for life.
*Jade Clark, designer and owner, Jade Clark *
...on if it's not all going according to plan
Don't worry too much about where you're headed, keep moving forward but keep your options open. This is the time for experimenting with your skills and saying yes to any opportunity that sparks your imagination. Focus on what you're passionate about and use what you've learned to push yourself further. Show your talents off, network and collaborate with people you find inspiring if you're looking for your dream job, and if you can't find it, create it!
Tammy Koslowski, Owner, NAF Salon and NAF Stuff
...and finally, a lil bit advice from me!
If you don't ask, you don't get. This saying has pretty much got me everything I have ever wanted in my career. Promotions, collaborations, clients, businesses. Put things into perspective, what could really go wrong?
Sheri Scott AKA Forever Yours Betty / Owner at Good Times Roll
To all of our readers who are graduating this week, we wish you all the best!
Header image credit: Clueless