Fancy a career in fashion?
Getting a career in the fashion industry can seem quite daunting, so we caught up with Urban Outfitters marketing intern, Geri, who gave us some tips on how to get your foot in the door.
Hi Geri, can you give a quick intro about yourself and your role at UO.
I’m originally from Dublin, but moved to London for my university studies.
I’m currently the marketing intern at Urban Outfitters, where I support the outreach and search teams within the marketing department.
As with any intern role, my job is to assist the team and make their job that little bit easier, while also gaining the skills I will need for future job roles in the industry. This is definitely something I’ve experienced at UO – not only do I manage the tasks for the team, such as compiling coverage or creating reports, I’ve even been given my own projects to research and have been asked to present my findings.
Why did you decide to work in the fashion and marketing industry and how did it all start?
When I was at school, I knew the fashion industry was where I wanted to be, I just wasn’t sure which specific area I wanted to focus on, and to be honest I’m still not sure.
I dabbled with the idea of doing Fashion Design, as I consider myself to be quite a visual and, dare I say it, creative person, but I as I progressed I developed an interest in the business side of things, so I really felt like I needed a balance.
I covered many different sections of the fashion industry while at university, including marketing, visual merchandising, and buying, and we even created our own sample collections. The beauty of my course, which is Fashion Business at Istituto Marangoni, is that it has a sandwich year option, which means I get to intern within the industry during my third year. This sandwich year is where my foray into Fashion Business, and in turn Fashion Marketing, began.
What was the turning point in your career?
As I have only just started my career, the turning point so far would have to be my first internship, which was as a communications intern at Alexander McQueen. Like anything, it had its good points and its bad points, but I learned an invaluable amount in such a short space of time. Having work experience with such a prestigious brand has opened many doors for me too.
One thing I’ve realised as I progress through my internships, though it might sound a bit cliché, is that the only way to find out what you like is to find out what you don’t like. By trying different jobs at different companies, with such different groups of people, I’ve gained a clearer idea of what a career in that area would be like and whether it’s something I would want to pursue.
A company like Urban Outfitters suits me perfectly; in this job I have been consistently challenged and always felt like my opinion is valued. The team I work with have the most amazing work ethic and are constantly pushing themselves to make changes that will help the whole company – the positivity definitely rubs off and makes me want to work harder. It’s been such a great experience, as above all else, I’ve felt like a part of the team since day one.
What does a typical day at Urban Outfitters look like for you?
In the morning I compile the CSE report, then I look for blogger coverage from the bloggers we work with, so I can compile the images in one folder.
Next, I search the hashtag ‘urbanoutfitterseu’ on Instagram to check who has tagged us. Not only does this help me to see if any of the bloggers we work with have posted any photos, but it is also an opportunity for me to see any potential bloggers who frequently wear UO and could be a great addition to our list.
In the afternoon, I often receive orders from the bloggers we chat with for the posts they’re planning, and I organise to have their chosen items sent to them. We keep up a good relationship with all of our bloggers, as many of them have been working with us for a while and get really excited when new stock comes in, as it means they can plan outfits and blog posts around our products.
How can applicants make sure they stand out from the crowd?
It might sound simple, but having a well-structured CV with an interesting layout can be the thing that gets you noticed.
Get creative and try to portray yourself in an interesting way, everyone is “hardworking” and “passionate” on their CV, so try and give some examples of what you could bring to the job, rather than just using adjectives to describe yourself.
Always do your research; this has been stressed to me by many different managers, as being clueless about the brand and not having any questions for your interviewer gives a very bad impression.
Also, tell them what gets you excited about the brand, because they need to know you’re genuinely interested in working there.
What key skills do you need to get into this industry?
Perseverance and tolerance. You will undoubtedly spend hours doing tasks you don’t like, and may not understand how they will ever help you, but trust me they will – do not ever think a job is beneath you.
Staying focused on your goal is key, but being able to give your all to every challenge you’re faced with is just as important. It might not be your dream future career, but all jobs are a learning experience, so there is no room for slacking!
Do you have any motivational words for students and graduates aspiring to make it into the fashion and marketing industry?
The fashion world is constantly expanding; the job I’m doing currently didn’t even exist 15-20 years ago. When I decided this was the industry I wanted to go into, I knew there were a lot of options, but I hadn’t realised just how many.
I spent hours going over and over my university options and which course would be right for me. I made a desperate dash to do as many short courses as I could in my final years in school to try and narrow down exactly what I wanted to do by the time September rolled around. However, with the different experience I’ve gained, I’ve realised that literally anyone can work in fashion, whether you have a degree in Philosophy or never went to uni, there’s a role for everyone.
My advice would be not to worry about whether you’re on the right path for your dream job in fashion at this very moment in time, things have a way of working themselves out, so just enjoy exploring all the areas of such a fascinating and exciting industry.
If you would like to hear more about the intern opportunities at Urban Outfitters, visit their careers page here.