Successful Fashion Designer Podcast: The Sometimes Ugly Truth About A Career As A Fashion Designer

SFD014: What it’s Like Working in the Fashion Industry (the sometimes ugly truth)

Having a job as a fashion designer and working in the fashion industry seems glamorous and creative. But to be honest, it isn’t always that way. Most people don’t talk about this publicly, but Emily Keller is different. Which is why I knew I had to invite her on the show.

In this episode, Emily shares her experience working as an employee the perception of working as a designer versus the reality, how to figure out if pursuing fashion as a second career is right for you, and the often limited creativity you’ll actually use in your job.

You will learn:

  • The difference between what you think working in the fashion industry is like and what it really is
  • How creative you really get to be as a designer
  • Pros and cons of working for big runway brands versus smaller lesser known brands
  • The perception of working in fashion versus the reality
  • Tips on pursuing fashion as a second career
  • How to understand what you’re really getting into when you go into fashion
  • Why fashion designers don’t dress well

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Working in the Fashion Industry, What It's Really Like

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Working in the Fashion Industry, What It's Really Like

Working in the Fashion Industry, What It's Really Like

Working in the Fashion Industry, What It's Really Like

SFD014: Full Podcast Transcription

Heidi: Hey everybody this is Sew Heidi and you’re listening to the Successful Fashion Designer Podcast we all knew that the fashion industry is brutally competitive and it takes loads of hard work to get ahead the problem is that everyone’s secretive and tight-lipped about their ways. After working as a designer and educator for over a decade I wanted to help break down those barriers and bring you valuable knowledge from industry experts and this show is exactly where you’ll find that whether you’re trying to break into the fashion world make yourself more marketable launch your own label or become a successful freelancer we’ll help you get ahead in this cutthroat fashion industry. This is episode 14 of these successful fashion designer podcasts, and today I’m chatting with Emily Keller a fashion designer who will ask you, have you defined your relationship with fashion is it a passion a hobby or a mild curiosity? Emily tells the truth about what it’s really like working as a designer and how the industry works behind the scenes. In the interview she shares the perception versus the reality of having a fashion design job how to figure out if pursuing fashion as a second career is right for you and the trade-offs you may make if you choose to work for big designer names.

Emily: Hey can be difficult with those kinds of comes with a big designer brands you know I’m hitting getting decent waves and even decent hours you know they’re also known for overworking their employees.

Heidi: Before we jump into the interview I want to remind you can help to show out and make it easier for others to discover by leaving a rating on iTunes if you enjoy this episode I’d really appreciate it if you take sixty Seconds to do that visit to leave your rating and thanks for your support and help. To access the show notes for today’s episode visit Now on to the interview with Emily. So welcome Emily to the successful fashion designer podcast thank you so much for joining us today. Tell us a little bit about who you are and what your experience in the fashion industry has been and currently is.

Emily: So, I started I basically been a knitwear designer so sweaters things like that for quite a few years that’s what I studied I went to school at the Fashion Institute of Technology here in New York and specialized in knitwear and after working. Working for just a you know a few companies here and there after maybe I don’t know five six years. I wanted to start my own brand and that’s kind of what I always wanted to do before I even went to college I think that’s what a lot of fashion designers dream about doing and so I decided to do it I was living in Shanghai China at the time and I had access to factories and a lot of yarn mills and things like this so I was like if I don’t do it now then I don’t know when I’ll do it so I had a really good factory connection that was a very tiny factory and they were willing to do very small production runs so I started there and I worked with this Factory and formed a really close relationship with the factory manager and yeah that was my first business that I started back in 2013 and I learned a lot I learned a lot I made a lot of mistakes it was great and let’s see and then I went when I started that I was still working full-time for a for a brand as a knitwear designer and I was really lucky that they were they were okay with it you know I told them I was honest with that that I was starting a brand on my own and that you know I was using my own factory it wasn’t using their resources and you know I was really lucky that they were okay with it and yeah so I did that for a few years and I eventually quit my job there and I moved back to New York City and kept running my business but you know it was harder because I started it in China and I didn’t have a good sense of where I wanted to go with the business plus I didn’t like I was kind of doing the traditional retail model which I didn’t I don’t think it worked very well like having inventory is very expensive and your cash flow and you just kind of lose all your any cash flow when you have inventory so I kind of put that business on pause and I’m working on a a new business structure right now with the same concept of knitwear and I’m working with the same factory but kind of how we run the business is kind of what we’re working on changing and improving right now.

Heidi: That’s really awesome so you went through this process and you realized okay I learned a lot of valuable lessons things went well some things didn’t go so well and so you kind of it sounds like you did some restructuring to do a better job so I haven’t I mean I don’t really know anything that you’re doing with that so tell us a little bit more about you know maybe what were some of the changes you made to pivot and start going down a different path that seemed a little bit more strategic so about what you’re doing right now.

Emily: Well, the… so, with the first business the biggest problem was definitely the inventory and it was all self-funded by myself and my partner and it was difficult the most difficult part was having inventory but also when we would go and we would sell I sold directly to I would do a lot of like designer markets outside you know that kind of thing so it was good because we got to talk to potential customers face to face and hear a lot of feedback and a lot of people were like oh you know I really like this style but you know do you have another size or do you have another color or I like this style but the neckline is maybe too low or too high or the length is too low or too high and everyone you know you really know that it doesn’t matter how much time you spend designing a garment everyone kind of has personal preferences and there’s no really right or wrong of designing and so for the new business I don’t want to say too much because it’s a very new concept and I that we’re working on you know things might still change as we as we develop but so we’re basically working on a model that gets rid of this like set inventory so we won’t really be holding on to any inventory and we won’t have any money tied up in that so yeah just kind of restructuring the business so that we make a product when someone orders a products just keep it a lot more sort of like lean and streamlined for our finances and for the customer to have a better sort of customer experience that’s kind of what we’re working on.

Heidi: And so I mean there’s so many things I want to kind of ask you about but I guess to start and did some of these ideas like did you see some of this stuff in your full-time job roles that you thought I could do a better job or I see that this portion of the business is broken or I mean I know you said you wanted to have your own line going into fashion from the very beginning but then once you got exposed to working out a full-time job within a network company did you start to see likes in the ways they were doing things and think okay this could be done better or like how much of it was really inspired from your experience as a designer?

Emily: It’s interesting I mean working for companies you do learn a lot about how businesses are run any of course you think you know here and there you’re like oh I could do this better or you know okay you know you kind of think things along the way that like well why aren’t we doing it this way and it’s been it’s been interesting because you think that before you start your own business you know you’re working for other people you’re like oh this looks so easy why can’t we just do this better why don’t we do the social media better why don’t we make this design more interesting or a little riskier a little crazier you know and then you know you start your own business and then you kind of have to make those you kind have to learn the hard way you have to make those mistakes on your own.

Heidi: Yeah…

Emily: And then but now so now you know then you sort of realize like oh now I see why we didn’t do things certain way certainly, certain ways in those companies and also it’s different having being a startup business and being an established business you know that the established businesses that I worked for it’s very different from a startup like how they run and how they operate on a day to day basis…

Heidi: Sure…

Emily: …so now I’m very mindful of that like okay I understand it’s there’s a lot of protocol or regulations and big companies and things can’t be changed as quickly and a lot of the time there’s a reason why they don’t do things certain way you know they’ve they a lot of those companies have done their research on things and for the most part they do know what they’re doing you know.

Heidi: And so okay so something else is like really, really fascinating about your story is that I mean you had this opportunity to live and work in Shanghai and you found this Factory the like does these really small orders and minimums and I’d love to hear a little bit more about like your experience with that because I think one of the not I think one of the assumptions and I think it holds fairly true to manufacturing offshore is that the minimums are really, really high and so you know what did you see when you were over in Shanghai and China, what did you see in terms of you know are there these small factories who want to work with these smaller start-up designers and these smaller brands and it’s a matter of like the challenge of matchmaking like where do they find the right startups, how do the startups find them and you may be somehow tripped over them because you were there locally but like what was your experience in terms of you know factories offshore wanting to do this work with you and these small minimums?

Emily: I mean my experience there are definitely a lot of factories that are not operating the traditional way of looking for really big orders so it’s definitely a matter of just finding that right partnership like matchmaking and I got really lucky and I found a factory that I was able to work with really well and communicate with very you know the other part obviously is communication you kind of have to find a factory that either speaks English or you have to speak Chinese or you know so there’s there are definitely a few barriers of language culture expectations but yeah there’s definitely a lot of small factories in China that are sort of very forward-thinking and thinking about the future of fashion and understanding that mass production is not where fashion is going you know it was kind of we’re kind of going away from that of these you know a hundred thousand unit orders and things like this or much higher and even things like 300 unit orders or even kind of high you know things like this people are understanding that that if you find the right people in China that they also you know are thinking like we are here where it’s just changing everything’s changing very quickly in fashion and if you can find those people that that are seeing that or believe what you believe it can be an amazing partnership for sure.

Heidi: Yeah, which is what you found with your Factory?

Emily: Yes, definitely. yeah I found a great factory located right in Shanghai and I’ve known them now since 2013 2012 something like that I’ve known the factory managers a great a great guy and a great friend now because we you know we’ve worked together we’ve helped him said you know sort of expand his Factory he’s helped us so I like set up our businesses and get inventory so it’s been a really sort of like mutually beneficial relationship.

Heidi: Yeah, that’s really cool I don’t hear I mean I think it’s you know you’re in a unique situation and how do you need opportunity to be over to physically be in Shanghai for a couple years right you were there?

Emily: Yeah, I was there I lived there for about three and a half years.

Heidi: Yeah, so like a nice extended amount of time to make the relationship get the contact build that partnership which you know many designers don’t have that opportunity so you know I don’t know how much you’re gonna be able to answer this question but like if I was a designer and I wanted to try to find a factory to partner with on that level and I guess arguably and this is up for debate and could go a lot of different directions arguably if you could find someone and you know locally to do that you know we’re here in the US or wherever you are locally but let’s say perhaps they don’t have the technology the machinery to do those knits because I know that’s definitely a limitation stateside and it’s changing but how what would be some ideas you would have if you have any for a small designer to find maybe a specialty factory to do some of these smaller minimums offshore would they just book a trip and go over there and line up some meetings beforehand or where would you even start to find these people that that want to partner with you and you want to partner with them to explore that relationship?

Emily: It’s hard, I think there are different ways to go about doing that if you really want to find a part like a factory partnership in China probably I mean there honestly you know it depends how much money you have – there are obviously trading companies and that’s actually I worked for a trading company when I lived in Shanghai and we worked with a lot of brands in the US and Europe and we would connect them with factories in China and so one way is you know a trading company if you have enough money for that that’s probably the easiest way because trading companies have all the connections to tons of factories but if you’re like an independent designer that doesn’t have a lot of money it’s a lot more difficult I would say taking a trip over there can definitely help but before you go you would want to try to connect with some factories to plan some visits and a lot of them will let you plan it and come and take a tour so either LinkedIn you know there’s a lot now on LinkedIn you can reach out to different factories or managers on LinkedIn or obviously if you know friends that have been to China or have lived in China that helps a lot anybody you know anybody that has a list of factories that you know so it’s hard because you already kind of have to be in the industry if kind of that way or no people that are in the industry that have those kinds of resources but if you can find them you can there’s a lot of factories that would love to like have you come and tour their factory and talk to you. You just have to yeah, it’s hard to know how to find them though living there definitely helps because you have the time to meet local people local people in the fashion industry that can you know connect you with factories and other people and living there is a huge advantage but if you don’t live there it’s definitely a lot harder.

Heidi: Yeah, but doable I mean I think it’s just a matter of like the legwork doing the research reaching out to anybody who you know maybe has something to do with the industry and seeing what they know or what contacts they have and just kind of doing that research to connect all the dots to find those couple places that are worth a visit.

Emily: Exactly, just like exhausting your resources just asking everybody you know that might have any connection to China basically yeah and setting it up planning it all first and then and then you know making the trip.

Heidi: Yeah. Wait, why can’t you see that because someone else once said to me in relation to like kind of starting their own thing they said tell anybody and everybody who come into contact with your story and about what you’re doing you know come up with your two sentence quickie 30-second elevator pitch and anytime you like meet someone come into contact with someone or at a cocktail party or any type of event or whatever just hanging out with friends talk about that because you never know who knows who I had a friend who that’s how she got her product featured on Oprah and she just happened to meet the right person who knew the right person and then sent an sample in and you know just like you’ve said exhausting your network and just throwing out your 30 second elevator pitch to everyone you come across because they may go oh you know what I know this person that did this thing let me make an introduction that happens all the time but you have to talk about what you’re doing?

Emily: Yeah, definitely all the time and even at places where you least expect it you know you just out you’re out with friends anywhere doing bowling it doesn’t even matter what…

Yeah: Yeah…

Emily: And you know you might meet someone and you know then I definitely had that happen where was at like a dance event I was just talking to a friend about my about my new business that I’m working on he’s like oh I know this this an investor guy he sold he already sold one business he’s on like the tech side of things and he’s looking for a new business to invest in and you know things like and you know you just never know so you just yeah you mentioned it really quick 10 20 30 seconds of like what you’re doing and…

Heidi: Yeah…

Emily: You never know it someone’s like oh I know someone who might be interested in this and…

Heidi: Yeah…

Emily: It’s amazing.

Heidi: It is amazing that’s where some of those the greatest relationships come from I think like at those random barbecue events and you never know what connection you’ll get there. okay that’s fantastic I’m really excited to kind of follow you along in your journey and I know you’re still kind of at the beginning of this new venture or…

Emily: Yeah.

Heidi: You’re dead but that should be a really fun process so I’d love to you know you and I chatted before and I actually read an article of yours on LinkedIn and I’d really love to kind of dive a little bit more into this both from the perspective of working as a designer for as an employee like that you did like you did in New York City and also as it relates to having your own brand and that’s just sort of like the realities of working in the fashion industry I mentioned to you previously that I’ve had multiple people say to me you know I’d love I would have loved for someone to tell me and talk a little bit more about what having a job as a designer is really like because they there’s some differences between the perception and the reality and you outlined it really well in an article and I know you have some great thoughts on this so I’d love to hear a little bit more about your perspective on you know what you maybe thought you were getting into and then what you really got into.

Emily: So for myself I think I was actually thinking about that and you know I didn’t really know when I was younger but the books say before I went to fashion school I am I took like I did take a fashion class in high school just to get a sense of like what it was and I thought it would give me a better chance of getting into a fashion school…

Heidi: What kind fashion is that? And that’s interesting that they offered that… I don’t think many high schools offer that?

Emily: That’s true probably not a lot – yeah I was really lucky I actually I was living in Salt Lake City Utah so I went to high school in Salt Lake City Utah and I went to I went to Skyline High School but actually my high school didn’t have this course but we were allowed to go to other high schools for like special classes during my I think I was doing my senior year so I would actually drive to another high school for this one period and they would kind of give me like enough time I think like before after I would skip like the period…

Heidi: Sure…

Emily: …after to drive back to my home school…

Heidi: That’s really, it’s like, yeah…

Emily: …yeah I got this great opportunity to take this fashion class at another high school and you know I just figured it would give me a better chance of getting in to a college and also for myself like let me see what this is really about and you know we learned a lot of basic things in that class like draping a lot of draping and sewing noting knitwear related but it was a really good intro we got to do like a little runway show at you know at the end of the year of that class yes I got really lucky in that respect and I think that gave me a good sense of what I was getting into for college and the only thing I really knew about fashion before I went to school was that I really I really like the creative side of it I really liked the artistic side of designing something that goes on the human form and that was just sort of the medium that I chose I liked being creative I liked other things like art and sketching and even architecture and interior design I was kind of into all of those things which are kind of similar but then I really liked the idea of using the human form as your canvas and that’s all I kind of really knew about it and so you know I went on and took the classes and I’m a very technical person like analytical so the whole pattern-making classes and things like this did work well for me and I’m a very like academic person so I did always do well in classes and I liked that in classes there you know they give you a lot of tools especially at MIT they have a lot of technical classes teaching you how to you know use all the computer programs how to do pattern making and so incorrectly a lot of the technical skills where I’ve heard that for example like Parsons School of Design was always kind of like our rival fashion school here in New York and I’ve always heard that Parsons was more focused on conceptual design which is always which is good to you know it just depends who you work for and what they want but you know I heard that they learned less programs and they were more taught how to like design in a conceptual manner which is probably better for more like the high-end designers but anyway so FIT is very technical so that worked well for me and I really liked it and you get you learn a lot of really solid skills but then when I when I graduated from FIT everything sort of changed when I started working it was sort of a big eye-opener what you actually do in a job and it was difficult for me I had a hard time transitioning from college to working because working just wasn’t fulfilling my creative like it wasn’t challenging me it wasn’t it wasn’t very interesting and I was really shocked that I needed a degree to even do some of the things that I did.

Heidi: Wow! wait okay so I’m gonna let you talking about like I have some million questions I want to ask you about that exact moment but keep going.

Emily: I mean…that’s it was it was just a hard transition and I didn’t realize you know you just don’t realize until you start working that like it’s how it’s gonna be no one really tells you no one shows you, you know in school you’re just you have these classes and you’re just learning things and it’s it it’s great I love learning new things but then when you start working it’s you know especially when you’re lower level you don’t have any you don’t have really any creative freedom so everyone’s telling you what to do just fine that makes sense you know it’s your first job people are telling you what to do every step of the way and you know I had I had patience for that for a few years for quite a few years of like okay you know this is just you kind of have to this is just how it has to start you know you have to learn even though you think you learned in college you have to sort of start learning all over again at your first job of how it is working and that’s what I did and then I started looking at the people above me you know okay so who’s my boss and who’s their boss and what are they doing is that what I want to do in five years or ten years and really thought about it and watched what they did and I kind of realized that no that’s not really what I want to do I don’t really want to be that person you know in five or ten years or have that job so I started really you know that’s when I started really think I really need to just try to start my own business whether you know it’s something I’ll regret if I never do it so yeah anyway.

Heidi: Okay so like when you were in school and you I mean I would imagine you had some type of mental picture of what you thought your job would be like what did that look like?

Emily: In school it was more of like probably what we were doing in class I think I thought that it was like okay we have like illustration class where we spend the whole class sketching drawing figures drawing collections like very cohesive collections that we put a lot of thought into these collections and the color story and the inspiration and the patterns and the fabrics that you use and you know create these really gorgeous collections and you know and even things like okay I thought maybe I would be also doing things like Photoshop and illustrator but doing having more creative freedom when using those programs so I thought I mean I thought you know like any like anybody else thinks that a fashion designer does it which is like you think people design collections but actually a lot of us don’t you but that’s what I thought that’s what I thought when I was like oh you know you helped or okay I’ll assist someone else in designing a collection but you think that you’ll have some say or you’ll be doing something kind of creative or I don’t know it’s just I thought yeah I thought it would be very different and not so you know when you get into the industry it’s very technical everything’s on computers you’re doing tech packs in Excel or like web PDM and you know you’re doing prints or in Photoshop or maybe illustrator your name tags and everything’s very technical and you know it’s the industry moves really quickly so you just don’t have a lot of time either to like sit and think about a beautiful collection you know they don’t really companies don’t really give you that kind of time so it’s just and it’s a lot of is based on data and sales so the things that sell well that’s what we just repeat in a new color in a slightly different pattern or you know it’s a lot of it’s very like data data-driven and facts driven which makes sense you know the company has to make money and they’re going to do that the safest way they know how which is what’s already selling really well you know.

Heidi: Yeah, but like you said I mean it sounds like you didn’t really see in your experience there wasn’t an opportunity for you to have any creativity or input and that was a challenge versus what you thought you were getting into.

Emily: Yeah, it was hard it was definitely hard and I think you know and I think there are some I’m sure very creative fashion design jobs I think I just didn’t come across them and sometimes I wonder if it was my fault you know when I first chose my internship for in our in our last semester of our senior year you know we have like this internship class where we you know we go we have a real internship with a company but it’s considered class you get class credit and you have to kind of keep a journal through the whole the whole internship and anyway from that when I first chose that internship I chose that into ship that I got class credit for because it because it paid money so basically I always which I thought was a smart idea at the time I always followed where the money was so whoever offered me more money that’s why I chose to do like I thought that was a good idea and even now I don’t think that was a bad idea I mean it makes sense right?

Heidi: Yeah,

Emily: And obviously the companies that tend to pay better are not the designer not like the runway designer brands you know III interned with like a few designer brand names and they always either didn’t pay or didn’t pay well it would in internships it that’s just not usually where the money is you know so, so I don’t know maybe if you I think if you focus on where you what kind of company you want to work for in the long term those are the kind of companies you should be interning for it because you can easily sort of was it called pigeonhole yourself of you interning for certain kinds of companies and those are just the kind of companies that you’re basically going to end up working for so if you know if you intern for like trading companies or things like that then you’re probably going to be working for like big trading companies or if you intern at you know Alexander Wang or Phillip Lim then you have a better chance of working for those kinds of companies but they all have positives and negatives of it but obviously I didn’t realize maybe how different the job description would be or the daily tasks would be compared you know in different kinds of companies so I don’t know you know I think I was just a little bit unlucky with not finding the really creative jobs I mean I’m sure they’re out there somewhere.

Heidi: Yeah. But you know what? I mean this is a little bit and just my from what I see in the industry from the various stories I hear because I personally don’t have any experience working for a brand in New York City whether it be a really high glamour type of big resume name brand you know like Phillip Lim or something right like you said versus one of these less glamorous jobs that sounds like maybe is what you went into with your internship but what I see and hear is that even beyond the internship the less glamorous jobs are and this is a blanket statement that people might get really mad at me for saying and there’s obviously always exceptions to this but as a blanket statement some of the less glamorous work may tend to pay better because it’s a little bit less desirable versus some of the worst stories I’ve heard from designers about these painfully low rates that these New York City fashion jobs are offering come from the highest and names and it’s because those brands know there are so many people dying to work for them to get that line item on their resume to have those bragging rights to get that experience that they’re willing to do it for a lower rate so again..

Emily: Yeah, exactly…

Heidi: A blanket statement… But something I think to think about in the long run to.

Emily: its I think it’s definitely true and that’s where I like when I say I went after the money yes I ended up interning and working for like unknown companies either smaller very tiny companies or trading companies that that did like private label and produced for other brands you know I ended up going into that route because that road is what I saw TV money right yeah definitely the designer brands and it’s harder because they everybody wants to work for them and they could find you know if they if they could you know because of labor laws and stuff they can but if they could they would just they wouldn’t have to pay anyone they could find people to work for them for free all the time yes so that’s definitely an issue but then I don’t know you know again it’s mixed I’ve had I’ve had some friends that do work at the bigger name they’re the designer expensive brand names and when I talked to them about it some of them say it’s similar like it’s not very creative and some of them say it is you know so I think maybe there’s a better chance of creativity if you work for those brands but yeah you know you have to watch like being taken advantage of and not getting the money that you’re worth that happens a lot with those brands.

Heidi: Yeah…

Emily: So that’s the thing you know it’s there’s positives and negatives to all these different kinds of companies but just finding what works sort of best for you in the end you know just knowing you know having as much information as you can and knowing like okay well it seems like these kinds of businesses would work best for what I’m looking for and be it’s you know money and respect or be a creative freedom or whatever is important to you it’s hard to kind of get all those things in one.

Heidi: Yeah it is, and the other thing I think that’s important to look at is that there’s a lot more of those sort of no-name brands out there than there are of like the big name brand so I think if you just look at the amount of opportunity there’s a lot more of that and I don’t say no name isn’t a bad way but like not the huge you know huge brands that everybody knows worldwide.

Emily: Yeah.

Heidi: So something you said okay so you had this concept in college that you were gonna be you know design these beautiful collections and having asked creativity and then you got in there and you realize like I’m not really doing that I’m doing a lot of like production line work like you were working on tech packs and you said something and I think it was in the article you’re like you know the handed me this like paisley pattern and they’re like just create this make it 30% smaller so you’re just like reproducing stuff that someone else was giving you a little bit of direction on and that was not really fulfilling and so then you looked beyond you said okay well this is where I’m at right now in this in this role in this position based on where I’m at my career but like where would I’m where would it be in five or ten years and you looked at those people and you said that’s not really attractive so like what did you see like what were they doing and how did that like surprise you. You thought maybe the creativity’s at the end of the line but it sounds like you really even see that?

Emily: Right. Yeah, I mean that really seemed to be the bosses that I’ve had they also don’t really seem to be doing anything creative at all they tend to be and I’ve worked for I’ve worked for treating companies so this is companies that work with other brands so we do a lot of like private label where we support the design team on a brand and we help them you know order production in China and then it’s not under our name at all it’s under the brand name and we just sort of help support all that and so the bosses that I’ve had is they kind of do the same thing from but from a higher from a higher level so they do a lot of talking to our customers our private label brands and just doing what they want so it’s again like even my boss is not making a lot of decisions they’re talking to the our customers which are the other brands hey this Brown wants us to do this this season okay this brand needs to see this did they have this inspiration for the season so they want to see these kinds of swatches and colors and they my boss would just sort of put together what the brand wants to see for like the meeting things like that so I don’t know it’s just yes there’s not I just haven’t seen a lot of creative freedom anywhere in the chain I think when I interned I interned for like designer name and obviously designer I need you know you have like the creative director that is doing you know if you get to that level then yes I’m sure you are making some like very conceptual design decisions that are very exciting and you know but it being a creative sort of like a creative director of a really fancy designer brand that’s there are not many of those jobs and getting to that level takes a really long time so yeah I don’t know.

Heidi: And so then kind of different because of the trading company experience is obviously very different than working directly in house on the design team and so what were some of the differences that you saw when you were working for that designer name as an intern on some of the just the processes and creativity on a lower-level intern level versus what you saw at the trading company and some of the roles you were in there did you see any differences?

Emily: Yeah, definitely in interning for the designer brand was it was a lot more interning was a lot more creative and hands-on so I interned as a knitwear Interning so I got to do a lot of like swatch development on knit machines they had a little studio in Brooklyn that had like these hand knitting machines so we got to go there with the inspiration in hand that you know our the knitwear designer gave us interns we got to go to the Brooklyn studio and just make like fun swatches every once in a while we would spend the whole day there and it was actually it was actually pretty creative the internship.

Heidi: Yeah, really fun…

Emily: Yeah, it was a lot of fun and we got to watch and in the office when we were there in the office you know we got to watch like the print designer is doing really cool stuff on in like children or whatever program that were using you know they had like specific print designers just working on like the patterns like you know like textile designers and it was actually it was actually a much more creative environment and they even had one guy that was a he like hand-painted fabric it was really cool so he would hand paint these fabrics and I think they were for the like the runway shows and stuff like that because obviously effective that can’t really mass-produce that kind of stuff but it was really cool so he would develop like our artsy like patterns and prints by like painting on these fabrics so yeah I mean from what I saw it was a lot more creative than like the trading companies or the or the small businesses that can afford to you know hire these kinds of people the design creativity it was pretty it was pretty good but…

Heidi: And so,,, yes sorry go ahead.

Emily: Yeah but yeah but that’s the thing but then you know like you said about the pay then the pay can be difficult with those kinds of come with a big designer brands you know I’m heading getting decent wage and even decent hours you know they’re also known for overworking their employees you know doing 10 or 12 hour days same thing because you can take advantage of them when you’re when you’re a big designer name…

Heidi: Yeah…

Emily: …people will you know people will just sort of take it just to have that name on sometimes.

Heidi: And so you have that experience and it sounds like creative creatively it was very fulfilling and so I know you mentioned earlier you kind of chased the money and so like when and the timeline was this experience did you do that before after the paying internship at the training company and then when did you decide like you know I’m gonna go after this versus going after a glamorous name that might give me more creative outlet but you know when did you realize that was the differentiating factor how’d that all happened?

Emily: So, I started I did a lot of internships throughout my time at FIT you know every summer basically I would try to do an internship and so by the time I did the internship for my class my senior year I had already done two or three and other internships and I already noticed that that was a trend I had already noticed that small companies will basically pay you like an hourly rate as an intern and big companies either won’t pay you at all or they’ll pace like a stipend for your travel and maybe your lunch and so that’s why I chose for my senior year internship that’s why I chose like a smaller company that paid money because I had already kind of realized that and so I did that internship and it was great you know I got to make a little bit of money and get experience and then a lot of internships can turn into jobs or that’s kind of what you hope right you kind of hope that your first child…

Heidi: Yeah…

Emily: ,,,your graduate, you graduate your senior year and that’s when I finish the internship was like May of my senior year I’m like okay guys do you want to hire me okay now I need a job and they were like yeah no thanks I was like oh okay that’s sad… that’s okay now I actually have to go look for a job and you know that was fine they were a small company and whatever I think they just didn’t need me I don’t think I did like a bad job I think it was just they didn’t they just didn’t you know they didn’t need to hire me they were really small and you know couldn’t afford another person you know hard is…

Heidi: Sure.

Emily: …and sounds like okay fine so I had a little bit of trouble finding a job I went on a lot of interviews right after I graduated and that’s another thing that nobody tells you about is when you go to interviews and you have no job experience these people don’t people don’t treat people don’t treat you very well sometimes you know I went one job interviewer they were like this lady was like oh you have but you have no job experience I was like yeah but I don’t like it I’ve been like three or four internships you know I was like that’s what the internships are for…

Heidi: Yeah.

Emily: …get job you know it’s because you get job they said she’s like yeah but she was like it’s different she’s like those are interest-free she’s like you don’t have any real job experience and I was like I was so confused I was like because she’s the one who called me in for the interview you know like my resume in my portfolio and I was sort of you like what do you want me to tell you probably should have seen that on my resume I don’t even know why I’m here in this office…

Heidi: Yeah.

Emily: …if all you do is tell me that I have no job experience it was just the weirdest thing ever and that was like my experience of like going on interviews like for my first real job and I was like and I was so confused it was like that’s what the internships are for so you look like you have some job experience without you know actually having a real job.

Heidi: Well, yeah, and I mean a lot of people say it’s like how are you supposed to get the experience if no one will hire you without the experience it’s like…

Emily: Sadly.

Heidi: Chicken and egg thing right?

Emily: That it’s exactly that way… and it’s really hard when you start it nobody wants to take like the first chance on you like nobody.

Heidi: Unless your internship turns into a job which does happen sometimes but it didn’t for you…

Emily: Yeah.

Heidi: …and today like went on all these really frustrating interviews and then just finally ended something or what happened.

Emily: So then I yeah I got an opportunity to do I actually just did another internship so I was invited to do an internship at this designer brand that because they saw my senior runway show they saw what I had presented on the runway like the I forgot what she wasn’t like the VP of design of the designer brand saw what I had on the runway at FIT when I was graduating and she then invited me to do an internship after I graduated so and I was like well okay you know because this whole job things not really working out quite yet I was like and I thought it was kind of weird it was like well it seems kind of weird like I graduated I feel like I’m shouldn’t be doing internships anymore but I was like well you know I need to be doing something you know and I was like I can do this part-time while I you know keep looking for a job so I ended up interning part-time for a designer brand and actually and then I found a part-time job for edge four it was like a trading company so for maybe four or five months I was doing a part-time internship and a part-time job and the part-time so the part-time internship was like knitwear that was like knitwear intern and then the part-time job was I was what was I doing oh I was a an assistant colorist for like this they did a lot of like activewear and they did some knitwear as well but I was a I was an assistant colorist for the active wear side of the business and it’s fun, I was like you get so like you know deal with like Pantone colors and all these cool you do get to do a lot of like color stuff and check…

Heidi: Yeah.

Emily: …colored fabrics if they like dyed the color correctly and that was really interesting so I did that for a while and then I wasn’t getting paid you know I wasn’t getting paid I think I was getting like $10 an hour for the part-time job and after about three years after about three or four or five months of that I just went to them and I was like look guys I can’t pay my rent I can’t live off of this so I kind of pushed them to hire me full-time and they did I was like okay..

Heidi: Sweet!

Emily: …yeah I was amazing okay because I was either gonna quit or I was you know I didn’t know what to do because I was like I can’t I can’t pay my bill so that’s just what I told them I was like I can’t pay my bills.

Heidi: and your internship with the designer name was free, unpaid?

Emily: That was like a stipend…

Heidi: Okay…

Emily: …so

Heidi: that’s not much, yeah…

Emily: …yes it’s like it was like lunch and travel kind of a thing.

Heidi: Okay paid three or 250 MetroCard?

Emily: Yeah, there you go yes and all at lunch…

Heidi: Yeah.

Emily: It was maybe like that and yeah so yeah it was I didn’t know what else to do but to be honest with you know with the company not the trading company and I was like I think I also asked the designer brand you know if they could hire me but I mean they you know they couldn’t they had all the positions filled like you know for the internships are so much more loose like they can have a million interns…

Heidi: Sure.

Emily: …at one time…

Heidi: They didn’t cost them anything.

Emily: Yeah exactly, it’s great for them because they have like little workers doing all of like the creative development for them so yeah so I was really nice I was just really honest with the trading company I was like yeah I just can’t you know this is New York like I can’t I can’t pay my bills with this you know I need to I need to figure something out and they were like okay so my boss told her boss and she was like is there any way we can hire Emily you know full-time so I ended up it was kind of funny they were really nice they hired me I was still a part-time color like assistant colorist but then I also had another part-time job in another department so they ultimately like gave me a full-time salary benefits and everything but I think singly works half time for the inactive or the active or department I worked half time for the knitwear department and for the knitwear side I did like tech packs like measuring garments and making sure like the samples were like accurate and you think like…

Heidi: The production work.

Emily: Yeah, so yes. So that was kind of like my start and then I worked for that company full-time for the treating company full-time for about one year before I moved to and Shanghai then.

Heidi: And now your move was because of that job you kind of transferred over there for that company or?

Emily: No, actually my boyfriend got a job in Shanghai so he moved there first so I was like okay so I’ll just look for a job there you know I’m just like I kept working in New York while he was working there but I was kind of looking there and and I was going to be a great opportunity anyway there’s so much over there happening in fashion with the factories and there’s like yarn mills there’s so much stuff to see in China that’s fashion related so I got be a great opportunity so I just kind of started looking and asking around and yeah and then I got I got a position in Shanghai and I got to get like oh you know work visa and everything like that and made it very official so worked out well so then I got to stay in Shanghai for quite a few years.

Heidi: Yeah, that’s really fun. I mean really a lot of interesting sort of insights into kind of the realities of like you know what you think you’re getting into and then what really is going on behind the closed doors and just the different dynamics of how the different companies I work I think is really fascinating so I’d love well there’s a couple other things I want to I want to ask you about one is you mentioned to me previously about this whole and you said sometimes when people ask you what you do you’re like oh I’m a fashion designer and they kind of like scan you up and down they’re like well what are you wearing so and I don’t know if I’m putting words in your mouth but it was a little bit like that…

Emily: Yeah, yeah.

Heidi: …and it says this whole like you know why aren’t you dressed like this magazine cover fashion designer?

Emily: Yeah, yeah. I think people… people don’t understand that like fashion designers were very sort of sort of in a way we’re great we have our own culture and we’re very isolated from other aspects of the fashion industry I recently went to a like a party in Shanghai with one of my friends who she’s like a she’s like a fashion blogger and she does like PR I kind of like the PR side of like fashion and so we went to this like absolut Vodka party thing and it was just for me it was just like, like culture shock because the PR side of fashion I just I’m never in that side and it’s just it’s so overwhelming and everybody’s so like pretty and done up and the fashion the fashion design side of the industry it’s so it’s so like modest and plain and we’re very functional, we dress very functionally and you know a lot a lot of fashion designers we don’t really wear heels like it’s very like we have places we need to be running to and from you know it’s there’s a lot of it’s a lot of work being a fashion designer and I think people don’t realize sort of the different that there’s so many different sides to the fashion industry and they don’t always we don’t always overlap you know everybody doesn’t overlap with the design side and like the PR marketing side and you know the factory in production manufacturing side you know it’s very different we’re all sometimes we’re a little bit isolated in our own section of the industry and because of this I think fashion designers we definitely have our own culture in our own sort of way. The way that we dress and way that we act and do things and it’s very it’s very different from the exposed side of an fashion industry which is like the runway shows and the Met gallows and the photoshoots and sometimes we’re very we’re very separated from those from those kinds of things because I think people don’t realize that we don’t fashion designers don’t tend to style and you know we a lot fashion designers they hire stylist to style photo shoots or runway collections it’s not usually the fashion designer that’s actually doing those kinds of things and it’s you know there’s a lot of things that people just assume that I guess that the fashion designer is doing but we’re actually not just we mostly just design clothes I don’t know how to explain it but it’s a different world that people don’t really people that aren’t in the fashion industry don’t really realize that it exists like for fashion designers.

Heidi: Yeah. well I think it’s probably one of the most common misconceptions is that you know it’s so glamorous and we like frolic in fabric all day and I need to not say that again on the show because I say that it’s a little while you know too many times but I think it is you know there’s and it’s maybe not even dissimilar to like before you go into the industry when you’re in school and like what this whole like fantasy life of being a designer could be versus what the reality of it actually is?

Emily: Yeah, and I even because I was writing an article well a few of my articles and I kept coming across the issue of I need to figure out a clear way to to when I talk about fashion designers of like the big brand names like Alexander Wang and Philip Glenn like these fashion these are you know these are considered fashion designers and fashion designers like me like people that work for those brands or people that work inside those brands and nobody knows who we are like the you know because there were very separate like I’m a fashion designer and so is out as underway…

Heidi: Sure.

Emily: …but what we do is very, very different you know what I mean so just and I the only thing I could come up with was like calling with people like me and my friends like us that worked like 9:00 to 5:00 office fashion design jobs is calling us silent fashion designers because I was kind of like okay I just need a differentiating title for like us and for like the big brand people names because we’re not the same you know what we do is very, very different and I think people should recognize that so now you know I think media in general as fashion designers media has kind of taken the term fashion designers for the big names Diane von Furstenberg and Tory Burch and these kinds of feel like okay fine you guys can keep the name fashion designers but like now we need something for us for like the 9 to 5 the fashion designers meet we need a term so yeah I started calling us silent fashion designers because nobody knows who we are and we work inside brands.

Heidi: Yeah…I love that it’s like we’re the ones that are behind the scenes doing a lot of the grunt work that has to be done and sometimes it’s a little bit creative sometimes it’s just flat-out grunt work and…

Emily: Yeah,

Heidi: …but we do still call ourselves fashion designers but it’s definitely different you know the spectrum of what that means like you just said can range hugely from you and I to Alexander Wang thought there’s a big separation there.

Emily: Exactly, yeah exactly and I think that’s I think that needs to be clarified for everyone for everyone through people that are looking to go into fashion for people that are just see it as a hobby for everybody because it’s just so different and I don’t think people are aware of it and I don’t know why there hasn’t been a differentiation set before because they just know comparing because I tried you know I wrote an article like eight reasons why fashion designers don’t just fashionably and I was like okay so I can explain why the big-name fashion designers don’t especially or like why silent fashion designers don’t just fashionably and again it was like those are like two different things that their heart is hard to even compare because words of it like what we don’t do we’re both called fashion designers but what we do and like our culture is very is very different and it’s,,, I’m like yeah somebody has to clarify this because this needs to be clarified for myself and for everybody else just so just everything’s a little bit clearer you know.

Heidi: Yeah I think like for all the people who you know grow up having this like childhood dream of like being a fashion designer and it can happen like you can get there but…

Emily: Yes.

Heidi: …chances are like just to be realistic about it chances are not to squash anybody’s dreams or aspirations because like I said you can’t get there anytime make it happen but initially chances are you’re gonna be this other different this other reality and so where can we where’s their opportunity to kind of educate people on a certain level of expectation of what they think they’re going into them what they actually get like you spend all this money you pay for a four-year degree you go into this and then you land a job you’re like what?

Emily: Yeah.

Heidi: Slap in the face definitely.

Emily: Yeah, definitely it is, definitely a hard. Hard like thing to realize in a hard transition but yeah I think people should know it and I’ve had many people you know when I call you I’m a fashion designer and they’re like oh wow that’s so cool then I wish I was a fashion designer and I hear people say all this stuff and I’m kind of like oh I don’t you know I mean you know it’s kind of like yeah you wouldn’t you just want to let people know especially people that are seriously interested in it before they go back to school or spend a ton of time or money you just want them to know what it’s really like and yeah you can get to that point where you can be a big brand name fashion designer but chances are if you get to that point before you get to that point you know you’ll be working you’ll be working for companies it’s like a 9 to 5 designer…

Heidi: Yeah.

Emily: …and you know you have to you have to be aware of that that that could last a really long time before you have the chance to branch off on your own.

Heidi: Yeah and I’m really glad you mentioned that because I remember reading on the article but you had talked a lot about like transitioning careers and so it’s not necessarily just this girl or woman who is going to college straight out of high school and going into fashion but like maybe she’s 30 40 even like 50 whatever age and she you know always wanted to do this and so before investing and a big you know re-education and career shift I think you had some advice on what might be some other ways to go about exploring if that was a right path for you before you actually like Dovan to getting a new degree I might…

Emily: Yeah…

Heidi: Yeah.

Emily: …yeah, with that yeah I so I I wrote an article about yeah like fashion design as a second career because I have had a lot of friends and friends of friends and acquaintances that are seriously interested in fashion or the fashion industry in some way and you know they’re doing something very different now like the they’re an accountant or they’re working for the government or you know they’re doing something that’s very unrelated of fashion and they asked me like oh you know how can I get into this or do you recommend going back to school what do you recommend if I want to do this in the fashion industry and so I wrote this article about just fashion design as a second career but I think this this can apply to a lot of different things is look for a job first like a job title that you already have like you’re an accountant try to be an accountant in a fashion design company fashion is like Brad first you know do your do your research first basically get to know if you want to be a fashion designer get to know fashion designers go work with them you don’t have to be a designer work with them ask them questions see what they do on a day to day basis you can eat lunch with them then if you’re working with in a fashion brand you can see how a fashion company runs you know I said like if you’re a lawyer try to bring on more fashion brand clients so you can also see how see how the fashion industry runs before you decide to quit your job and go back to school…

Heidi: Yeah.

Emily: …because it’s because exactly you know people who have never worked in the fashion industry and they’re you know they’re doing accounting or they’re doing something else totally different they tend to not really know what it’s like to work in the fashion industry so I think just doing your due diligence doing your research you know asking people questions what it’s like this is this is what you want to do first before you make a big decision like that

Heidi: Yeah, that’s really smart I like the concept of like do your same job title but just try to do it within a fashion company?

Emily: Yeah, definitely I think there’s so many you know not everyone can do that but there are a lot of people that can there’s a lot of job descriptions that can sort of fit within the fashion industry somehow and that’s you know and that’s how you just sort of like sneak in there sneak in the fashion industry with what you already do and you can learn a lot you know you can sort of see the big picture a lot clearer before you make any big decisions.

Heidi: Yeah, that’s really, really smart advice to just kind of take it slowly and get your feet wet a little bit to see if it’s right for you.

Emily: Exactly. Yeah.

Heidi: And so I know like running short on time do you have a few more minutes I have a couple of things I want to throw at you?

Emily: Cool, yeah.

Heidi: Okay so how does all of this this whole concept of like the realities of being a fashion designer are silent fashion designers as you put it how does all of that then relate to your experience as like launching your own label because you have this you know you’ve got both sides of the coin here because a lot of people who launch their own brand they come out of like something not they don’t even come out of the fashion industry they are an accountant and they had this idea and they jump right into that and so you couldn’t have this interesting perspective to be able to compare the two and so how have the realities of working as a designer translated from your experience as working in-house as an employee versus starting your own brand?

Emily: Is very different like it’s that’s also been another sort of like eye opener transition in my life besides college to working in the industry from working in the industry to running a business it’s also very, very different and when I started my first brand it was it was really exciting because I had creative freedom and I you know I did what I always thought a fashion designer was supposed to do which was I got to design collections and I got total creative control over everything from the yarn to the swatch and fabric development…

Heidi: Yeah.

Emily: …to the garments everything and that was an amazing experience but I’m realizing now that which is okay but I’m realizing now that owning a business you realize that if it’s a small business that you’re you know funding on your own most of what you do is also not creative because you have a business to run and you can’t just sit around and be a be a creative fashion designer all day you actually have to you know look at your financial books and you have to you know upkeep your website and your social media and you know there’s so many there’s so many things involved and which has actually been a lot of fun and I’ve really enjoyed it because it’s I like the challenge at least I feel like I’m being challenged when I’m running my own business it’s also probably not like I thought it would be but it’s been an amazing learning experience and again I love learning so it kind of almost feels like going back to school again because you learn something new every day you have a new challenge every single day when you own a business…

Heidi: Yeah.

Emily: …and it’s really it’s really hard it’s really hard but it’s but it’s really rewarding every day to wake up and have your own sort of creative vision that you want to fulfill but you do have to have a lot of patience too because if you especially if you’re a you own your business when your own or if it’s just one or two of you progress is pretty slow so you just have to keep at it you have to really have a lot of like perseverance and a lot of focus to run your own business whereas when I worked for brands I felt like I mean I honestly didn’t really feel like I needed to use my brain very much I mean it just it’s very different like you know when you when you work for brands and other businesses I feel like especially as a lower level designer they don’t often share with you the big picture of what they’re doing it’s like the really big picture of the business’s goals and vision for whatever five or ten years so you’re just kind of doing a lot of little projects I need to be finished that day or in a week’s time you know you’re doing a lot of like little, little projects whereas, when you run your own business you really have to keep the big picture in mind you know you really need to know your vision four five years down the road or ten years down the road and that’s really important to keep in mind every single day even when you’re you are doing small tasks for your own business you have to have that big picture in mind to know where you’re taking your business.

Heidi: Yeah. And there’s so many other people like involved in that process when you’re at a company that it’s really easy like you said to get kind of left out of that loop.

Emily: Yeah. Again you get kind of pigeon-holed into one little thing they just want you to do that one let’s just do this just do this thing we just need you to just we have other people working on the big picture we have other people working on you know the more creative aspects you know there’s other people doing that stuff…

Heidi: Yeah.

Emily: …so for you know they just need you to sort of and it’s a lot of execution I think especially when you’re a lower level designer you’re executing a lot of other people’s ideas and creative concepts you know they tell you what to do…

Heidi: Yeah.

Emily: …so it’s a lot of execution and little jobs like that and when yeah one thing that I always wished working for brands I wish they shared more with me about the big picture because I think you can get your employees a lot more excited about your business when you share more with them rather than just like oh can you just do this print you know that this customer wants like okay can you know can we take a little bit more time and can we talk about this customer and their vision and what they want and I think brands could learn a lot about just you know educating their employees a little bit more about the business and the customers vision and things like this you know I think it would inspire designers to just do better work and sort of stick around longer and that kind of stuff.

Heidi: Yeah, that’s really a great perspective because I think when you in any job role when you like have a vision and understand the bigger picture in the goal you’re a little bit more excited you’re a little bit more inspired and the work can be more fulfilling even if they the task that you’re gonna do is gonna stay relatively the same you don’t just feel like a cog in a wheel like okay do this do this do this.

Emily: Exactly. Yeah, I think it makes a big difference even if the employee is doing the exact same job if you just share more information with them about what they’re doing the big picture of what their day okay you’re doing this piece but this is what it’s gonna turn into like…

Heidi: Yeah.

Emily: …you know it’s way more exciting and you can I think you can keep employees a lot longer and have a better life satisfaction rate among employees and I think businesses are getting there I think they’re kind of learning this now slowly because I feel like there’s been a lot more talk on online like articles and stuff about employee satisfaction and things like this and employee retention so I think this is becoming like more people are becoming more aware of this but you know when I was when I was working it’s you know you say I get it you know they don’t always people are moving so fast there’s a lot to get done they don’t have maybe the time to sit down and show everybody like the big project or the big vision of what’s going on but I think I think it’s important and I think companies should make the time and in the schedule to do more of that kind of stuff.

Heidi: Yeah, and sometimes it could just be like an extra couple minutes…

Emily: Yeah.

Heidi: …could really go far when you’re like handing that project off to somebody so what a great lesson for like anyone out there listening who’s in you know management role or any type of role that has someone under them just think about that when you’re assigning that task just been extra couple minutes even if that’s all it is explaining you know the goal and the bigger picture of what’s going on here to get your employee your assistant you know whoever it is it’s that much more excited and engaged…

Emily: Thank you.

Heidi: …because that’s really important to keep them happy.

Emily: It is again it’s very important it’s very important and it makes a big difference in in worth the work, work ethic…

Heidi: Yeah.

Emily: …and efficiency I think as well and all it takes is you talking to them a little bit more.

Heidi: Yeah, so smart, so top where I know I read some of your articles on LinkedIn is that mostly where you publish them and I’ll link to some of them in the show notes the two we specifically talked about the fashion design is a second career and the 8 things I forgot what it was…

Emily: A recent fashion designers don’t dress fashion, yeah?

Heidi: Yes and so do you mostly just publish these on LinkedIn like what’s the best way for people to read all those great stuff you’re putting out or I don’t know if it’s randomly here and there?

Emily: Yeah it’s mostly LinkedIn right now I’m working on my website I have a website but it’s kind of outdated so I’m working on updating that and I’m gonna start posting more regular blog post on my website pretty soon…

Heidi: Okay.

Emily: …so yeah I definitely LinkedIn is a great place to be in touch also my YouTube channel I stay pretty active on there if you want to share like my YouTube channel…

Heidi: Yeah that’s great I will definitely what’s the URL I’ll put that in the show notes.

Emily: …I’ll have to let you know how about.

Heidi: Okay, yeah, alright everybody will put that in the show notes and I’ll put a link to your LinkedIn as well and then what’s the URL of your website we can add that and then when it gets updated it’ll be ready.

Emily: Okay my website is

Heidi: Okay, perfect and I will put that in there so agree I’m like really, really excited about everything that you’re doing and the perspective that you have and that you’re having a voice for that perspective because I think that a lot of people listening are gonna say god that’s exactly how I feel but it doesn’t it feels like nobody really talks about it.

Emily: Right. that’s how I felt for a long time for sure.

Heidi: Yeah, well I heard it from a lot of people and so I know there’s tons more out there who feel that way and just haven’t spoken up and so I appreciate that you’re out there like talking about this and putting the realities of industry out there for other people that learn and understand it’s really great…

Emily: Definitely, yeah. I hope. I hope we can keep you know keep making us a mainstream conversation so people you know some people are a little bit more aware of the industry as a whole…

Heidi: Yeah.

Emily: …it’s good.

Heidi: Yeah, so much fun chatting with you Emily I want to end with one question that I ask everybody at the end of the show and I’m very interested to hear your answer and just because of your perspective on the industry but it is what is one thing that people never ask you about working in fashion that you wish they did?

Emily: Everything,,, that’s hard I mean I would just say I would just say in general I wish more people just ask me, ask me if I like it if I liked it rather than assuming as I feel like a lot of you I say I’m a fashion they’re like oh that’s so cool they just assume it’s really cool and sometimes I’m like ask me ask me how I feel you know I’m standing there like staring at them like no stop just ask me how I feel about it.

Heidi: Ask me if I really think it’s that cool.

Emily: Exactly like ask me how I really fit and they never do they never ever, ever no one has ever actually asked me that like oh do you like working in fashion I’ve never heard anyone say.

Heidi: Yeah. I love that answer you’re the only other answer I’ve gotten that’s kind of similar but what one guy said ask me if I’m happy doing what I’m doing…

Emily: Exactly, yeah…

Heidi: Yeah.

Emily: …exactly yeah it’s like okay it’s like and I get it like even you know and I try to think I always try to think the other way around okay if I’m talking to a doctor say or something, something like that somebody’s like oh yeah I’m a I’m a surgeon or something you know I would probably do the same thing…

Heidi: Sure.

Emily: …oh that’s really cool you know but then I think I think I would be like you know it’s like is that interesting I would try to ask something about it maybe that is right and I do feel like people with fashion design people don’t tend to ask anything after the that’s really cool they think kind of just you know maybe they’ll ask what you do they’ll be like so what do you like do on a day-to-day basis you know sometimes people ask me that but yeah but some of you sometimes just like ask me ask me and he’ll ask me how I feel about being in fashion is like…

Heidi: Yeah. I love that answer.

Emily: …that’s the only thing I can think of right now that’s like really like happens a lot yeah.

Heidi: Yeah, no you’re right though that is the immediate reaction oh my god that’s so cool how interesting…

Emily: Yeah,

Heidi: …sometimes you’re like, you know, it’s good.

Emily: Yeah, looks like I never know what’s yours fun I’m always kind of like yeah okay some parts are really cool I guess some stuff that’s really cool but like but yeah like I know I know that when I’m talking to this person that I know that their idea of what I do and what I actually do is very different you know, you know and you kind of know that if it’s someone that doesn’t work in the fashion industry you know that then you have no idea what you actually do.

Heidi: Right.

Emily: Oh yeah.

Heidi: That’s great, that’s great. Oh my gosh so much fun to chat with you I really am happy that we connected and this has been phenomenal thank you so much for being on the show Emily this was really, really great.

Emily: Thanks Heidi. I had a great time it was a lot of fun.

Heidi: Thank you for listening to episode 14 of the successful fashion designer podcasts if you’d like to learn more about any of the resources mentioned in this episode visit the show notes at and since you made it this far you must have liked the episode if you can take 60 seconds to leave a review on iTunes it helps the show a lot and makes the podcast easier for people to discover it’s for easy to do and I’d really appreciate it visit to leave your rating and thanks for your support and help.


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