Career Tips From Fashion Professional and Blogger Marilyn Hucek
For many, working in the fashion industry would be a dream come true. However, breaking into the industry is easier said than done. The world of fashion can be an extremely intimidating place - do images of The Devil Wear Prada instantly come to mind? To help inspiring professionals, we sat down with Marilyn Hucek for some career advice. Marilyn is not only one of NYC's top bloggers - she's the mastermind behind The Lunar Phase blog - she is also a top fashion professional, with companies like Ralph Lauren and Nordstrom under her belt. Keep reading for her tips on how to make it in the fashion industry.
There are so many areas in the fashion industry: Marketing, Merchandising, Buying and Planning, Styling, Supply Chain, etc. What's your advice for someone who knows they want to be in the industry, but not exactly sure which department to pursue?
This was exactly my predicament when I first started off. Where I grew up, working in the fashion industry was not a common profession and I had rare exposure to its existence. It was my dream to work in the fashion industry.
It’s essential to do your research to understand the options and departments in the industry - information is so accessible that there is no excuse. If you want to work in the fashion industry you have to put in the effort to learn about it. In the long run this will benefit you, because all departments are tied together like the food chain. You will have a leg up in understanding how the industry works just like the economy.
I also recommend calling anyone who works in the industry and learning about what they do. It’s easier to write an email, or text but not as effective as a phone call. Over the phone you can really get the details and ask all the questions that come to mind, it will also allow you to form a better connection with the person you’re talking with to hopefully start growing your network. The most ideal situation is a coffee meet-up, but that is not always possible depending where you live.
What's the best professional advice you've ever received from a friend/mentor?
I have received a lot of advice along the way that is very helpful, but in terms of networking I was advised that it is better to form meaningful relationships with fewer people over superficial relationships with many.
Technology is constantly evolving, affecting the way people shop. What's your advice on keeping up with the changes updates of the industry?
You have to be informed and keep up with the innovators of the industry. I make sure to read WWD, Fashionista and BoF to stay up-to-date. I also constantly attend product launches and press previews to learn about the new ideas being introduced to the market. The industry has always been constantly evolving; it’s just a part of the process. It’s fun to be a part of the change and support the visionaries of the world. I say don’t knock it ‘till you’ve tried it.
In regards to continuing education, what are some ways someone can fine-tune and improve their professionals skills to make themselves a more valuable fashion professional?
I recommend General Assembly to take online or in-class course certifications to further your education. They offer several subjects such as public speaking, Excel, marketing, user experience, coding. You can also apply to your local college/university to see if they have courses you can take. I know a lot of people who are working on their masters at night after work, so it’s definitely possible.
Given that you are both a successful fashion professional and blogger, do you find the two social circles overlapping? If so, what's your advice on preventing a conflict of interests?
I definitely see both of my jobs overlapping, but I find it to be beneficial. I am able to apply what I learn in both areas to my advantage and it gives me a huge leg up. I am up to date with social media technology and trends and well versed in the business of fashion and corporate processes. I have a very well rounded perspective on the industry. I ensure to abide by company policies to ensure there isn’t any conflict of interest.
Would you say that having a strong social media presence and following will be an advantage in the fashion industry?
Now days it’s becoming imperative to have a social media presence as many people use it as a creative portfolio to showcase their creative vision, and work. It can definitely be used as a tool for the creative types but its social proof of your passion and hobbies which employers are looking for in a candidate.