What do you do for a living?
I am an assistant to a VP of creative–the majority of my time is spent art directing (product) and working on miscellaneous projects like trend boards, etc. I started this job after giving birth. Before I was a visual merchandiser in corporate retail for 7 years.
Do you have advice for anyone who’d like to get into visual merchandising or other creative field?
There is endless advice, most of it useful. However, I’d say that my big recommendations are the obvious ones, do something you love and work hard at it. On a more practical level, get real-world experience any way you can. If you’re stuck in a boring administrative job, offer to create the company a new brochure and ask if you can take a class. Even if you have to get your creative kicks outside of work and relationships, do it. Creativity begets creativity. Write people who inspire you and ask for advice or informational interviews. For visual merchandising specifically, I’ll tell you that most professionals started in the retail channel. And remember that not all visual jobs (or any creative jobs for that matter) are actually…creative. You could be designing the windows for Barney’s or doing space planning for Target. If you do want to get into styling and windows, especially in apparel, just know that you’re going to need some installation experience, and be willing to climb ladders, use a hammer, and work in the middle of the night.
Where do you live?
Do you have any siblings?
I’m an only child.
How do you take your photos?
I use a Canon Rebel DSLR. I actually know very little about the technical aspects of photography, so I usually have the best luck when there’s natural light.
Who designed your blog?
I did. I am using the Thesis theme, which has been fantastic. It’s highly customizable but I am using it virtually “out of the box” and I really like the basic look of it (which is good because I also don’t know much about HTML). It’s not free, however, I think it’s about $80. The blog is built using the WP platform.
How do you create your collages/images?
I use CS2/4, depending on if I am working from home or the office (mostly Photoshop and InDesign).
What fonts do you use on the blog?
What kind of advice do you have for would-be bloggers?
Content is, and will always be, the bread and butter of a blog. You can have a beautifully designed blog but if the content is lacking you will not build a following. When it comes to design, my theory has always been that if you don’t really know what you’re doing, err on the side of simplicity. So, keep it simple, keep it interesting and focused, and keep it consistent.
Any words of wisdom on being a new mom?
Take care of yourself and give yourself a break. Too many women fall victim to the “over the moon” fantasy, believing that they will (and should) fall in love with their baby at first sight. It doesn’t happen for every woman. It’s also not vital for your baby to be The Most Important Thing in your life. The best way I can explain it is that while I don’t feel all that much different being a mom, and Tate isn’t my end-all-be-all, I am very aware that it’s my responsibility to care for and love him. And I take that very seriously. But, there’s no law that says a child must totally redefine your life and person.
Also, take a lot of photos and keep a journal when you’re pregnant.
Favorite books, music, movies/TV?
I like depressing books. The Awakening is my favorite novel, and I also really like Ethan Frome (random, I know). I sometimes am drawn to really informative non-fiction, like The Great Influenza or Pathologies of Power. I have a goal to read more Mark Twain.
I love a lot of different music. If I had to choose favorites they would be Led Zeppelin, Radiohead, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, The Beatles, Billie Holiday, Miles Davis and Miss Kittin, who is this amazing French DJ. I do like a lot of electronic music and it tends to be my fall-back as it’s calming.
I also listen to a ton of NPR.
I find myself watching The West Wing over and over…and over. I also like Jon Stewart, Parks & Rec, and (shhhhh) The Real Housewives. Guilty pleasure! Stealing Beauty is one of my favorite movies, as is The Hours (again, depressing stuff). I really love Funny Face and The Big Lebowski. And Amadeus, and Immortal Beloved. I think Gary Oldman is super sexy.
How do you keep track of all the sites you visit and inspiration you collect?
I’m lucky enough to have access to a fashion/trend forecasting service through work, not only for endless information but because it has amazing organizational functionality. The service itself provides up-to-the-minute information, but I can also pull from outside the service (much like Pinterest) and save into my files. I can create style boards, access free vector art, research cities for the best shopping, create color palettes and, most importantly, access forecasting services–it’s totally awesome.
Along with that, I use Google Reader to keep up with my favorite blogs and star items I may want to write about or research. Tumblr is excellent for collecting fashion/trend photos on the fly, as is Pinterest. I’ve tried to get better at saving favorites on sites like Flickr and Etsy, as I am always finding random photos on my desktop with no clue of where they came from–especially because I look for new artists for work, and I seem to lose track of them easily.
I try to use my bookmarks but it’s eternally difficult because I often access three computers–I really need to commit to using a site like Delicious, so I’m able to access bookmarks via the web, but I haven’t gotten around to it.
I also collect inspiration the old fashioned way. I keep most stuff at work because our office space is so small at home–this includes books and magazines that I’ve tagged, binders of magazine tears, swatches, Pantone books, etc etc. Luckily, my department subscribes to every magazine so I don’t worry about missing anything in international fashion issues (there are also great blogs that feature these editorials as well). Since my work is creative, it’s a really nice and helpful cross-over.
I really like the style boards you pull together, can you make me one?
Your best bet is to send me an email with a request–if I feel like it’s something that would be of interest to the general readership, I may write a post/create a style board. I am exploring opening up styling services for a fee.
Are you available for freelance design projects?
Most likely not, but it never hurts to ask–it will depend on my schedule at the time.
Have a question? Shoot me a note!