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Kim Lawson of OohLaLuxe and DailyFashionJobs.com Offers Great Advice for Those Looking to Get into the Fashion Industry

Written by Robin WildingJanuary 11, 2012
DailyFashionJobs.com

Fashion is a full-time job. For the more-successful people in the industry it is often a more-than-full-time job. For Kim Lawson, owner and buyer of OohLaLuxe clothing boutique, creator of DailyFashionJobs.com and freelance fashion writer--fashion is all-consuming.

 

Did You Know.... Academy of Art University’s School of Fashion offers BFA's in Fashion, Fashion Merchandising, Textile Design, Fashion Marketing, Fashion Styling, Costume Design, and Fashion Product Development. Learn more.

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Armed with only a love of couture and a work ethic beat only by Chinese sweatshop
workers Kim is able to juggle it all—and carve a name out for herself in the fly-by-
night fashion industry. At just 25 Kim is already experiencing success across all her
businesses: DailyFashionJobs.com has become a one-stop resource and social network
for interns and recent graduates, she has been published on Oomph, FabCrush,
GirlsTalkinSmack (her own publication) and Beckett’s Teen Sensations magazine, and
continues to rake in sales from OohLaLuxe.

Somehow the young FIDM graduate finds time to help mentor her DailyFashionJobs
staff—consisting of a Posting intern and a Networking PR intern. If you are looking for
a way to break into fashion's editorial industry, Kim offers other publishing and intern
opportunities for fresh new talent in photography, art directing, wardrobe styling,
editorial, and up-and-coming designers.

It came as no surprise that Kim, on behalf of DailyFashionJobs, happily volunteered to
be part of our Interview Series, a series dedicated to helping young talent break into the
fashion industry:

For any of our readers not familiar with Daily Fashion Jobs could you briefly
explain your company's goal?

Our objective is to give those interested in entering the fashion industry one place to find
internship and job leads. There are several niche sites across the net that might have
one or two leads that are fashion-centric, but the great thing about DFJ is that you can
find all of the leads in one spot, and a lot of exclusive leads as well. We also do resumes
and post articles and tips about interning and entering the industry; in general we want
to support and inspire aspiring fashionistas.

What inspired the idea and creation of Daily Fashion Jobs?

My own job search after graduating from FIDM. I would search daily on four or five
different websites on a daily basis looking for leads, and I thought how nice would it be if
I could see all of these leads on just one site?

How did you originally get your foot into the door of the fashion industry?

I started out as a boutique owner and buyer, and still am. I've been self employed and
working as an independent contractor since entering the industry 4.5 years ago.

What type of education did it take to get you where you are today? And how
has your career path progressed over the years?

I majored in Fashion Merchandise Product Development, and I'm so glad I did because
that particular program prepares you to wear so many different hats--and when you're a
new business owner that's a necessity. Over the past few years I've branched out into
fashion consulting and wardrobe styling, and I also hold a position as fashion director at
a bridal magazine. I've learned a lot just by reading the blogs of other industry professionals, but I wouldn't feel secure doing what I do if I didn't have the formal training under my belt.

If you had the opportunity to start your career (or business) over again would
you do anything differently?

There are a few things I would do differently when it comes to starting my business! I'm
sure any business owner would agree. But I don't regret anything when it comes to my
education.

What does it take to get a job in the fashion industry?

That depends on the type of job you're trying to get, there are so many different paths
to take. Of course, having a great eye for style and aesthetics and a strong business
sense are both a must. Being social and knowing how to network (offline and on) are
huge assets as well.

What skills do you see requested time and time again in fashion job ads?

Experience! Which is a little depressing when you think about it, especially since I cater
to interns and entry level careers. You know a field is competitive when even interns are
required to have experience.

In your opinion what could our readers do to get a leg-up on the competition
when it comes to applying to jobs?

Reading directions and following them is a good place to start -- it's amazing how many
people apply for jobs and internships and don't bother submitting things properly, or
even including everything that is requested in the job lead. Also, proof reading and spell
checking not just resumes and cover letters but also emails -- I've had plenty of
applications with typo's in the subject line.

And if you're going into a design field, or something similarly creative, always bring your
portfolio, no matter what! I've had designers come to interviews and not bring their
portfolio -- always be prepared to sell yourself even if the employer doesn't specifically
ask for something.

Which role(s) in the fashion industry do you think will offer the best career
opportunities moving forward? eg. designer, PR, entrepreneur, etc.?

I think most fashion career paths offer tons of opportunities, and it's really just what you
make of them, especially if you're working for yourself. Wholesale is a great segment of
the industry to go into; there are always new lines popping up and they need someone
to represent them.

Which skills do you consider to be most critical for a career in fashion?

An eye for style, creativity, and great social skills. People who are open-minded and
embrace change do well in this industry.

What would you recommend for aspiring fashion professionals looking to break
into today's fashion industry?

Keep honing your craft and never stop networking! Word of mouth really drives our
industry; it's not limited to it, but who you know always gives you a huge leg up. And
market yourself via social networking and a blog as much as you can.

Check out more interviews at The Fashion-Schools.org Interview Series.