How 9 talented babes got their big break in the NZ fashion industry
How much hard work and hustle goes into running a multi-million dollar fashion company? We go behind the scenes at Glassons and find out.
Lucy Jane Hopkins
What do you do? I style the looks you see in store, online and in all the Glassons campaigns. How did you get there? I did a Fine Arts degree at Whitecliffe College but fast fashion and E-commerce always interested me as it’s a diverse, ever-evolving landscape. I got my role last year after a stint at Trelise Cooper. I want your job. Any advice? Work hard! There will be bumps in the road but no one comes into the industry knowing everything. Learn from your mistakes and move on.
Andrea Johnston @andre_____3000
What do you do? I create all the prints and graphics that go onto the garments. How did you get there? In my final year of a Bachelor of Design I struggled to find work experience at a design agency, so I tried a few fashion houses and landed a role at Taylor. I then worked as a graphic designer at Wild Pair before getting my job at Glassons. Best thing about your job? Seeing someone wearing a print I painted or drew. I always snap a sneaky pic and send it to my mum! How do I get a job like yours? Just bloody go for it! There’s some ridiculous statistic that women won’t apply for a job unless they meet 100 percent of criteria, whereas men will apply if they meet only 60 percent of it. Don’t be discouraged by anything, ever.
What do you do? Translate trend research into sketches, concept developments, and ultimately new collections. Did you always want to work in fashion? It used to intimidate me, but I quickly learned that despite its reputation for being frivolous and superficial, the industry is full of smart, hard-working creative people and what we provide is an outlet for others to express themselves. I know first-hand that when you feel good, you feel empowered, and I’m proud to work in such a fast-paced, female-dominated environment. Best thing about your job? What I design is accessible to everyone. I love that my mum, sister and friends all shop at Glassons. These women inspire me more than any fashion blogger or social media influencer could. Any career advice? You are responsible for your own career progression. People always say ‘you’re so lucky to have your job’ and I am, but I also did everything I could to make it happen!
What do you do? My wonderful team and I set the trends for each season, identifying key shapes, colours and fabrics, as well as designing multiple items each week. Did you always want to work in fashion? I grew up in Norway and after moving to New Zealand at the age of 14, I started competitive snowboarding. I thought I was going to be an Olympic athlete! How did you nab your role? Post-university I interned at Topshop in London where I stayed for five years, until receiving a job offer from Glassons’ former CEO Graeme Popplewell. How do I get ahead in your industry? Realise that the best ideas don’t come from one individual. Collaboration creates magic.
What does your role entail? I shoot all the images you see instore and online via our EDMs [electronic direct mail] social media and E-commerce site. Why fashion? Growing up on a wildlife park in Argentina I wanted to work with animals. I studied film at university and thought I’d go on to make wildlife documentaries, but discovered my love of fashion when working in my sister’s shoe factory. Best thing about your job? The international shoots. We shoot every eight weeks and they’re long days and nights but when you see the images in store it makes all the blood, sweat and sleeplessness worth it. If I want a job like yours, what do I need? Passion, a good eye, and an openness to evolving your craft.
Karlene Brady National Retail Manager
What do you do? I look after the retail store operations across New Zealand, working with the regional managers to ensure all the stores and staff are on track. Did you always want to work in fashion? I wanted to own my own hair salon! I was a big fan of the perm and did my hairdressing apprenticeship, but got a taste for fashion and the rest is history (so is the perm). How did you land your role at Glassons? I started as a sales assistant in my teens and worked my way up over an eight year period. I become regional manager about five years ago, jumped ship to Forever New for four years, and returned to my roots last year. Best career advice? Don’t wait for things to be handed to you, life doesn’t work like that.
Northern cluster manager
What do you do? I look after and manage six stores within Auckland. Did you always want to work in the fashion industry? Yes! I thought I would be a stylist, however I found a love for the business side of things. How did you land your role at Glassons? After high school I waitressed for a while, then headed off travelling. When I came home I walked into the Takapuna, Auckland store to hand in my CV and they just so happened to be looking for management potential. Best thing about your job? The people and the fashion! How do I get (and keep) a job like yours? Be passionate about it. It’ll make the hard work and long hours worth it. Then, aim to be the best and don’t stop until you are.
Senior visual merchandiser
What does your role entail? I look after the merchandising changes for the business, including in-store wall builds, floor set-ups and window displays. How did you land your role at Glassons? I started on the shop floor as a 3IC and soon after became a store manager. I didn’t know anything about visual merchandising but with a design background I found myself constantly wanting to rework the store, so when a role opened up at head office I jumped at the chance. What’s the best thing about your job? I love bringing trends to life. Building a new wall in-store and seeing your work translated into 35 other stores is also very satisfying. If I want a job like yours, what do I need? Time on the shop floor. It taught me so much about the business and how customers react to product and the way it is merchandised. I wouldn’t be where I am today without that knowledge.
Finance department (accounts payable)
What do you do? I pay all the company’s bills — relating to everything from window cleaning, to carry bags, to building a new Glassons store. Did you always want to work in fashion? I actually wanted to work in sports! I studied Sport Management at university while working part time at Cotton On. I landed my role at Glassons through LinkedIn. Favourite thing about your role? I’m each store’s first point of contact if they have any finance-related issues, and I like being able to help the girls on the front-line. How do I get (and keep) a job like yours? Accept that you will need to learn quickly in large amounts, and that you will always have mountains of paper on your desk! Then be yourself, work hard and enjoy every moment.