Thursday, October 20, 2011
9 to 5: Brandy, Children's Fashion Designer
Tell us about yourself.
I’m Brandy a 29 year old Mommy, Wife, and Fashion Designer (well those are my 3 most important jobs). I am the blogger behind Baby Blackbird where I write about my little fashion loving family and all things fashionable for kids. My day job is as a Clothing Product Developer, were I work frantically (and fashionably) to bring stylish clothes to the market. I’m a Mommy to, 2 amazing kids: a super happy one year old girl named Harlow, and hilarious two year old boy named Kingston. And a wife to my amazingly talented and loving husband Chris. My little family lives in Toronto, Canada, where me and my hubby are raising our little family in the heart of a busy city. Currently I am home with my two little’s; blogging, working freelance fashion consulting, and a few other exciting ideas that I hope to launch soon, but will be headed back to the world of retail fashion shortly.
Describe a typical day at work.
Currently I am at home with my kids, but when I was in the office…
My day never really had a typical setting, since fashion works in seasons and cycles my job and responsibilities would also. The one constant thing is every morning was spent answering excessive amounts (100-200 a day is excessive right?) of emails from overseas factories (negotiating prices, status reports, sending approval, and unfortunately dealing with daily issues). Then depending on the stage of the cycle or season: Shopping for ideas, fabric, and trims (it’s a pretty fun part of the cycle, shopping for work!). Check the sales of the current goods that are in stores, research and forecast for up and coming trends, develop and design the first (first of many) drafts of the line of clothing for the season (truly my favorite part of the cycle and what I enjoy most about my job). I work closely with a graphic designer (or in some cases I was my own graphic designer), pattern makers, clothing technicians and assistants to create specification packages outlining every tiny detail of each garment. And review and approve samples (of fabric, trims, color swatches, fit samples) for production of the garments.
This is just a short snippet of a few of the tasks; I know I am leaving a ton out. Really there is never a dull day, and rarely a day where I wasn’t working overtime or bringing work home with me.
Did you always want to work in this field?
I actually didn’t even get the idea of working in the fashion industry till I was about 19. I had always loved fashion and the construction of garments (would change my outfit several times a day at the ripe age of 4), but never really thought growing up that it could take me to a career. As soon as the bug was planted in my ear (a lovely aunt offered the suggestion and I had a major ‘Uh Huh’ moment) I applied for school (got accepted) and me and my husband (then boyfriend) packed up and moved across the country.
How did you get into doing this?
After graduating from Fashion Design in College, I decided not to take the super creative route (a really tough choice) and work for designers or start my own line. I wanted to learn more about the business and retail side of fashion (also I wanted a steady salary with benefits so I could have the added security to have a family), so I went the route of mass market design (product development).
What kind of schooling or background did it entail?
A degree or diploma in Fashion Design/Fashion Merchandising.
Is this what you hope to do for the rest of your life?
Yes and no. I hope to one day be my own boss, but use my skills in fashion to do so. Currently I do some part time freelance consulting (in Fashion Design and Development) for new clothing business start-ups or design/technical advice. I would love to one day design my own line of clothes, or work full time as a consultant. I am also working on a few other projects, I hope to launch this year (I’m super excited to get these going). And Baby Blackbird, my kids' fashion blog which has turned into my little passion project/hobby it will for sure a big part of my future as well.
How do you see yourself growing in this career?
The growth is never ending in this field, there are always twists and turns and newness around the corner (fashion changes at the drop of a hat, and the market is a roller coaster). So the growth is constant, but the ultimate goal would be to the head designer/creative director of a wonderful brand OR work for myself full time, bringing all my skills, experience and abilities together.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years, career-wise?
To be honest I have not thought that far ahead, trying hard to enjoy to live in the moment (since I had kids’ I don’t want to miss even a second). I do hope to be successfully working for myself, through consulting, my own line of clothing or a few other things I have in the works.
If you could tell your 17-year old self anything about your life today, what would you tell her?
Doing something you love. Happiness is better then all the money in the world.
Relax, the pressure to find ‘what you want to do with your life’ is overrated, you can change careers as many times as you want, nothing is concrete. Also don’t expect to make it rich working in fashion, it’s a ton of hard work and some of the pay is in satisfaction and passion. ;)
Was there anything you would have done differently as far as your career, setting yourself up for success, etc.?
I don’t wish I would have done anything differently, everything happens for a reason, and all the good bad and ugly has brought me to this wonderful place I am today. But If I have to think of something I think and the husband would have moved to New York and worked there for a year or so, more because we love that city and it would have been a wonderful experience working in the NY fashion industry.