From Brazil with love: notes about a first job

Aline Leitao studied and lived in Barcelona some time ago. She is a young citizen of the world who is going to write about different experiences in the Latin American country that is currently growing and developing in an awesome way: Brazil.

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Reality bites: how to sweat and get a (good) job in fashion

Photo by clickdetet from sxc.hu

 

I must start by saying that university does not shows you not even 50% of all possible jobs you can have within the fashion field. So if you are a bit insecure because you are not very sure of what you are going to be after your fashion studies, don’t panic, just focus, be open minded and receptive to every opportunity that will come your way. It doesn’t matter how you start but if you are really willing to learn and work hard the end can be a lot rewarding.

When I decided to study Fashion marketing and communication I only knew that I wanted to work with fashion, though I didn’t have any drawing skills and hated the fashion production classes. Marketing interested me a lot but I still didn’t see myself working for a magazine or an advertising agency and that seemed to be the only paths I could follow. Scared? Yes, I was -a lot-, from the first ‘til the last day!

I remember that almost everyone in class wanted to work as fashion stylists or marketing directors of big agencies and the most desired brands were Diesel, Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton and Chanel. Of course that it would be awesome to be the creator of the new Diesel campaign, but come on, how scaring it is if every student in a classroom wishes the very same position and your chances go narrowing even before graduation?

Well, by the end of the course I decided to take an internship; of course I really wanted to do it at Diesel, but out of the school internships advertisements I found a position at DC Shoes. I knew this brand because I have a skater brother and even though I didn’t have anything in common with this world or this brand (it was the kind of clothes I would never wear), I went to the interview and gave my best, told my future chief that I really would like to work there and that I was willing to do anything, since I could learn a bit of everything and everyone there.

Four days after I was hired as a showroom assistant and was responsible for some daily tasks like organizing the shoes and clothes samples, assisting the supervisors and representatives, sending marketing material to the clients… From the very beginning I already learnt that brands have regional showrooms with commercial directors, supervisors and representatives… I hadn’t heard of this jobs titles before and a new door was opening for me.

It was incredible: six months working at DC with some amazing guys that taught me everything they could. My Spanish improved a lot; I learnt all about new market, a new consumer and many other things that were very far from the classroom. At the end of it, graduation came, and I decided to come back to Brazil, with no contacts and alone in a huge city of 20 million people, Sao Paulo. Since my family lives in the country, all I had to start was my degree, the years spent in Europe and the DC Shoes internship.

Lacking a better option I registered my resumé at a job search website and forgot it there until one day, six months later. I got a call from the human resources of Lacoste offering me a temporary position as a showroom Sales Assistant. I must say that I accepted although I had never sold a thing in my life; I lied at the interview and was a great watcher within the first days so I could get a notion of how to start.

We were three temporary assistants, and the other two had already a lot of experience working at other showrooms and shops. However, at the end of the three months trial-period I was chosen to be hired due to my hard work and most effective results! I wasn’t better than them, I just worked harder and gave my best, always doing more than I was asked and trying to find new answers to the problems we faced.

My new position now was as a Junior Analyst, so I continued assisting everyone above me, but started to stand out because I had high levels of English and Spanish, and showed myself as responsible and committed, as everyone else there (and I was at least 10 years younger than most of them).

At this point the languages I spoke were much more useful than university and internship; butone day, the person responsible for the footwear department left and inside Lacoste Brazil’s office I was the one with most knowledge about shoes, due to my experience at DC Shoes.

With a manager leading me, I assumed the footwear department (still as an analyst); in one year I became Commercial Supervisor and the person responsible for creating Lacoste Sport department and after other six months I was Commercial Supervisor of Sports and Product Coordinator of footwear.

It was really funny how things get on track by themselves if you just do your best; before all this, I had no interest in footwear at all, I accepted that internship because it was the first one that came to me and suddenly I was the cherry on the cake.

So this is my story and how I started my professional career; university is really important but it won’t stand up for you if you don´t show interest, commitment and some sweat. 😉

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