My bio summarizes my background which, is no different than a movie trailer. It serves as a brief overview with a series of highlights of my journey of breaking into the fashion world. What I have not shared with you thus far are the challenges I encountered on my way to making my dream a reality.
Several months prior to being laid off from my Marketing/Advertising position, I decided to take a few continuing education courses at Parsons. I needed to be sure that I wasn't deluding myself into pursuing something that I THOUGHT that I had wanted. My decision to take these classes awakened a happiness in me that I hadn't experienced with anything else! The one thing I was unsure of was how to make it happen. Once my department at work downsized, going back to look for another job I couldn't stand was not an option. Months passed as I tried to find my way. I had been unemployed for over a year when I began taking odd jobs just to survive which included babysitting and part- time clerical work. However, it did not deter my ambition but fueled it.
I had zero experience, no direct connections or resources but I knew there was a way! In spite of these challenges, I decided to submit my "unqualified" resume for an unpaid fashion internship at a small company to gain experience. I figured that if this is truly my destiny everything would work out for me. The following week, I was called in for an interview. I put on my black vintage fit & flare dress, styled my hair in a top knot and hopped on the subway to Broadway near Times Square. Upon my arrival, I was greeted by a very intimidating Turkish woman along with her friendly and upbeat counterpart. I was directed to a bright and airy conference room with a view of the Empire State Building. Anxiety began to take over as I found myself tripping over my words. I kept thinking to myself, I bombed it. I spent the next few days feeling sorry for myself. I had not heard ANYTHING and had begun to give up hope. Two weeks later, I received an email from the friendly and upbeat "counterpart" who stated that they were happy to have me come aboard. I would be reporting to the office five days a week and compensated for daily lunch and stipend.
I knew that I was taking a huge risk personally and financially. I had obligations which, included a monthly car note among other things. I was not sure how I would manage my expenses over the next few months, but I was able to save $2500 from my recent stint as a baby sitter. I was confident that it would pay off, no risk, no reward right?! It was with hope and a prayer that this money would see me through.
IT IS ALWAYS DARKEST BEFORE THE DAWN...
I applied for several part-time jobs while working at my internship but nothing panned out. Two months into my opportunity, I ran out of cash. I began to panic a bit about where the cash would come from. After exhausting all of my options, my jewelry came to mind. The jewelry that I am speaking of has tremendous sentimental value. In my culture, it is tradition for the parents or grandparents to purchase gold and custom make jewelry for the infants of the family, which consists of a chain, ring and ID bracelet. The girls receive a pair of gold earrings, in addition to the former items. As the child ages, the gold jewelry “grows” with them. Usually, once it becomes to small to fit, it is melted, more gold is added and it is redesigned. Therefore, this gold jewelry that I considered pawning, mirrored me in age. They were given to me at three months old. Suddenly, I found myself in a dilemma, should I keep the jewelry and quit the internship or should I pawn the jewelry to survive for the next few weeks with the chance to buy them back later. It broke my heart to do it, but I knew it was the only option.
This was a sacrifice that I knew I had to make!
I SEE A LIGHT....
Three weeks later, I received a call for one of the part-time jobs that I had applied for six weeks prior. It was a receptionist position at a country club. I was thrilled about the opportunity because it would allow me to focus on my internship. In the meantime, I decided to update my resumé with the new found experience from my internship and applied to an employment agency. The recruiter stated working for free was commendable and it showed my dedication. She helped me to tweak my resumé a bit and told me that if anything came up, she would give me a call. One day before work at the country club, I decided to e-mail the recruiter. I wrote to inquire about how to structure my resume for a specific fashion position. The recruiter responded to my email promptly and proceeded to state in a “by the way” manner, " I have a position available at Brooks Brothers as a Fashion Assistant, would you like your resume to be submitted?" I stopped myself short of saying “is that a real question?!” and said “I would be delighted to be considered for this position." After the email exchange, I headed off to begin my shift. The moment I arrived in the parking lot at the country club, my phone rang. The recruiter called to tell me that Brooks Brothers was impressed with my resume and wanted me to start the following morning at 9am. This opportunity would be beginning of many in my newly launch fashion career.
MAKING A DIFFERENCE
Since then, I have met people with similar challenges who had no clue on how to make their dreams possible. I believe that my journey in part, was to help those in need to bypass some of the challenges and detours that I have taken. No one becomes successful on their own. Therefore, I believe that I am responsible for helping those who are now where I once was. I am not better than anyone, but I am living proof that in spite of the odds stacked against you, all things are possible!
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