Welcome to Luella says. I have been meaning to get this up and running forever now but just couldn’t find the time. Ok, in truth I just got married and was my own wedding planner. Needless to say I was a bit busy. Anyway, it is a personal perspective on life and fashion. In order for that to make sense to those of you who don’t know me, read the introduction below and become acquainted. Everyone is an expert on their own life, I have been fortunate, through my professional career, to become an expert on fashion as well.
My mother always told me, “life is a series of choices” and so I followed that mantra and still do. When I graduated from college in 2001, I was a bit lost. Up until that point there was an unspoken formula to follow. Go to school, go to college, graduate and get a job. What no one tells you though, is just how difficult it is to find a job you are happy with and qualified for at the same time. I had done well in college but the marketplace for new graduates in 2001 was terrible. I moved back home to Wisconsin from Arizona and needed guidance. What next? I was lucky to have a Mom who I considered a good barometer on life. She told me to make a wish list of my dream jobs and to think big. Life is about taking risks and I decided I was going to follow my heart. I went to task on my list, laughing a bit along the way figuring none of these organizations were even going to glance at my limited resume. Well I was wrong. Marie Claire magazine offered me a post-graduate internship to work underneath the Fashion Merchandising Editor in the sample closet. In actuality, I had to pay $600 for graduate credits to be able to work there for free. Somehow that didn’t seem right, but it was the push that got me to move to New York City and officially begin my foray into fashion.
I had never been to New York but it was on my “life list” and so like a scene out of Felicity, I flew there, took a taxi and when dropped off at the curb looked up and realized this is my life now, put your head down and make something of yourself. Everyone and I mean EVERYONE has to put their time in. I worked at Marie Claire for five months, even though originally I was supposed to work for three. I kept thinking I would weasel myself into the ranks here eventually. The issue was this job was for college credit which I didn’t need and didn’t pay a salary or offer benefits of any kind. (Sidebar…I did get to go the Christmas party at Tavern on the Green though which was an amazing experience.) Anyway, I was working 60 hours a week, LOVING my job and exposure to everything fashion but struggling to stay afloat monetarily in Manhattan. I was 22, young, passionate and desperate for a salaried job. Finally through a reference from the Accessories Editor at Marie Claire, I got a job at Rafe New York as the Assistant to the Vice President and Sales and Marketing Director. I loved both of these jobs so much. I was exposed to everything imaginable because in essence that is New York living. After a year I decided I was not a New Yorker. I moved to Los Angeles, another destination on my “life list”. I was Coast surfing and landed in Beverly Hills on Almont Drive with my childhood best friend, Kelly.
LA was much more my scene. I didn’t realize how much I longed for space, grass, sunshine and the ability to drive my own car. I LOVE New York, I think it is one of the best cities in the world but not to live in, at least not for me. I got a job working in a multi-line showroom downtown in the fashion district and was on my way to building my career again. After working for almost 3 years for 8 different designers, I got the opportunity to open a US Showroom for a Danish women’s designer collection, Casch Copenhagen. It really was my dream job. I flew to Denmark and gave my business plan to the “suits” so to speak and they said yes! What an experience. I have since spent the last 5.5 years moving from Account Executive, to National Sales & Brand Manager to Director of Sales. I have weathered many highs and lows with this company. I loved loved loved my job. I put everything into it. I took an almost scientific approach to the business. The fashion industry has too many showrooms, too many brands, too many designers etc. I knew the importance of being at the helm of a European indie brand and relished all the opportunities that came along with it.
Things have recently changed in my life. My scope has shifted. Maybe it is getting married, maybe it is the internal company struggle we went through these last 1.5 years or maybe it is the realization I need to move on to a new challenge. I am not sure but I will always believe working for Casch Copenhagen, Groa, Gro a Live and By Gro Abrahamsson changed my life. I will always be grateful. Thank you to those who remained constant, you gave me an experience unlike anything I thought I would have growing up in a small town in Wisconsin. So looking forward I move on to the next chapter.