You’re fascinated by the idea of a career in fashion marketing, but you’re not sure how to become an entrepreneur in the fashion industry.
Every time you think about it, you feel a little overwhelmed. You wonder if you should get a position in a clothing retail store and work your way up to a position in marketing or if you should think bigger and aspire for a corporate career with a major fashion brand.
If you do feel overwhelmed, you’re not alone. Many people who love the idea of both fashion and marketing can’t figure out how to break into the industry. Fortunately, there are some simple answers, which we’ll explore here.
Step #1: Earn a degree to become a fashion marketer
Although you can work your way up in the fashion industry from the bottom up by working for a clothing retailer, getting a degree will save you many years of effort.
You’ll be amazed at how earning a fashion marketing masters will open a whole new world of opportunity for you, making it much easier to find a good position in a great company. You’ll be in high demand because an employer will not have to spend years grooming you to learn the business.
Since you’ll have a degree, you’ll be a much more eligible candidate than others without one.
Employers will recognize that you already understand the basics of the business. You’ll know many merchandising techniques and understand how to work with designers.
Businesses in the fashion industry are always on the lookout for someone who knows about both fashion and marketing and has the potential to create real-world results.
Step #2: Network to launch your career
Start networking within the industry as early as possible, even while you’re still in school. One way to do this is to land an internship. Depending on the internship, you may be able to either get a stipend or earn college credits.
Use the internship to soak up knowledge and gain experience. You’ll understand the business better than if you only studied fashion marketing theory in school.
Additionally, go to fashion industry networking mixers and related social events. Make business cards and try to get business cards in return.
Step #3: Work your way up if necessary
After you complete your degree and have worked as an intern, you’ll be in an excellent position to apply for a full-time position with a retailer or someone in the fashion business.
One concern you might have is that you won’t be able to secure an executive position right away because of your limited experience.
If, for some reason, you can’t get a position in marketing, then be open to accepting an entry-level position. Ideally, you should apply for a position in a PR department or marketing department, but if nothing is available, then it’s fine to start as a general store associate or assistant manager just to get your foot in the door. Once you have a retail job in the fashion industry, you can then advance in your career by enrolling in training programs and building up a solid work history.
So, don’t be discouraged if you can’t secure an executive position when you’re fresh out of school; be willing to focus on earning experience. It will only be temporary because you’ll have too much potential to be constrained by a limited job description.
Step #4: Work as a fashion marketing consultant
At a certain point in your career, you’ll have more than enough know-how, experience, and industry contacts to work as a consultant.
The real difference between working as a consultant rather than in a marketing department is that you’ll acquire diverse experience by working with a wide range of companies in the fashion industry.
Although it’s possible to get this breadth of experience by working for a marketing agency, you’ll find that working directly with clients is highly rewarding. You’ll not only get an insider perspective on marketing, business, and fashion trends, but you’ll also be handsomely compensated for your advice.
We’ve looked at how earning an advanced degree is a good place to begin. After your education and internship, build a network. In the beginning, be open to accepting an entry-level position to gain experience. Remember, this will only be temporary as you’ll have too much aptitude to stay stuck there. Finally, after you’ve developed a reputation as an expert in the industry, consider renting out an office and starting your own fashion marketing consultancy business.