Amber Jenner, 21, Kent/London
Customer Service Assistant at Sophia Webster London
BA (Hons) Fashion Promotion at Ravensbourne University. Graduated 2017
“My way of ‘standing out’ was by printing tiny images of
my fashion portfolio onto Boomf marshmallows..sounds crazy but it worked!”
Did you intern whilst at University?
I did indeed. I have done internships in PR for Dune and blogged for Fashion Scout during London Fashion Week. In the second year of my Fashion Promotion degree, we had to take part in a 3-4 month internship and I secured a role at Sophia Webster in the Social Media team. When looking for internships I found that companies prefer people who can offer an extended amount of time.
What were the key things you learnt through these internships?
It sounds very silly but just how a fashion brand works and how the fashion industry functions. I always wanted to work in fashion and imagined that a designer would design a collection and simply sell it in their own store. It was so interesting to find out more about production, wholesale and the e-commerce side of things. I learnt how important social media is for a brand in today’s world. But also how this links to sales being generated through the website.
Have you always known what you wanted to do after Uni?
During secondary school I was very much into design. However, ever since I started studying Fashion Promotion I realised that design is great but actually marketing, e-commerce, the communication side of the fashion business is actually super exciting too! I used to love the briefs at uni where you would have to create a campaign for existing brands, incorporating their message and brand values.
What did you definitely NOT want to do in the industry?
I think it is very easy to quit in the fashion industry and that is something that has never been an option in my head. It can be very difficult working your way up to the job role you want to do and internships can be incredibly tiring and difficult – especially if you are working for free. But it shows a lot to an employer if you can work hard without being paid and still demonstrate a passion for your job.
How did you land your job at Sophia Webster?
I decided to write a list of about 20 brands (anything from publications to fashion houses) that I could see myself working for. Sophia Webster was number 1 on my list. At uni, we were taught to stand out from the crowd, as you will potentially be one of the hundreds of people applying for the same position.
My way of ‘standing out’ was by printing tiny images of my fashion portfolio onto Boomf marshmallows..sounds crazy but it worked! This featured illustrations of my own, uni campaigns I had worked on and even mannequins I had styled at my weekend job in Zara. I sent these labelled to the head of E-commerce at Sophia Webster and was given an interview a week later.
What is a typical day like at work and what are your responsibilities?
My title is ‘Customer Service Assistant’ so responsibilities include assisting customers via live chat on the website, helping customers via Instagram, helping at shows, working on new product launches, making sure the warehouse is running smoothly, passing on customer feedback onto our merchandising/design teams, sometimes I assist with graphic design on our web mailers and website homepage imagery and much more!
I think customer service is a great starting point for anyone who wants to work in fashion as it allows you to know pretty much everything about a brand and how the industry works.
What has been the biggest learning since starting your new role?
I am now part of the e-commerce team and the biggest thing I have learnt is that technology plays a massive part in how we shop today. An example of this would be how Sophia Webster uses snapchat in a creative, fun and quirky way and how this drives our audience to the website.
I have also learnt to stay open to new opportunities. My initial internship was in social media which was so much fun but I was asked to come back to join the e-commerce team – something I didn’t have much experience in and was a bit scared about. Now I’m very happy to be part of this team and have enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would! Now I want to take my career further in this specific field.
What advice would you give graduates looking for jobs or University students?
I would say that experience is key! It is so good to be able to leave university with your degree but if you have no experience in the industry then what really makes you stand out from everyone that has the same degree as you? I first got into accessories by becoming the shoe and bag merchandiser at my local Zara store, this then allowed me to develop on further to internships in the same field, which resulted in a full-time job straight after uni.
Internships are really a test to show employers if someone is willing to work hard and fit into a team. Although they can be tough it will always work out in the end. Also, look at brands that you feel you could represent and understand the vision.