Tag Archives: CollegeFashionista

Oct08

Success Story: Landing The Job

I’m sure all of you have goals of getting hired after completing an internship. For many students in such a competitive industry, it’s hard to do. But this passionate and hardworking graduate managed to go from a Style Guru intern to Social Media Director at CollegeFashionista. Meet Sammy Luterbach and find out how she did it.

 

Sammy1Tell us a bit about yourself.

Growing up, I always knew I wanted to move to New York City and work in fashion. To skip over a lot of blood, sweat and tears and make a long story short, I did just that. Along the way, I discovered my love for cats, leopard print, and legal pads.

How did you first land your internship with CollegeFashionista?

Before I started school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I made a day trip to the city with friends to try to find a job. A boutique I wanted to work at wasn’t hiring, but one of the employees there wrote for CollegeFashionista. She asked to take my friend’s photo for the site, and I was immediately intrigued. I asked her about CollegeFashionista and checked it out the second I was near a computer (pre-iPhone; yikes!).

After finding out this was an online internship I could be a part of, I emailed Amy Levin, founder of CollegeFashionista, directly asking how I could get involved. We set up a phone interview, and the rest is history. I became a Style Guru one month after the site was launched four years ago.

What attracted you to this company?

I love fashion, and I love writing, so the fact that CollegeFashionista combined both initially attracted me to the company. The longer I worked and the more CollegeFashionista expanded though, I loved that I didn’t have to be in New York City to feel connected to the industry. By interning for CollegeFashionista, I could be in college in the middle of Wisconsin, work from my apartment and be a part of a fashion movement with other people like me.

What skills did you learn during your internship?

I always like writing, but CollegeFashionista helped me explore more of a journalistic approach. Although I’m not a strong photographer, I definitely learned more about photography and became better throughout the years. Most importantly for me, I learned all about social media. I specifically remember the conversation years ago where Amy convinced me to sign up for Twitter! On top of that, I improved my leadership skills, developed more of a business mind and even did some event planning. Through everything I did with CollegeFashionista, I gained confidence and a voice.

How long did you intern with CollegeFashionista?

Almost four years! I began in September of 2009 as a Style Guru and worked continuously until I moved to New York and started working for the company this past July.

Sammy3

What was the most valuable thing you took from your internship experience?

Be genuine. There are so many people who will be catty, competitive and show-offy to fight to the top, but that will only get them so far. Hard work and passion will get you to where you need to be. Also, never expect that you think you know it all. Before CollegeFashionista, I thought I wanted to be a designer! This internship helped me learn otherwise.

How did you turn your internship into a job?

Turning my internship into a job at CollegeFashionista wasn’t something I planned for, although I definitely dreamed about it! I was the first employee to be hired by the Levin family, so I didn’t have anyone to emulate. I just fully dedicated myself to CollegeFashionista and always asked for more work. I tried to go above and beyond what was asked of me. I became an important part of the team through my work and passion for the company.

What role do you have within the company now?

I am the Social Media Director and Editorial Assistant. I manage all of CollegeFashionista’s social media platforms, operate the newsletter, help with special features on the website and work with the Head Style Gurus to spread the word about CollegeFashionista on campuses all over. Plus, there are always extra projects that come up on a daily basis depending on what’s happening in the office and on the site!

Give us one word to describe your workplace environment.

Dynamic. Everyday is different in the office, but it’s always fast-paced and full of energy. We work extremely hard but also manage to find the time for candy breaks and fun music.

What advice do you have for other interns?

Be genuine, work really hard and always say yes – you’ll figure out how to get it all done.

Jul09

Career Path Interview: Founder/Creative Director Amy Levin

Interested in fashion? Want to start your own company? Get inspired by this young entrepreneur who took her career in her own hands and has worked hard to get to where she is today.

AmyLevin7Amy Levin is the Founder and Creative Director of CollegeFashionista.com. A Chicago native, she launched the website in 2009 after a semester abroad in London, where the growing importance of street style inspired her to create a community for fashion, photography and self expression amongst the college demographic. Originally serving only Indiana University’s campus, the site quickly spread to other colleges across the globe. Under Amy’s leadership, CollegeFashionista maintains an international presence with 500+ new articles posted a week and regular partners including Rebecca Minkoff, Shopbop and American Eagle Outfitters, to name a few.

A 2013 NYC Fashion Fellow, Levin has served as a seminar leader at Teen Vogue’s Fashion University and a guest lecturer at college campuses across the United States. Amy attended Indiana University and received a Bachelor of Arts in merchandising and business marketing. She is 26 years old and currently resides in New York City.

What specifically motivated you to go this direction in your career?

During my senior year of college, I felt completely disconnected from the fashion industry and wanted a way to feel connected, work on my writing skills and showcase inspirational fashion I was seeing around my campus. I realized there wasn’t a platform that focused specifically on college students and CollegeFashionista was born.

What type of activities, appointments and meetings do you have during a typical week?

My workdays are definitely a little hectic — throughout a typical day, I am in and out of the office going to meetings all over Manhattan. If I’m not on the go, I am usually on phone calls with brand partners, checking in with my employees to ensure the business is flowing properly.

Tell us about an unpleasant work experience that resulted in an invaluable career lesson.

When I first launched CollegeFashionista, it would inevitably crash and have hiccups. I remember thinking the entire company is lost. All our editorial features are gone. Clearly this wasn’t the case and I learned how to troubleshoot tech issues and to surround myself with programmers who were savvy and able to get any issues resolved as quickly as possible.Screen Shot 2012-09-08 at 4.30.37 PM

What piece of advice do you wish you followed earlier in your career?

I wish I knew how to manage my time effectively, prioritize, and not to take anything too seriously. I take my job very seriously but I also know that it is important to have fun while doing it and that at the end of the day everything will get done.

What tips can you offer a recent graduate that is preparing to interview for an entry-level position? 

It is very important to do your research of the company before going in for the interview. Know what the company is currently working on and know what you can do to make them stronger. Don’t let the interviewer tell you what you can do for them, you need to take initiative and let the company know that you have something to offer.

Who has inspired you as a mentor during your career and what was the most valuable lesson you learned from them?

I have had a series of incredible mentors who had allowed me to bounce ideas around and have really helped shaped my business. I think it’s important to find people who believe in you and have experience in an aspect of your business in which you may feel weak. I found five different mentors who all have various expertise and have been soundboards to me over the past three years.

If you had an opportunity to broadcast a special “thank you” to anyone via this interview, who would it be and what would you like us to say?

My family. I could not have started CollegeFashionista without them. Being an entrepreneur, there have been so many highs and lows and they have been the unconditional support group through every single aspect. They are truly amazing and I feel lucky for them everyday.

What books would you recommend for talent in your industry?

  • Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh
  • By Invitation Only by Alexis Maybank and Alexandra Wilkis Wilson
  • Pour Your Heart Into It by Howard Schultz and Dori jones
  • Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
  • Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg