This is probably the most excited I've been about a new blog feature in the history of Design Darling, which is seriously saying something! Today I'm kicking off a series of interviews with women whose careers I admire and whose work ethic inspires me. I know they'll leave you inspired as well!
Our first guest is Jennifer Taylor, a dear friend of mine and the resident social media whiz at Jack Rogers. I love seeing a 23-year-old following her passion and being damn good at what she does. Without further ado, meet Jennifer!
Position: Social media and public relations associate, Jack Rogers
Location: Jack Rogers corporate headquarters, New York, NY
What did you study in school? Have you always been interested in social media?
I studied journalism and mass communication at Samford University in Alabama. I didn't take a social media course until my senior year. Obviously people our age have always been early adapters on social media but I never considered it a career option until taking that course! It was around that time that brands and publishers alike really began embracing social media as a marketing tool. My mom and I remember a conversation we had as I was beginning my job search. I told her that even though I wasn’t sure what a job in social media would look like, I thought it would be so cool to manage the digital presence for a brand that I personally love. It just goes to show that you never know what will happen with those “dream job” ideas that come into your mind when you’re 21 years old!
How did you wind up working at Jack Rogers?
Out of college, I interned for instyle.com and became a freelance editorial assistant there. I was the instyle.com editor's assistant and worked with the senior partnerships and promotions editor, who oversees their social media and content marketing strategy — I learned so much! Then I worked briefly at a start-up before the position at Jack Rogers opened up. I've worn Jacks since high school and followed their social media since the beginning. I knew an opportunity like this wouldn't come around again so I applied, did a phone interview, and landed an in-person interview. The rest is history!
My readers will love that you landed a job with your dream company at age 23. What’s it like to work at Jack Rogers?
I've absolutely loved my time here! I genuinely love coming to work every day. The office is so bright and happy — very true to the brand except that we're in New York, not Palm Beach! Jack Rogers is also a much smaller company than I think people realize, but that's been a huge plus for me. I report to our e-commerce manager and work closely with our graphic designer. But I've gotten my feet wet in a lot of different areas and gained experience in ways I wouldn't have at a larger corporation so early in my career. One of the coolest things I've done is work with our CEO and e-commerce manager to produce our spring 2014 photoshoot. We conceptualized and styled looks on models and still life shots that will be used across the company this season. It was definitely hectic but I loved every minute of it. Oh and did I mention the photoshoot took place in Miami in December? I don't think a business trip gets any better than that!
What does a typical work day look like for you?
I'm definitely not a morning person — I try to sleep as late as I can. Before I get out of bed, I read The Skimm (if you don't subscribe, do so now!) and scan Twitter to see what's going on in the world. Then it's a quick shower, coffee in my apartment, and taking the 6 train to the office. I come in, have a second cup of coffee, schedule social media content for the day, and respond to emails. Every day is different. I work heavily with the e-commerce team and our three stores in New York, Atlanta, and East Hampton to promote and market their initiatives in the social space. I also do a lot of back-and-forth with bloggers and editors to see how we can collaborate with them! There's a lot that goes into those collaborations, so it's always very rewarding to see a project through to completion.
How do you stay organized and productive? Any apps you can’t live without?
I’m a to do list person. I have a black Moleskine that is my absolute go-to for staying organized, jotting down ideas, and taking notes during meetings. I also live and breathe by my iCal for appointments and reminders both in and out of the office.
Tell me a few tasks on your current to do list.
We're really focused on an upcoming Facebook promotion — I wish I could say more about it but let's just say it's an "all hands on deck" situation for Jack Rogers and another brand as well. I've dedicated most of my time lately to organizing the collateral and strategy for this campaign so I'm excited to share it soon! We've also launched a technology on our website that lets us pull in customers' Instagrams tagged with our hashtag, #lovemyjacks. Now that it's warming up in certain parts of the country, we're seeing a lot more photos as our customers pull their Jacks out of the closet for spring. It's my job to edit the submissions we receive and decide which ones will live on our site or repurpose across our own social media accounts. We noticed through social media that many of our customers are wearing Jack Rogers at their weddings, whether it's a pair of sandals with the bride's new monogram to dance in at the reception or bridesmaids' gifts or a little pair for the flower girl. So we just launched an entire weddings and parties section on the website! Part of this section includes the help of a dedicated weddings and parties stylist, who happens to be me! Brides who are planning to include Jack Rogers in their wedding can email me with questions or styling advice for their big day and submit their wedding to be featured on our social channels. It's been incredibly fun so far!
What’s your favorite part of your job?
I get to interact with so many people over the course of one work day between my coworkers at our headquarters, the managers at our retail stores, and bloggers and customers through social media. I've met so many people just through Instagram and Twitter! It's pretty cool to communicate with bloggers and customers on behalf of the brand.
Do you have a favorite social media platform?
Instagram — our customers are always uploading the most beautiful pictures under #lovemyjacks. And I love Pinterest for a quick break during the work day — it's a breath of fresh air that's still totally part of my job!
How would you describe your personal style during the work day?
I'd say the office dress code is relaxed classic — not extremely corporate like an investment bank or a law firm, but definitely well put together. It's really an accurate reflection of the Jack Rogers brand. My closet is full of bright colors and bold patterns from Anthropologie, J.Crew, and Milly. I tend to gravitate toward skirts and dresses, but recently my standard work look has been a printed top with a jacket, J.Crew Minnie pants, and Jack Rogers booties or wedges depending on the season.
What’s one thing you wish you had known when you were younger?
I still need to work on this but I wish I hadn't spend so much time in college comparing myself to friends in different majors or on different career paths. Everyone's experience is different — if you're pursuing a career in digital media, you aren't going to have the same job search as your friends in education or finance or nursing. Don't compare yourself to anyone else — that's as true now as it was in college! With hard work and persistence, you'll find the right opportunity for you.
And the best advice you’ve received along the way?
The principal of my high school gave this simple advice: Be nice and work hard. It's basic but so true and something I always try to keep in mind. Treating other people with respect and working hard at every task you're given is a must in the real world. Whether it's developing a new social campaign or helping someone in sales rearrange the showroom, I try to tackle every project with the right attitude. My parents always remind me of the importance of humility and expressing gratitude for the opportunities you've been granted. I'm very thankful for their example! A very practical tip: always write a thank you note after an interview. In this day and age, a thank you email will usually suffice, but I always appreciate and remember a handwritten note.
(Editor's note: Jennifer is legitimately the kindest person I've ever met. Southern hospitality is alive and well!)
When will you know you’ve “made it?”
I'm so fortunate to be where I am at 23. With social media still a relatively new career path, it's difficult to say when I'll know that I've made it. The space is constantly changing and evolving. I do know that I never want to be comfortable in a position but rather always learning and striving to improve. I do hope to one day manage a digital, content, or social media marketing team for a brand I love. Right now I'm just excited to be where I am and doing what I love!
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