The Power of Outreach

I'm six years into my career and so far I've been pretty lucky about the opportunities that I've had and the places that I've worked.

I'm no Eva Chen (who, by the way, is the nicest and hardest working woman in fashion publishing), but I've worked at Teen Vogue, Refinery29, L.K.Bennett, and DesignGood, interned at Vogue, Women's Wear Daily, Time Out New York, Interview, NYLON, and written for Bustle, Glamour, and a snazzy independent mag in London which sent me to places like Monte Carlo and Budapest.

Yeah, it's been a decent run so far. And I've been lucky to have real help from a lot of great folks – my family, friends, professors at the Savannah College of Art and Design, people I've worked with. You name it, they've helped. So I've definitely been lucky.

But I didn't get to where I am in my career through luck. Sure, it was hard work, determination, etc. etc., but the reason I've gotten inside the offices and onto the pages of every single one of these places is because of one thing:

I asked to be there.

Persistence and dedication are the two key traits that I would point to for any success that I've had. When there's something I want in my career: a job or maybe a company or person I'd like to add to my network, I go after it. And you know what? It almost always works.

I'm not sure what it is, but I don't seem to have much of an e-mail filter. I can be somewhat shyer when it comes to meeting new people in person – I actually dread phone calls with people I don't know because it makes me so uncomfortable – but I am the queen of e-mail outreach.

I realize that sounds kind of stupid. Everyone can e-mail, right? And it's not like my e-mails are so well written or crafted better than yours. But it's the persistence factor – anytime I've seen a company I think I'd like to work with or just know in some capacity, I contact them. And they usually write back.

Simple e-mailing alone has led me to some incredible partnerships. It's actually how I got my main gig right now, with an amazing, inspiring Austin-based organization who designs for and highlights creative businesses who are doing social good. I found the company on Twitter, e-mailed the owner, and now we work together. That's it.

Maybe you're uncomfortable doing that. I understand, but you shouldn't be. You know those general e-mails you see at the bottom of every business's site?

hello@brandyouwanttoworkat.com

info@someoneyouwishyouknew.com

You would be shocked at how few people actually use those e-mail addresses. Of course that's not the case for every brand or company, and definitely not for large corporations, but a lot of the time those e-mails are used for general questions or complaints, not for fan e-mail or inquiries about potential partnerships.

Oh, and freelancers: is there a magazine or web site you want to write for, but you're not sure where to start? Try cold outreach. Didn't hear back? Follow-up. Then follow-up again. Then maybe again. Think about it: you're telling someone how much you want to work for their brand. What's the worst thing that will happen?

Again, I'm not by any means at the top of my career or claim to know more than I do. But what I do know is that outreach and persistence pays off.

So assignment number one, for all of you who hate your jobs or want to increase your network or whatever it might be: contact me. Comment below, reach out through social media, or e-mail me. 

You would be amazed at what can come to those who ask.


Good Reads: The Best Links This Week

Happy Friday and, of course, Valentine's Day!

Tonight we're off to the Churchill War Rooms for some champagne and potentially-awkward swing dancing, then tomorrow it's dinner at Foxlow where I plan on drinking a Tom Ford and eating some Goat's Butter Crisps.

In the meantime, here's the best links of the week in case you missed it:

Thanks to illustrator Aaron Favaloro and SUITCASE Magazine, I'm a cartoon!

Shirley Temple, what a star.

This girl built a treehouse in her Brooklyn loft. Insane home inspiration. (Co. Exist)

Actually dying over this.

What it's like to create content for the web. Yeeepppp. (The Oatmeal)

I can't put down this book.

 

Annd a few more things from me this week:

17 Cliche-Free Valentine's Day Dresses

13 Unexpected Valentine's Dates for Londoners

City Guide: Austin, Texas

Striped Pieces for Spring


Good Reads: The Best Links This Week

Friday Friday Friday!

This weekend I'm starting my Christmas shopping, planning a recipe to "cook" for our London Thanksgiving dinner next weekend, and going to see the new Isabella Blow exhibit at Somerset House. In the meantime, here are my favorite links from around the web this week. 

Hope you guys get up to something fun this weekend! And, happy early Turkey!

This Swedish dream home makes my heart beat a little faster. 

Well, crap. Loeffler Randall is offering 30% off all fall/winter pieces. In NYC? They're also holding a sample sale through today at 8 P.M. We'll get through it together.

30+ things every woman should know before she's 30. (Refinery29)

London blogger Eats Shoots and Peas is hosting a Thanksgiving dinner for misplaced-Americans in Clapton! RSVP here

6 inspirational quotes from Oprah. Ugh, she's the BEST.

Super excited about Kinfolk's upcoming Aged issue. As someone who's just joined the Late 20's Club, I'm starting to feel confident enough to say that things really do get better with age. (Confidence is a result of the aging thing, btwubs.)

Have you seen this incredible interactive video? (It's Nice That)

The 15 best chic leather handbags, including Freedom of Animals! (Fashionista)

It's been 50 years since JFK's death. Writer Nicole Mary Kelby takes an in-depth look at the now-famous Chanel suit worn on that fateful day by Jackie Kennedy. (Never Underdressed)

I recently re-connected with a good friend from high school via the blogosphere. How cool is that? She's just moved to Cape Cod and spends her days painting, teaching yoga, and blogging. She recently asked me about my adventures which you can read on her blog, Starr Struck

And don't miss: my most recent story on Refinery29 and a piece I did for Expats Blog. (plug plug plug!)


How To Wear A Ballerina Skirt

Mamma loves a good ballerina skirt.

In fact, a quick stop at the charity shop yesterday yielded a wool, mid-calf length ballerina skirt that only cost me £12. Not bad, Tuesday afternoon.

 

For more in the world of ballet + fashion, check out my story on Refinery29 London and learn how to rock a ballerina skirt. Yes, it can be done. 

Good Reads

My dear friend Isabelle is visiting this weekend!

Isabelle and I first met when we sat across from each other at Refinery29. We listened to the same radio station and used to lip-sing Macklemore to each other. We bonded over a shared hatred of eating bananas in public. 

We'll be galavanting around town before she heads off for more European adventures. Have a great weekend! 

 

Stunning photos of a mezcal distillery in Oaxaca, Mexico. I kind of want to live there.  (this is paper

This recipe for cookies and cream fudge might be the death of me. (Cupcakes and Cashmere)

The city of New York is launching a new campaign to help improve girls' self-esteem. Brilliant. (NY Times)  

I'd like to be friends or studio-mates with Brooklyn-based textile designer Rebecca Atwood.  (rue)

This is relatable. (Buzzfeed)

A gorgeous New Zealand home. (Freunde von Freunden)

 

Good Reads

My pal Lisa is heading to the Big Smoke tomorrow before we jaunt off to France next weekend. Borough Market, my favorite place in London, is most definitely on the cards. Have a great weekend and don't miss these things:

 

 

Life Doesn't Frighten Me. A poem by Maya Angelou with beautiful illustrations by Jean-Michel Basquiat. 

Reverberation Radio, found via Tomboy Style, is my new obsession.  

  Here's a great article about Albequerque, New Mexico, and how it's been affected by Breaking Bad. And more Breaking Bad

I've been playing around this week with Styloko - a new shopping site which allows you to curate your own boutiques from a multitude of brands. Styloko will also contact you when your items of choice go on sale, which is a huge bonus for a "thrifty" gal like me. Check out my boutique here!

 

I've just started contributing to R29 London, which I'm very excited about. Check out my piece on the challenges of wearing a sleeveless blazer and my guide to picnic fashion

 

 

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Couple Crush: Facebook's Sharon Hwang and Mike Matas

And when I say Couple Crush, I mean more like entire life-crush. On these people:

Couple Crush: Facebook's Sharon Hwang and Mike Matas


Let's begin.

Set scene: 6AM, south London. Robin crouches by a radiator (Victorian flats are cold, yo) in her Victoria's Secret pink fleece bathrobe. She flicks through a Refinery29 San Francisco newsletter as she waits, waits, waits for her coffee to kick-in.

I'm getting my dose of the R29 staples (DIY projects, shopping round-ups, natural beauty tips) that my former colleagues are so great at pulling together, when out of nowhere I'm hit with this: A Tech Power Couple Shows Off Their Artsy, Minimalist Abode. So far I can deal. A house tour of young Silicon Valley-types. All is good, and normal, and right with the world.

Then I start the house tour and everything changes.

Couple Crush: Facebook's Sharon Hwang and Mike Matas


To start with, this couple meet while working at Apple—he began working there as a teen, developing user experience on the iPad and iPhone, and she was an Art Director. (Srsly, do you want to know what I was doing as a teen?) Anyways, now they've both moved  on to Facebook.

So that's enough to start you on a path of self doubt: what are you doing with your career? Why aren't you that successful? Why are you still in your pink Victoria's Secret bathrobe when you should be getting ready. Right? Wrong, because we haven't even begun.

Here are a few other things this Tech Power Couple have done:

-Mike designed the very convenient Nest Learning Thermostat (which I would totally want if I didn't have 198 other things that needed my money more)

Couple Crush: Facebook's Sharon Hwang and Mike Matas

 -Mike also created a digital publishing company, that he then sold to Facebook, but not before collaborating with Al Gore on a project about climate change

-Sharon has lived in six countries and knows how to paint without dripping water on her Chance shirt (Sharon and I are super similar: someday I hope to own a shirt from Chance, and she's painting in hers)

Couple Crush: Facebook's Sharon Hwang and Mike Matas


-They're designing a line of line of shoes for Spanish company Preventi

-Sharon has a really cool cooking blog called My Cooking Diary, and an off-shoot Tumblr called Bites Around the Block. Both have hand-drawn illustrations.

Couple Crush: Facebook's Sharon Hwang and Mike Matas


-Mike is working on streaming together his photography projects over the years. He'll then post this on his photography blog. (I have a hard time remembering to back-up my iPhone every few months.)

Another thing I forgot to mention? They're both super cute, have a nice house that looks really clean, and they also appear rested.

Couple Crush: Facebook's Sharon Hwang and Mike Matas


New life goal? Be more like these people.

All imagery from Refinery29