So you are interested in joining the fast, crazy and amazing world of fashion tech, but how do you break in? It seems like a cool industry, but with all of the new technologies coming out it can be tough to keep up. I found that to be true when I first tried to enter the industry. Here are 5 tips I have learned from my time in this amazing space that can help you find the job that you love in fashion tech.
1. Do the research.
Fashion tech is a broad industry with many different branches. For example: there is mobile tech, wearables, 33D printing, predictive analytics, big data, social media, logistics and much more. Find out which branches of fashion tech you are most interested in and research them thoroughly. Know the major players in the space, understand how the technologies have been adopted in the market thus far and think about what future adoption may look like. Some good resources for more information are the Fashion Is Your Business podcast, Third Wave Fashion, FashInvest and the Fashion Technology Accelerator.
2. Discover your value add.
In order to land your dream job, you must understand what your value add to the company will be. Are you creative and great in Photoshop? Then maybe you should try your hand at building out a wireframe of a site. Are you great with numbers? Think about ways that you could use data analytics to help the company learn about their consumers. Since most fashion tech companies are moving fast, they will want to see what value you will add to the company from day one, so make it easy for them to see that.
3. Become focused.
Once you have done your research and discovered your value add focus in on a handful of companies that you see as being a good fit. Do even more research on these companies through google and other sites such as CrunchBase. Find out who their CEO is what his or her background is. Find out who heads up the department that aligns with your value add and find out what their background is. If possible, try to find their emails.
4. Be bold.
It can sometimes seem brash to cold email, but I would argue that when it is done right, it can be a winning strategy. Three key attributes when it comes to cold emails that need to be executed on in order for it to work:
1. The email must be written specifically to the person you are reaching out to. None of this copy and cut business — people can see right through that.
2. You must show that you have done your research on the company and their role there (and maybe that you really looked up to everything they have accomplished).
3. State clearly what your value add to the company would be and why they should take the time to even email you back.
These emails should be no longer than 4-to-5 sentences and should be pithy and sharp. Be bold and email the CEO first. If you do not hear back from them then go to the head of your department. Hey, go big or go home, right?
5. Continue to expand your network.
Events can be a great way to start to build your network in the fashion tech industry. These relationships will be incredibly helpful when looking for a job you love. It will be difficult at first when you arrive and do not know anyone, but the scene is not too big yet so as you keep going to the events, you will start to see familiar faces. If you’re in NYC, I would suggest signing up for Open Source Fashion’s weekly events newsletter.
Overall, my advice is to work hard and be yourself. If you end up doing something you love, then working hard is easy.
Image credit: CC by WorldSkills UK