I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. Being a Pisces, I have a tendency to dream big and get lost in fantasy. Over the years, my career goals have oscillated between actress, lawyer, psychologist, journalist, professional shopper, curator, party planner, and my personal favourite, matchmaker. Little did I know that I would end up working in a field that combined all the things I loved! Read on to learn about how I ended up working in social media!
The essence of social media is storytelling. It’s about finding out the story behind the person, place or thing. We are all curious creatures by nature; we love hearing stories from our friends when we catch up, we spend hours absorbed in TV and movies, and, we lose ourselves in stories from our favourite books. Why? Because stories gives us meaning and allow us to make sense of our own experiences. That being said, social media helps brands build a personality – through this “profile”, fans can identify what the brand stands for and what makes them tick, and this allows them to make sense of their own lives.
Phew – that was philosophical…back to me…
I’m a storyteller by nature. My flair for the dramatic and my incredibly extroverted personality have always served me well in this regard. I love to talk! Talk about my experiences, my feelings, my opinions…I could talk to a wall and have a perfectly lovely conversation. I also love to write. I’ve always put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) in one way or another. I’ve kept diaries, written short stories, blogged, wrote a thesis, written research papers, and short articles. And I’m a real “people” person. I love meeting new people, making new friends and I love nothing more than connecting people together. All of these skills have been useful once I started working in social media!
Back in 2011, I was working at Zara at a General Manager and hated my existence. The hours were long and I had a difficult time connecting with the corporate mandate. Coming from a small high-end boutique where I was the buyer/mananger/jack-of-all-trades, the hands-off approach of Zara really wasn’t for me. I missed people!
As I was searching for jobs in the fashion industry, I came across “online copywriter at fashion company” and immediatly applied. My BA in Art History and my freelance writing experience was exactly what they were looking for. Plus, the brand that I would work for, Addition Elle, specialized in 14+ fashion. Being the voluptuous fashionista that I am, I knew I would intrinsically understanding the needs and wants of the customer because I AM HER!
As companies began to acknowledge the power of social media, my role at Addition Elle grew. I was no longer simply writing product descriptions, I was focused on building the Addition Elle “tribe.” I looked for ways to connect with our audience, to surprise and delight them and to let them know that they weren’t alone in their plight for fashionable clothing in their size. I developed a segment called “In Jen’s Closet” where I offered fashion advice and outfit building suggestions. I launched the Addition Elle blog, curated the Instagram account and conceptualize viral campaigns with slogans like “Sorry, Not Sorry” and “No More Rules.”
One of my proudest accomplishments was the work I did for the Addition Elle runway show at New York Fashion Week, especially directing the Facebook Live Stream event. (Sidenote – I was 4 weeks pregnant and had no idea!) I hosted the pre-show, interviewing models, hair & makeup and stylist, while coordinating the live coverage. The footage was actually used by Facebook as a case study for their live stream abilities. Very cool!
Over the last 6 years, Addition Elle’s social media presence has grown and become admired in the industry. We aren’t afraid to push the boundaries of what’s considered acceptable for plus size. I am so thankful to be part of a team that directly impacts people’s lives. Who knew that the little girl who used to pour over Vogue and wonder why nobody looked like her, would become the voice of a brand that seeks to empower the plus size community. As the “voice” of Addition Elle’s online presence, my own self-love has grown. To hear other plus size women share their stories and struggles and to see them unabashedly share their bodies on social media makes me feel proud to be part of this community.
Have a social media question? Want to know more about my career path? Ask away in the comments below!