The first part of the Working in Fashion Series. Find out what it’s like to deal with the financial side of a world-renowned luxury handbag company!
**Author’s note: Due to the sensitive nature of working in finance, the handbag company in question will not be disclosed, and the name of the analyst has been changed. Responses in this article were also edited for clarity.
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Hello CF readers! Today is the launch of our Working in Fashion series, where we’ll be taking a look at what real women are accomplishing in the fashion industry. If you want to work in fashion someday, it helps to have an idea of where you’ll be headed and the types of careers that are available. This series aims to help provide that insight.
Our first interviewee, Amanda, works as a Senior Financial Analyst at a luxury handbag company renowned for its high-quality bags and detailed designs. Our interviewee studied economics as an undergraduate, and was also involved in several business organizations and volunteer groups. Find out what she’s been up to in the two years since she’s graduated!
Interview with Amanda:
What’s a typical day at work like for you?
Amanda: I cover the global aspect of the business, so the majority of my day consists of coordinating with each of our geographical business regions to gauge their individual performance in sales, expenses, strategy, etc. Then I use this information to determine how the brand is performing on a global level.
A typical day may consist of meetings, in person for North America and phone for international, with different business regions and compiling the information into a summary for the CFO. I also work with investor relations and strategy to help with any ad hoc projects that need a finance person.
How did you find this position? (online, word of mouth, networking, etc.)
A: I initially found the job posting on LinkedIn, but I also knew a person at the company who helped put me in contact with the hiring manager.
Did you have any fashion experience prior to interviewing for this position? If so, what was it?
A: I actually had zero experience with fashion and the consumer retail industry in general. I covered financial institutions in my previous job, which is the complete opposite of fashion. The extent of my fashion experience was a stock pitch on Steve Madden that I had done during my freshman year of college.
What are some perks of working at a luxury handbag company?
A: First, the discount is amazing!! I also enjoy the creative environment and the ability to interact with so many people who have educational and professional backgrounds completely different from mine. My previous job was at a bank, so everyone pretty much had the same major in college and similar internships. Now, I run into fashion designers, graphic designers, and other content creators all the time.
What experiences from college ended up being the most helpful in your current job?
A: In terms of academics, my economics and finance classes definitely help. Even though I don’t work in financial services anymore, I’m still using my accounting and financial modeling skills every day. I think my economics classes are even more relevant now because it’s important to look at how different sociopolitical factors will influence sales and consumer trends.
Finance is a conservative industry while fashion is progressive af; how does this change up the culture in your department at work?
A: While my current department has a more relaxed culture than my previous job, the finance team is still the most conservative in the company. At the end of the day, we’re still crunching numbers and affected by Wall Street and investors, but we’re able to do our jobs in a creative and collaborative environment with other teams. It’s also interesting to talk about the finance side of Instagram and influencers during meetings!
What advice would you give to students looking to work in the fashion industry after graduation?
A: Networking is important in every industry, but it seems to be extremely important in fashion, especially since there are so few schools known for fashion. A lot of people I work with found their jobs through a connection they had or a person they had randomly reached out to via LinkedIn.
Did anything surprise you about working in fashion? If so, how has the experience differed from your expectations?
Partially due to my limited knowledge of the fashion industry, I fully expected to be thrown into an environment similar to the one in The Devil Wears Prada. Fortunately, my manager and coworkers have been much friendlier, and extremely easy to work with. My team really emphasizes the importance of mentorship and taking ownership of your work, and I’ve learned so much during my time here so far!
Just one more question; can you describe the bag you carry to work?
A: (laughs) I carry my company’s classic tote bag in light pink. There are a couple other bags that I’ve had my eye on, but I meal prep my food and this is the only bag that fits my Tupperware, workout clothes, AND my laptop!
Our Tote Bag Picks Inspired by Amanda
Products: Upper Left – Tory Burch Robinson Tote, Upper Right – Everlane Day Market Tote, Lower Left – MICHAEL Michael Kors Small Whitney Leather Tote, Lower Right – kate spade new york Cameron Street Lucie Tote
Inspired by Amanda’s work bag, we’ve compiled some picks that might be your perfect bag for a job in fashion.
Keep in mind these suggestions are all within the luxury handbag realm; these are great investment pieces, so if you buy one of these bags now, you’ll be sure that it will be used and loved for years. If you take good care of it, you can use one of these bags as your school bag today and your work bag when you join the corporate world — win, win!
All of the above picks are comparable to the tote bag that Amanda herself carries to work, and they’re all durable and spacious. We love the light pink colors because they’re an understated way to add a pop of color. These would be excellent to use in professional settings, going from work to a date, and for going out to brunch with your girls.
Thank you again for interviewing with us Amanda; best of luck in your career!
What did you think of our interview with Amanda?
Have you thought about working in finance for a fashion company? Do you still have any questions for her about her job or experiences with finance? Leave a comment down below!