Yesterday I had a pretty amazing opportunity. While sipping my mid-morning cup of coffee, I had the pleasure of getting to know Amy Levin, the founder of CollegeFashionista.
I’ve been writing for CollegeFashionista as a style guru for the past three seasons and have loved working with this brand. Having the opportunity to chat with Amy gave me tremendous insight as her advice was as relevant as it was inspiring. As a courageous and exceptional leader in this industry, I couldn’t resist sharing some of her advice with all of you.
Amy and I discussed her experience in growing CollegeFashionista and hearing her story was remarkable. When the idea originated during her senior year of college, there was nothing like it at the time. Print publications served as the primary source of inspiration for fashion enthusiasts. While pursuing her degree in Indiana, Levin felt isolated from the fashion industry as it tends to be most prevalent in big cities such as New York and Los Angeles. To create a network and community among fashion enthusiasts all across the US, she drew on her knowledge acquired from past internship experiences to start CollegeFashionista.
The process of growing CollegeFashionista she describes as being very organic. She started with the goal of targeting 10 college campuses and found that CF quickly began to boom. As a hard worker, Amy was committed to her brand and was devoted to making it successful, and thus developed the brand while learning through trial and error.
What I found to be so compelling about Amy’s story is the way in which she emphasized the value of believing in your idea, applying a strong work ethic and seeing it through. She also touched on the idea of being a girlboss. When Sophia Amoruso launched the idea of being an ambitious woman entrepreneur, it empowered and inspired many. But Amy reminded me that being a girlboss requires patience and resilience as there is pressure, industry expectations and lots of unexpected curveballs that weigh in to the progression of any dream.
The other thing I took away from my conversation with Amy is the importance of being willing to put yourself out there. She shared, “Be open to any opportunity that comes your way. Diversify your experience and apply for jobs that will give you the opportunity to learn different aspects of the industry.”
Amy also encouraged me to network with confidence. The concept of putting yourself out there includes reaching out to people to learn about their experience and career path and to establish connections in the industry. While universities often reiterate the importance of networking, Amy’s advice resonated with me because she emphasized two things: 1.) People tend to be more willing to talk to you than you initially think, so don’t hesitate to reach out to people with the fear that they’ll reject you and 2.) Let people talk. I think sometimes it’s easy to feel inclined to to lead the conversation when you’re the one reaching out to someone, but sitting back and listening is key when networking with industry professionals because it really gives you the chance to take in all of their advice and input.
Amy inspired me yesterday. Her kindness, approachability and wisdom indicate why she is a leader in this industry. To all you aspiring entrepreneurs, I encourage you to follow Amy’s story, take her advice to heart and apply it to whatever dreams you may have, fashion-related or otherwise.
Thank you for taking the time to meet with me, Amy! Your efforts in the industry are exceptional. I am so humbled to have had the chance to learn more about you + CollegeFashionista! Xx.