If you’re looking to join the geek fashion industry, then the “Careers in Geek Fashion” panel by GeekFold at San Diego Comic-Con is something you should incorporate into your research.
Moderated by GeekFold’s Lisa Granshaw, panelists Dan Richard (DPI Promo: Custom Collector’s Edition Swag – Design & Manufacture and Bethesda Gear), Cindy Levitt (Mad Engine LLC), Rosa Menendez (Esports Makeup), Jennifer Smilay (Her Universe), Allison Cimino (RockLove Jewelry), and Jeff Trexler (Fashion Law Institute) talked about their careers in the geek fashion industry, from licensing to law.
There was plenty of advice to go around, but here are 5 tips from the panel we think are essential for geeky career-seekers.
Checking Your Fandom at the Door
When working in a professional setting, even one that’s entrenched in the geek world, it’s important to check your fandom and ego at the door. Celebrities and licensors looking to collaborate expect a level of professionalism. While we all naturally want to geek out, take selfies, and shout our love of something or someone to the world, the job and tasks at hand take priority.
Sometimes, people get caught up on their educational background and whether having the wrong degree limits them from entering the industry of their choice. RockLove’s Allison Cimino stands as an example that your diploma (or lack thereof) isn’t an obstacle. For example, she doesn’t have a business degree, but she developed her knowledge through experience. Ultimately, what matters is your passion.
“You have to be passionate about not just the industry but what you’re truly contributing to it because your knowledge and authenticity is going to be what helps you succeed,” said Cimino.
Build a Portfolio
It’s not the kind of portfolio you have in mind. People hear that word and automatically think drawings, photographs, or other evidences of their work. The portfolio Dan Richard referred to contains valuable information and experiences.
“Write down what you do, write down what you learn, talk about how you overcame problems, the steps you took to build something new,” he said because you’ll be asked specific and technical questions during an interview and having a portfolio of these various personal and professional experiences will make a difference in front of an employer.
Keep Tabs on E-commerce
There are heaps of tools out there when it comes to building your own platform and identity, and it’s easy to get lost in all of it. Cimino passed along a simple piece of advice, specifically how people stepping into this world should find a pre-made template and customize it to reflect their voice because at the end of the day, the focus should be on the product.
“You don’t need the most high-tech E-commerce platform. You just need it to be reliable and clean and visible,” she said. She also recommended keeping tabs on E-commerce trends to make sure your platform doesn’t look dated. “Focus on whatever you’re contributing to this fandom narrative and that’s the identity you want to express. And the tools? They’re all there. You can just start with templates.”
Research Industry Terms
You know how it’s important to put key terms in your resume to make it stand out from the rest? It’s just as important to know those key and trending terms during an interview because it’ll let the employer know how knowledgeable you are about the industry. It’s easy to list things off in a resume and show where you’ve been and what you’ve done, but knowing the language and communicating that effectively will go a long way.
Interested in finding out what else the panelists had to say? Watch the full panel below.