Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Projecting the Professional Image You Want

So I recently stumbled on Daria Boxer's blog, Fashionably Bitten.  She's a fellow student at FIT, is writing a lot of great stuff and seems pretty talented.  

Check out her post on "How to score a fashion internship."  Great stuff!  We were talking earlier and I think this is relevant to anyone in ANY industry that takes what they do seriously, but especially in one as image conscious as fashion: 

-------- Original Message -------- 
Subject: Re: Hey! 
From: Daria Boxer 
Date: Wed, December 30, 2009 8:51 am 


I was also thinking about creating my own website and was wondering if it's worth it? How did you do it? I dont know a lot about making a website from scratch. Like where did you buy your domain from? Who can I get to design my website? Do these things cost a lot? Sorry about all the questions haha. 



My Response:

As in creating a website, there's no reason to pay much for someone to design it.  Maybe if you're an accounting major with the creativity of a cardboard box (no offense to accountants; can you imagine the disarray the world would be in with ONLY artists and designers?), but there are a lot of tools for you to design a website exactly how you want it without knowing HTML code of Flash programming.  For HTML stuff, I've found the best program is Apple's iWeb.  

If you want to have a Flash website, allows you to make a website that is super glitzy and polished and yet very intuitive and simple for you to design.  Here's the one I'm almost finished with: (coming soon)

It's not done (and the video at the front is Michael Bastian's show, not mine) but I'll be excited to publish it soon.  Actually, I learned about the importance of video on a website from a seminar I attended when I worked as a freight broker at TQL last year from Jeffery Gitomer, who is a master at closing deals and projecting a unique but professional image.  Wix doesn't host emails so I would recommend buying the domain name you want through  The basic account is like $50/yr or something to host it with them.  You can buy the domain name for cheap, but, to make it live, you have to host it.  They give great support when you need it too.  

The most valuable thing about this though is you get an email with your domain attachment.  What email you use can work AGAINST you, FOR you, or do NOTHING for you.  Three emails I have are, and  I strongly prefer to give someone my as my means of contact.  

Also, you might consider some sort of card or something to hand to someone.  As you said in your post, networking is extremely important.  Anyone that aspires to develop solid contacts should try to do all they can to not lose the perspective that it is a mutually beneficial relationship, not one-sided.  

For example, if you meet Alexander McQueen in the airport on your way home from FIT for winter break next year, instead of thinking "Oh man, I'd be lucky and happy to be the assistant-of-tying-his-left-shoe," think "We can help each other out.  I could benefit hugely from this relationship as could he.  He has the opportunity to spot, develop and mentor a young and talented designer.  Any designer would be happy to be known as the guy or girl that discovered me."  

A basic way to have it be a more equal exchange is when you ask them for their info, you have something to exchange with them as well.  For 500 business cards, expect to spend at least $50.  Or if you want to try chocolate business cards, that's gonna cost more, but you'll be remembered more :)

These little things help you stand out in ANY industry, but in such an image conscious industry as fashion, they are even more relevant.  Now, of course, if you leave this amazing first impression, please be able to follow it up with amazing talent, attitude and work ethic.  Letting people down after they get excited about you is just as bad as not getting noticed and, in some ways, worse.  But at the same time, if you make a great first impression, people will tend to see everything you do through that lens.  

A non-professional example would be if you meet two guys in a bar.  They're both wearing a plain t-shirt, blue jeans and have a plain hairstyle.  You talk to guy #1 and find out he's a stock broker on Wall Street, loves to play with his dog and makes you laugh.  Then you talk to guy #2 that looks almost identical but find out he just got fired from his job for coming in late too much, hates children and leans in at a 45 degree angle when we talks to you.  A lot of people are going to attribute guy #1 is styled the way he is because:
  • He's a minimalist
  • He has more important things to think about
  • He's not vain
  • He reminds them of Marlon Brando

Guy #2, styled the same way, may get tagged as:
  • Lazy
  • Not in touch with fashion
  • Cheap
  • Evokes images of Homer Simpson

In a nutshell, people interpret your future actions based on how they categorize you when they first meet you.  A good web image is becoming more and more important as the business world becomes more virtual.

Josh Stevens 
FIT Menswear Club - President 
P: 513-265-1521


  1. Your article is super insightful! You definitely answered my questions- and more. Thank you for taking the time to write this! Also I added your link to my blog and wrote about your blog on my fb status. A lot of my friends are looking to create websites and your blog helps!