Anonymous said: hi i was hoping you'd be able to tell me how you started w/ karmaloop. hopefully you haven't been asked this question a million times before but i've been into karmaloop since high school and have always been interested in the company.

hey there! i’ve gotten this question a few times, but since i’m technologically defunct haven’t figured out how to set up a FAQ.. anyone have any tips?

i started at karmaloop about 4 years ago. i was managing an american apparel store (and was totally miserable), and searching for a new position elsewhere. i had made friends with someone who worked at karmaloop in the merchandising department (mind you back then the whole company consisted of maybe 30 people) at a random house party above orchard (when orchard was still in mission hill) who gave me a call and asked if i’d be interested in a customer service position. at that point i was literally right about to walk into california pizza kitchen to submit my resume for a hostess job so you can image the level of disparity my life was at haha (not that there’s anything wrong with california pizza kitchen or hostessing.. just that i was coming from a completely retail background and desperate to get into anything possible). i told him “yes, absolutely. that’s actually perfect” and an hour later i was interviewing with the customer service manager. i got the job and started the next day.

customer service, as you may be familiar with, is no cup of candy canes. in fact it’s exactly the opposite. customer service is about resolving issues and doing so in a friendly, helpful manner. and dealing with a LOT of irritated, abusive customers. i mean, no one ever calls because there WASN’T a problem with their order. this job was hellish. BUT i learned SO MUCH from it. i learned a great work ethic (being late was NOT an option.. also finishing your tasks each day was mandatory), and how to deal with issues on a plethora of facets. i learned that perception is everything, especially at a company as small and growing as this one. i learned how the customer shops, and what appeals most from a consumer end. i learned how to deal with inner office issues in respectful, professional way. i also had the freedom to wear whatever the hell i wanted to work, which was a first (i have worked as a gymnastics coach, a horseback riding instructor, a retail associate at hollister and abercrombie, a living mannequin at rugby ralph lauren, and as a manager at american apparel… none of these jobs were very lenient with what you could wear). i would not be where i am now if i hadn’t had this job. also juggling school with a full time job… not the breeziest point in my life.

so i worked in customer service for a little over a year, and i was nearly at my wits end. i was about to throw in the towel when the women’s buyer and creative director (also co-founder of the company) called me in to meet with them. they asked if i’d be interested in a position in women’s buying because they’d seen me forecast several trends, just in my own personal wardrobe, seen my ability to upsell customers over the phone, and my manager was recommending me with glowing praise (which was nice to hear because in person he acted like he hated me… dick). so i started as women’s buying assistant, entering orders, sending them to vendors, organizing the file cabinet, styling for lookbooks, and just generally doing everything, and more, that was asked for me.

about a year later i was promoted to assistant beauty and intimates buyer (which were both relatively new categories for us) and also took over styling all the product that we sell on the site due to a suggestion i made about how the product looked on the site.

a year after that i was promoted to women’s buyer. (and now the company is comprised of well over 200 people.. and projected to do $200 million this year alone)..!

my best advice for someone looking to get into the industry is to maintain your drive and passion for what it is you love. i haveĀ  felt like karmaloop was the perfect place for me because of it’s youthful culture, it’s craziness, and it’s unique approach to fashion. i love that i live the culture we sell, and i think that’s a large reason why i’m so successful at my job. so find something that you love, and that you LIVE, and go for it. and don’t stop even when someone tells you no (i asked to be accessories buyer while i was styling because i wanted more responsibility.. but the head buyer at that time turned me down. but now i buy everything!). be kind and polite to everyone you encounter, because you never know who might help you in the long run. also be genuine, because people can tell when you aren’t. work hard and don’t give up, because you never know when the next door is going to open for you.

as my father once told a student of his, “follow your heart… but don’t give up”

it’s so easy to get the door slammed in your face and want to give up, but i guarantee you will get where you want to be (and more, and farther!) if you work hard and treat people well.

i hope this answered your question, and if not, let me know what i missed!

best of luck to you in all of your future endeavors!


@1 year ago with 5 notes
  1. jenini posted this