THERESA CANEY, WEB EDITOR
"I was always obsessive about magazines and fashion, and after completing an Art & Design Foundation Course, I studied Visual Arts and English at university which gave me a really good basis, covering off many areas including photography, website design, writing and graphics.
When I finished uni I got a job working in a printers designing business stationery but I knew I wanted more creativity. After a brief stint at a advertising agency, I moved into online, working on the websites for a huge radio group where I learnt HTML, improved my Photoshop skills and got promoted! However, after two years I knew I wanted to push myself for the job in fashion I'd always wanted, so I started a fashion blog, got noticed in the industry and took three weeks off work as holiday to come and intern in the Company fashion cupboard.
It was hard going from managing people to sorting out returns and picking up dry cleaning, but I stuck with it and made a real effort and was asked to come back to style a shoot. I stayed in touch with the Company team for the next 18 months and sent emails to the editor offering to help on the website, so when the previous web editor left, I was the first person they called. I came in for an interview and started a month later. I've now been here nearly two years editing company.co.uk and proved that the year where I had no holiday was completely worth it."
Top Tips for Success
"Even when jobs seem menial, do them to the best of your ability, and stick with it. We never remember the interns who left after two days as they thought they would be doing more exciting jobs, but the ones who do stick it out and make a big effort are rewarded with going on shoots and sticking in our memories. When I advertised for a web assistant, the ones who had blog impressed me the most as it is a way to get experience in web and online, and a free way to market yourself - I would wonder why anyone who wanted to work in fashion, especially online, wouldn't have one now."
OONAGH BRENNAN, ASSOCIATE EDITOR FASHION
"I started temping straight out of uni at a book publishers and worked with a girl whose sister happened to be the features Editor on a magazine called Looks (it doesn't exist any more..nothing to do with me honest!) I hounded this poor girl with phone calls until eventually she agreed to give me a months work experience.
On my first day I was introduced to the fashion cupboard where I would spend all of my time returning samples and unpacking all the new deliveries. I had presumed I would be helping research features so it was a bit of a surprise but also v exciting when I saw this treasure trove of clothes that would act as my office for the next month. I am a bit of a neat freak and made it my mission to run the fashion cupboard with military precision, I devised my own system and new every single piece that came in and went out of there.
During my month at Looks a position came up as fashion junior and because I was already running the cupboard and assisting on shoots I got the job. I know that I was incredibly lucky to be in the right place at the right time but I think my efficiency and dedication deffo swung it for me."
Top Tips for Success
"No matter how menial the task do it with dedication put the hours in and go above and beyond what's asked of you. This is no 9-."
SOPHIE QURESHI, BEAUTY DIRECTOR
"At uni I studied Latin and Ancient Greek (not very fashion-y!) but I knew I wanted to work in magazines so I wrote a fashion and beauty column for the university newspaper and in the holidays, I did work experience at as many magazines as I could – I literally contacted every title on the newsstand.
Then after I left uni, I saw something in the Guardian about a New Writers Talent Scholarship with Emap (the big publishing group that's now Bauer). I entered and won it, miraculously, and the prize was a contract to work four days a week at one of their magazines and one day a week doing a journalism qualification covering subbing and media law and stuff.
I was very lucky that the magazine kept me on after that and gave me a job in their features team. I started doing helping out with the beauty section too and when the Beauty Editor left, I started doing beauty full time. Never looked back!"
LENA DE CASPARIS, FEATURES WRITER
"My start in fashion was not a fashionable one. During a BA in Politics I met an editor of a small political magazine ‘Red Pepper’ who needed help on their culture section. There was zero cash but I spent every spare day during my degree writing the section. By the time I’d graduated I’d been promoted to Arts Editor (still zero cash!).
Cash needed, I got a job assisting an MP. I got to meet Gordon Brown but missed writing so began pitching to Guardian Comment is Free about being young in politics (all I knew). It worked and I got some great clips for my portfolio but I still wanted a staff writing job, so an editor at the Guardian advised I get a proper qualification.
I applied to Goldsmiths for MA Journalism (If you ask me one of the best of the MA courses but I'm biased!). I learned how to write, shorthand and 100s of computer programmes (some I've forgotten), but mainly I gained lots more confidence.
When I graduated (again) I wanted to try magazines. A guest lecturer was the Features Editor at Look, so had me for work experience. I’d been there a week (arriving MEGA early and creating them a new 'to die for' filing system) when they mentioned Company was hiring. Right time, right place. I emailed an application with double the ideas they asked for and was over the moon when I got the job. I’ve been here nearly three years now and every month my roles grows bigger and I learn a new thing. I hope that continues."
Top Tips for Success
"Want my advice? Make your experience count. We see tons of workies (12 a year on the features desk to be precise). In my time here I remember about 5 and that’s because they went above and beyond – they still email me and offer help. But they all have jobs now - some with my help! If you’re going to work for free for a month there’s no point being average, you’ll go unnoticed and may have well stayed in bed."
TANITA MONTGOMERY, ART DIRECTOR
"I followed quite a traditional route to becoming Art Director at Company. I studied graphic design at university and during my course managed to secure two work experience stints at women's fashion magazines. Whilst studying I also worked for a local publisher - I was just temping as an admin assistant but made it known to them I wanted to be a designer, so after a while they let me spend 1 day a week in their design department. This proved great experience and also looked good on my CV that I sought out design opportunities showing my commitment to the profession.
After uni I applied for 100s of jobs and one of those was the designer position on Good Housekeeping. I'd got shortlisted for interview based on the work experience I'd gained through uni. I got the job and the rest is history. I spent 3 and half years as designer at Good Housekeeping, and then made a sideways move to New Woman as Designer. After a year I was promoted to Senior Designer and stayed there for 3 years. From New Woman I went to First which was a weekly as Senior Designer. This proved a great move as due to the team structure at the time I had to step up a lot of the time to cover a more senior role which I found I was good at and enjoyed.
After 6 months at First I spotted the Art Editor job going at Company. It'd always been my dream to work for Company, so although normally I wouldn't have left a job so soon, I decided to go for it. I got the job, which was essentially deputy to the art director. After 3 years I got promoted to art director when that vacancy arose and have been doing the job for nearly 2 years."
Top Tips for Success
"Never be afraid of making a sideways move as opposed to an upward move - it can be the best career move you ever make.
When applying for design work experience, always write/email me personally, find out my name. And always show you've read and engaged with the magazine. I get people sending me company covers they've designed, picking out particular fonts/design features they've spotted and pages they've designed themselves in a Company style. They're the people I remember.
It's a small industry so never be anything other than 100% keen, enthusiastic and hard working during placements. Cakes at the end of a placement are also a good move ;-)"
TRACY RAMSDEN, FEATURES EDITOR
"You know when you’re a child and you play 'shops' or 'libraries'? Well, I played magazines. Drawing outfits on my Fashion Wheel (Google it if you’re too young to remember!) and sticking them in a book. I then graduated to pop magazines, if you count my impeccably presented Take That scrapbook. Which I do.
I got to play a grown up version of this game when I made a Topshop store magazine as part of my Media Production degree. But my real passion was for writing.
Ironically, Company kicked off my journalistic career a decade ago. I spent a year on the intern circuit at various women’s magazines. I said yes to everything, smiled a lot, offered to help across all departments and made great tea. When Company were looking for a features assistant, they called me.
I worked my way up to features writer level, before moving to Cosmopolitan where I was a senior writer and columnist for three years. In 2009, I came back to Company as commissioning editor and I’m now the features editor, where I have the privilege of sourcing and commissioning a huge bank of talented writers.
Nothing beats on-the-job training, and it pays to be nice. People remember that. Travelling the world to meet extraordinary people, interviewing celebrities, launching life-changing campaigns, appearing on TV, meeting the Prime Minister and, FINALLY, getting to hang with Take That are highlights that I only truly appreciated because I’d worked so hard to get there. And crucially, I enjoyed every second, even the unglamorous ones. Finding people who will openly discuss their STIs is no mean feat."
Top Tips for Success
"My advice? Get noticed. Use a blog to share your work, and Twitter for making contacts. Make internships count - go above and beyond. Write down every idea you ever have. Have a conversation with every new person you meet – they could be a key contact or case study. Spell people’s names correctly, know your magazines inside out, and don’t give up when things go wrong. But above all, learn how to make a great cup of tea."
EMMA BIGGER, FASHION EDITOR
"Fashion dahhling! If I had a penny for the number of times someone told me how hard it was to get into the fashion industry my whole wardrobe would be Prada!
But my dreams of sitting on the FROW meant these words fell on deaf ears and I made it my mission to make my dream job a reality.
I studied Literature at uni – not particularly fashion I know but I wanted to get a degree in something that I loved. Holidays were spent on my sister’s sofa whilst I interned at various magazines and held down a bar job in the evenings and weekends. I was insanely jealous of my friends who went off travelling and equally so of those who seemed to party their way through the summer but I knew I had to make sacrifices.
I interned at Vogue, 19 (so long ago it doesn’t exist anymore!), Cosmo Girl and of course Company to name a few. I treated each placement like a real job making and keeping contacts and making myself seen and heard. I worked very hard, staying late to organize the fashion cupboard and I even remember coming in on a Saturday morning to return clothes to PRs!! Bit of a keeno really!
My internships were exciting informative, fun and at times a bit of a struggle. Working full time for free whilst having a part-time job if not for the faint-hearted! You have got to really want it. After uni I did a postgrad in Periodical Journalism and set up a boutique fashion label selling at Portobello market. After a long-term freelance job at Glamour, I ended up joining the fashion team at Company. Three years prior I was in the cupboard and now I was part of the team... Proof that interning does pay off!
As Fashion Editor I get to be creative on photo shoots and write original and dynamic copy. I spend my days casting models, styling up main fashion stories, meeting photographers, attending press events and shows."
Top Tips for Success
"If I were to tell my intern self one thing, it would be don’t be scared to show people your talent and hard work. You are your own best publicist, and if you don't shout about it you might miss out."
LUCY THORP, DEPUTY CHIEF SUB-EDITOR
"If youd have asked me what I though Id be doing at 25, I would probably have said massaging professional footballers. No, not for pleasure (well, I guess its wouldnt be a chore), but as a physiotherapist. However, a few months into my Biology A Level course I wasnt enjoying it and decided to drop it, which meant I had to forget my dream of touching gorgeous muscly men!
Anyway fast forward a few years and Id done a Journalism degree and was working on a food mag in London. After four years on food mags, the Deputy Chief Sub Editor job came up at Company magazine so I eagerly applied! Although Id always enjoyed my job, my passion didnt lie with food (well, maybe with eating it!) but with fashion, so this was right up my street! However, when I hadnt heard back after a couple of weeks, I was in two minds whether to chase it up or not. I didnt want to sound pushy, but I also really wanted the job. I bit the bullet and decided to email, and thank god I did, as my original email had never been received and had gone into a spam inbox! So after two interviews and a few subbing tests I got the job"
ALEXXSIA, FASHION WRITER
"I first interned at Company in the summer of 2009, I pretty much begged to slot me in before I went back to my fashion design degree at Bristol UWE, I remember saying ‘I won’t let you down’. The fashion cupboard then became my home. I kept in touch with the fash team; always letting them know when I was available to help out- off the back of this I got recommended for other assisting jobs which I did a lot of whilst still at uni, commuting back and forth.
After graduation I moved straight to London, worked hard and long, doing as many assisting jobs as I possibly could (mostly unpaid) but the more I did the more it led on, from Nylon I assisted Francesca Burns which led on to British Vogue then GQ, plus leading me to my own work as well as waitressing for much needed cash.
I came back to Company seasonally to assist for the Edit issues plus submitting weekly street style shots for the website whilst also freelance writing/ styling/photographing for various other projects, but I pretty much just didn’t leave! I stayed around and did as much as I could to help because I did it for the love. Then this March, a permanent position came up that I was finally fit to fill- Fashion Writer/ Stylist. Et voila, job in fash."
Top Tips for Success
"Be prepared for long days, even if you think sleep deprivation might kill you- it won’t, it will just get you noticed as being a passionate, driven human being. Contacts are key, leave your details and check in every now and again, my motto was always- don’t ask questions (unless you really had to) just try and get things done efficiently, if you don’t know what something is- look it up! And lastly, be a yes man and be happy about it, everyone remembers the girl who is still smiling after 24hours of shoot hell!"
Michael Melis, Chief Sub Editor/Production Editor
"I left uni during the last major recession, in the late 80s, so can definitely relate to how difficult it is to get your dream job. I had studied drama and jobs were scarce so, like most graduates today, I just wanted to get my foot in the door somewhere – so had to be prepared to be flexible and open-minded.
After giving up on the acting, I started out using my languages to get a job as a European media researcher and, eventually, got myself promoted to the same agency’s newsdesk as a sub editor. I didn’t have any journalistic training so, for me, it was always a case of learning on the job and climbing up that ladder, while building up a portfolio that also includes TV listings and homes titles, eventually leading me into the glamorous world of women’s magazines (including Cosmopolitan, Prima and She) and five very happy (and fashionable) years at Company!"
Top Tips for Success
"You gain valuable experience in any job and, often, the skills you learn are tranferable. But enthusiasm, knowledge and determination are essential, while keeping your targets realistic. There's optimistic and then there’s delusional…"
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