Creating your online brand is a resume in itself these days. I’d suggest interning as much as possible when you’re still in school! It shows you’re serious about a career in fashion and are willing to put in the extra work!
Christie Lohr is a trailblazer in the Canadian fashion scene, launching Style Nine to Five, the first career board website catering to fashion jobs across Canada, and now expanding into New York City. Following in the fashionable footsteps of Style Nine to Five, Christie introduced Beauty Nine to Five to professionals searching for their dream job in the beauty industry.
Learn more about Christie in our exclusive interview for Empress Avenue!
Describe your most recent business success and tell us about your next big goal. What’s up next? Style Nine to Five recently launched in NYC, allowing fashion professionals in New York to connect with their dream jobs, and we’re continuing that momentum by building and expanding the brand throughout the USA.
How would you define success? First and foremost, it’s seeing my customers happy. It’s knowing they’ve filled their job openings successfully using Style Nine to Five with amazing, qualified applicants. Success is also when people start paying attention and taking note of what you’re doing. To me, that means I’m making an impact and I’m on the right track.
Give us the ‘inside scoop’ – what does a day in your business life look like? A usual business day involves posting content on all social media channels and managing customer relations, which can including responding to customer inquiries about their hiring needs and job postings. Some days I might also have a photoshoot planned during the week for collaborations and campaign promotions, like an Instagram takeover for Robson Street or South Granville (shopping districts in Vancouver).
What types of customers are in your business ‘pink book’ and who are you looking to connect with? From big retailers like Le Chateau, Lululemon and Aldo, to independent boutiques, designers and showrooms, our clients are companies in the fashion industry who are looking to employ a wide range candidates.
If you were not doing this job, what is your plan B? Are you still chasing your dream job? I’ve never had a plan B and still don’t have one – that’s my business model. I knew Style Nine to Five and Beauty Nine to Five had to work because I was a recruiter and saw the opportunity and need for something that was missing at the time. Everything up to the point of creating Style Nine to Five lead me to where I’m supposed to be now.
Do you think it’s important to love what you do, or make good money? I believe in loving what you do. Money will come.
Is owning your own business as glamorous as it sounds? No, it’s not, at least not at first. The first four years are some of the toughest years and it’s still a lot of hard work, and always will be. But, now I get to take part in a lot of fun social media projects such as Instagram takeovers. It was never in my business plan, but it organically developed with the growth and importance of social media and the increase of my personal Instagram following, so I’m just going with it.
To me, my personal brand is just as important as my business brand. The more people are aware of who I am and what I do, the more Style Nine to Five and Beauty Nine to Five get noticed. I like to take every opportunity that comes my way; that door is opening for a reason.
What inspired you to start your own business? What made you decide to take the leap? What inspired me to create my own business was the lack of it in the industry. As a recruiter I recognized the need for something like Style Nine to Five in the fashion recruitment industry. As a retail recruiter I was constantly struggling to fill roles and posted openings on general job sites and placed ads in newspapers. I was not as successful as I could have been, but I knew there were tons of qualified candidates out there who wanted to work in the fashion industry.
Where did you get your education? Tell us about this experience. From the time I was a little girl, I always knew fashion was what I wanted to be a part of, and I also loved business. Naturally, I enrolled in the fashion marketing program at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Most of my success has come from my experiences as an entrepreneur. There are some things you just can’t be taught in a classroom, but an education is still an important step in your career.
What was your first job after college/ university? My First job out of school was a sales associate at Le Chateau. I grew with Le Chateau and eventually became a store manager, menswear buyer, and then recruited for Le Chateau.
What are your tips for setting yourself apart in the workplace? It’s very easy to get wrapped up in the stereotype of the fashion industry, but I believe being kind and gracious will get you everywhere. Your industry could be a small one, where everyone knows each other, so I believe in working together and supporting one another, rather than competing. There’s room for everyone to make it!
How do you achieve work/ life balance? How do you unplug? Being your own boss it’s very easy to get stuck inside in your home office, but I try to achieve a balance by getting outside. Where I live, I’m just steps from the seawall, so I like to walk around out there for some fresh air. I’ve always been pretty outdoorsy, but I will also take a gym class 3-4 times a week at 5:30 to wrap up the day and mentally unwind.
What are your plans for expansion? Our next steps for expansion are introducing Style Nine to Five to LA. I didn’t want to expand into the entire USA all at once because I wanted to focus on one city at a time and get it right.
What is your favorite travel hot spot? Travel is the one thing I wish I did more of. I’m a bit of a workaholic, so I’m very focused on my business and have always put most of my energy into making it the best it can be. However, I have been to beautiful Italy and loved Cinque Terre.
Can you offer any advice for new graduates looking for a job or new entrepreneurs? Even if you don’t yet have the experience, showcase your skills through a blog or Instagram. Creating your online brand is a resume in itself these days. I’d suggest interning as much as possible when you’re still in school! It shows you’re serious about a career in fashion and are willing to put in the extra work to start from.
Social Media Links: @christie_lohr @StyleNinetoFive @BeautyNine2Five
Photo Credit: Brooklyn D Photography