What do you want to be when you “grow up?” I know that while I was at GW my answer to this question probably changed about 10-15 times. I, of course, value the education I got and the visits I had to the Career Center, but what led me to my current job at Dormify was through the hours I put in at my mom’s clothing store, Blush, on the weekends and on days when I did not have class.
Long story short:
- I met Karen Zuckerman (not yet the @thedormifymom) my sophomore year of college when my actual mom hired Karen’s creative agency, HZDG, to design Blush’s website.
- Through working together over the next year on the website and branding for my mom’s store, I developed an interest in this field.
- Senior year I called Karen and asked if I could spend some time in the HZDG office on days when I did not have class.
- Upon graduation, I landed a job at HZDG New York!
- 2 years later, Dormify was born.
- Now I am the Dormify Buyer, Merchandiser, Publicist, and “Focus On” Blogger for Dormify.
Moral of this story? The things you do outside of class count! Harvard grads and HerCampus founders—Stephanie Kaplan ‘10, Windsor Hanger ‘10, and Annie Wang ’11, would probably say the same.
Here is their story:
Stephanie Hayman: The three of you worked for Freeze, a student-run lifestyle and fashion magazine on campus, which clearly led you to your current endeavor, Her Campus Magazine. Is it important for college students to make time for extracurriculars even though they are balancing a busy academic and social life?
WH: It is absolutely essential to make time for extracurriculars as a student. In addition to adding a lot to a student’s college experience, they can provide invaluable work experience that will prepare them for life beyond college. If we hadn’t participated in extracurriculars, we never would have come up with the idea for Her Campus and none of this would have happened!
SH: Your company has been included in Business Week’s 25 Under 25 Best Young entrepreneurs, Inc. Magazine’s 20 Most Amazing Young Women and several others. This is huge! What is your advice to young women who want to start up their own companies at a young age?
WH: Tons of women have amazing ideas but are afraid to make their ideas a reality. You have to dive in and go for it. You’re never going to know if you’re idea is a good one unless you test it out in the market. I always encourage young women to stop thinking about it so much and to do something about it!
SH: Is it hard running a company as 3 very close friends? Is there a certain way you work out disagreements or how you compromise with each other? Do you departmentalize between the three of you?
SK: The three of us were business partners first, and then became friends, which I think is part of why we have such a strong relationship, because we figured out first that we work incredibly well together. We each have distinct roles within the company that do not overlap, and we each trust one another’s decision-making when it comes to each of our domains. We are all always open to input and feedback from the others however. We are all in agreement about Her Campus’s mission and goals, so any disagreements that arise are over small items, rather than weighty ones, which makes them a lot easier to sort out.
Note: Windsor = Publisher & President, Annie = CTO & Creative Director, Stephanie = CEO & Editor-in-Chief.
SH: You were named 3 of the most stylish Bostonian’s in a top 25 list. Running your own company, you probably need to dress professionally but still want to stay young and stylish. What are your fashion recommendations for young professionals or even Business School students who are required to dress in specific attire for lectures?
AW: Invest in well made, properly fitting pieces – good tailoring will take you far in looking sharp and pulled-together. I always try to incorporate one “BAM!” accessory in an outfit to add a surprising kicker to my look. It’s easy for an interesting belt or shoes to give you just the right amount of pizzazz while still maintaining an overall professional look. And always remember, trendiness isn’t necessarily an indicator of style! The most stylish women can pull off modest, understated looks and still steal the spotlight.
SH: Individually, through this journey of yours, who have been your biggest inspirations?
AW: I’ve been inspired by Tony Hsieh (CEO of Zappos) and his company philosophies, which have led me to encourage a fun and vibrant work culture and relationships built on genuine friendship at Her Campus.
SH: Describe your freshman year dorm rooms?
SK: My freshman year dorm room was quite literally “shabby chic”—in that it was decorated almost entirely with the Shabby Chic line from Target! It was all pink and white and canvas and floral. I got tired of it by senior year and switch to blue and white bedding.
SH: Do you live together now? How do you style your space?
AW: We don’t live together (actually we did 3 summers ago!), but our thoroughly decorated office is pretty much the talk of the town in the shared workspace where we’re based. Our walls are covered with the various mementos we’ve collected over the years working at Her Campus – an eclectic mix of thank you cards, pretty magazine spreads, hilarious emails we’ve printed out, and other odds and ends (like a “Computer Engineer” Barbie Mattel sent me). Our desks are lined with plenty of cute floral mugs, a covetable collection of nail polish, and huge, amazingly pink Her Campus banners. We own our style and share it with the world!
Her Campus uses Dormify posters to style their space!
SH: Dormify donated our Indie Cred pillow as a door prize your event for Her Campus’ 2nd birthday party! What did your audience think of the pillow?
WH: We got a TON of compliments on the pillow from the girls at our party. They also were commenting about how cute it was on Facebook. I’ve got to admit – I kind of wanted it for myself!
SH: How many bloggers do you have working for you? Where have some of them ended up post graduation? Any cool jobs come from having Her Campus on your resume?
SK: We now have 3000 student contributors across our 200 campus chapters, many of whom have landed amazing jobs and internships since joining the Her Campus team at places including Vogue, Glamour, Vanity Fair, The Washington Post, MTV, Ogilvy, PepsiCo, Marie Claire, Seventeen, and more.
Start becoming involved in activities outisde of school through remote internships. These opportunities could could lead to your future. Check out Dormify’s Style Advisor program.