With the majority of fashion’s most sought after brands located in London, it’s refreshing to see a wave of success hit the North West. New fast-fashion hotshots, such as Missguided, Boohoo.com and PrettyLittleThing, are creating a palpable flurry of excitement among Northern fashion geeks; all located in Manchester, they are forging arguably the strongest UK fashion hub outside of London, right on the doorstep of Lancaster University. I caught up with Lancaster alumnus Rachael Dennis, a 2013 graduate of Marketing with Psychology, who helps bring about some of Missguided’s most iconic campaigns, working alongside icons from Baddie Winkle, to their current campaign with Jourdan Dunn.
Hannah: First of all, can you give us a brief description of your job role?
Rachael: I am the Brand Marketing Manager at Missguided. Day to day, my work focuses on working on our global advertising plans, this includes TV, OOH, Sponsorship, Paid Social, Students and Events.
Hannah: What would a typical day be like for you?
Rachael: At Missguided no two days are the same! One day I can be pulling together plans for a campaign, the next I can be in a field working a music festival.
Hannah: How did you find yourself in this position and how long have you been there?
Rachael: I’ve been at Missguided for two and half years now, starting off as the Brand Executive in February 2015, moving to Senior Brand Executive in October 2016 and now the Brand Manager as of August 2017. I had always wanted to work in fashion, but my original role out of University was far from it. I started my career in marketing as the Brand Assistant for Betfred. Working in gambling was never my dream role, but it gave me great experience and the step up I needed to make it to Missguided.
While at Betfred I worked closely with the Brand Manager on TV campaigns and this experience building campaigns from concept through to execution is what Missguided was looking for when I applied.
Hannah: Was this a job you were interested in at Lancaster University? Did your degree or extra-curricular activities help you attain this role?
Rachael: I’ve always been interested in marketing; from a young age I knew it was what I wanted to go into. While at Lancaster I chose to do a joint honours degree in Marketing with Psychology; I believed that with the addition of psychology I could gain a better understanding of human behaviour and in turn, how this affects choices when purchasing.
Outside of my course I actually worked at Hustle for 2 years of University. As well as learning how to make 50 different shots, it also gave me great team skills and definitely helped me learn how to work under pressure.
Hannah: The fashion industry has a reputation for being aggressively competitive to break into. Have you found this to be the case?
Rachael: Fashion is a very desirable industry, competition is high, especially in Manchester where there are just a handful of brands to work for. I was very lucky that I was looking to move at the same time Missguided was hiring a Brand Exec because jobs don’t come up often.
Hannah: What has been your favourite project during your career?
Rachael: My favourite project to date has got to be our AW16 campaign featuring Baddie Winkle. Apart from the fact she is the sweetest lady I’ve ever met, she’s also 100 times cooler than me and she’s 89. The whole campaign from start to finish was so much fun, we branded buses with big giant lips, took over Westfield Stratford for a store opening and plastered the underground with our posters.
We’ve also launched insane campaigns with Pamela Anderson, Amber Rose and Jourdan Dunn – so working on these is pretty great too!
Hannah: What are the challenges of a career in fashion marketing and communications?
Rachael: Fashion marketing is very fast paced, we’re constantly launching new lines and collections so there’s never really any down time. You also have to keep on top of new technologies, trends and events that our customers could be interacting with.
Hannah: What kind of person would thrive in fashion marketing and communications?
Rachael: Someone who is really outgoing, personable and friendly. You have to love meeting new people and working as part of a team.
Hannah: Do you have any tips for an aspiring fashion marketing professional?
Rachael: Don’t be afraid to stand out;there’ll be dozens of people going for the same role as you and you want to make sure that your CV makes them stop and read. Get as much experience as you can, you never know where it might lead. Keep up to date with industry news, follow relevant blogs and industry titles – it’ll definitely help you when in the interview.