Drey Mark

Hey, I’m Drey I’m a freelance stylist, business owner and I work in the fashion closet at the online fashion destination Net-a-Porter during the week

Being a freelance stylist – I started styling pretty much straight out of college, I decided not to go to university at the time as I thought a gap year was what I needed but in that gap year I discovered what I loved – fashion. 

I started assisting/interning any way and anywhere I could; 

Now magazine 

I heart studios 

Fashion week 

Assisting stylists etc 

The stylist I was assisting at the time told me to start a blog that covers fashion news, tips etc and so I did. This was around the time blackberries were losing their allure and iPhones started to become the main phone to have – and in came Instagram. 

I started posting my outfits and got great feedback. 

I began getting booked to do my own shoots, working with celebrities, editorials etc. 

I went through a period in my life where I stopped using social media I kind of became out of touch with it all and lost the passion & confidence I once had for sharing looks – if there’s one thing I want you to learn from me today it’s consistency – remain consistent in everything. Thankfully today I’ve regained the confidence to start posting on my socials and sharing my passion with people who follow me for style ideas, and I couldn’t be happier. 

My business – I started my brand Stylefixxjewellery in 2016 simply because I’m a fan of dainty jewellery and time would often get asked where my jewellery was from, a lot of it was high street jewellery and would be sold out before the person could buy it, that’s what pushed me to start my own online jewellery business. 

So far it has been amazing, SF has been seen on BBC Joolz Holland, featured in fashionbombdaily, Grazia and I’ve had the chance to collaborate with many beautiful influencers. 

L’s – Marketing by collaboration: 

Although I’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with really amazing bloggers, I’ve also had my fair share of losses in which I’ve literally sent out stock to people who were unable to fulfil their end of the contract – advice I’ll give to anybody starting out and selling a product. 

  • Typically, in the beginning you may not start with 1000 units and so you want to minimise stock loss as much as you can. 

When collaborating don’t just go for bloggers with numbers, do they interact well with all their followers?

Are they influential?

  • Draft up a contract, so everybody understands what is expected. 
  • Majority of influencers/bloggers require payment so make sure you’re not wasting product and money and do your proper research on those you want to collaborate with before going forward. 

Working for a fashion brand also pushes me to keep going in the direction I am headed, it’s good to be around likeminded people who keep you motivated, I understand it is not easy at all getting a job in fashion especially being a black woman, trust me!! I know (I’ve worked at many places before this non-fashion related) but continue to be persistent especially if it’s something you know you truly want.

You can follow Drey to get style inspo on Instagram using the links below!

thestylefixx.co.uk

@dreystyles 

The Main Squeeze: Man Like Mike

How did you get into design?

It all started when I was studying GCSE graphic design. I picked coursework topic on branding. I learned how to use Adobe Illustrator and ABUSED the hell out of gradients and all the other weird and wonderful tools I had picked up. My project looked like Word Art but at the time, I was so proud of it.

I continued playing around with the different mediums into university and, of course, after I graduated.

Coming from a non-design background, how did you start building your portfolio? 

I kind of fell into being a “designer” when I started university. I joined two societies, and was appointed ‘Society Media Officer’. I was also a part of the photography team at my church, which I used to experiment a lot. From then on it was down to word of mouth, which inspired the birth of my YouTube channel.

Do you prefer to have full creative control, or when a client knows exactly what they’re going for?

Hmm… it depends. I need to have a balance. If they have no idea, it can be a bit confusing because my mind goes blank. There are so many ways to approach different concepts, so it’s harder for everybody when I don’t have any idea of how they’d like it. I can think of something, hand it over to the client, and they may end up not liking it like “this” – I always want them to be satisfied, so I ensure I guide them on the thought process.

There is beauty in having constraints. I like to educate them through my thought process, which influences creative concepts that we can eventually agree on. Sometimes some people need that jumpstart! I can then start thinking of a set colour scheme and styles (classy or chill, formal or informal).

On the other hand, when there is too little room for my creative input, it can start to feel like I am being micro managed. As much as I love trying new things, I think that sometimes if what the client is asking is too far from what you deliver, it’s best to refer them to someone that specialises in that niche. For example, I prefer using different mediums (photography and design) to tell a story. Other designer prefer illustrations, and can deliver those project much better than I would.

How do you deal with creative blocks?

God! He is the creator, and everything I do is in his hands. He is my main inspiration, so whenever my mind is blank I know it’s time to sit down with him.

I try to get off social media every once in a while, and get inspiration from other mediums of creativity. Things like music and films. You’d be surprised at what you can get inspiration from! Sometimes I get inspiration from things that aren’t directly related to design.

What are your design pet peeves?

Designers taking a literal approach to design brief

My scratch disks always being full, and my projects taking FOREVER to render like I don’t have things to be doing

Non-Macbooks LOL! We don’t have time for viruses over here…

We love how you incorporate elements of yourself in your designs. How did you find your niche?

I love the art of storytelling. I was initially inspired by Drake’s ‘If you’re reading this, recreated all his album covers and fell in love with the style. I like seeing narrative through design, and always try to do the same!

How has the support you get from your friends and social media followers influenced your perspective on how creatives are viewed on social media?

Amazing! I get so much love from my friends and followers across my social media platforms.

I love that I get such great support from people I don’t know. People actually notice the growth, and feel comfortable to approachable me to ask for tips and network, which is cool.

However, I think social media sells a success story. People only see the highlights and don’t see the crazy hours and hard work that goes into it. They assume because I’m getting flewed out all expenseses paid for, that I’m living the good life. These times, all the wheels of my suitcase had fallen off, and I had been workly ungodly hours! It’s easy to think that if someone’s social media feed is nice and clean, that everything in their life is perfect and they are all knowing. Please! None of us know what we’re doing.

What would you tell your 15 y/o self?

Everything will make sense in the future, so keep going. Life will definitely get harder, but I promise if you work hard, it’ll all come together.

Education isn’t everything.

You’ve got this, persevere even when people don’t understand or believe in you.

What would you like to say to our readers?

You’re always a student. As we grow up we think we’ll graduate from uni, get this amazing job, and suddenly know all the answers to life. However life is a learning process – you’re never too smart or too old to learn new things. We are so blessed to have so many resources available to us with the click of a button. Even I learned a lot of what I know from YouTube videos for free! I’ve learned about design through design books, all different types of people, workshops, and… the internet!

Joe Tweedie

Hi, Frshly Squeezed, I am Joe Tweedie and I currently I live and work as an investment banker in Copenhagen.

My guess is, if you are reading this, you probably have an interest in working in the financial services industry? Well, if so, I hope the next few tips or insights help your journey.

[1] Know your role(s)…

Perhaps the biggest misconception about banking, certainly one that I had entering the industry. Is that beyond trading/portfolio management, what else is there? The reality is that investment banks (and in truth asset managers, wealth managers, private banks etc.) have a huge variety of incredibly important and vital roles throughout the company that require differing skill sets. 

Anybody I have mentored or spoken to about banking have often asked me “how do I get into banking?” and my response is the same “which bit?”. 

It pays to do your research in this regard. Sure, trading is the glamorous knife-edge of the industry, but for those with excellent research skills or who are gifted with numbers, the options open to you are extensive. 

I personally have an academic background in Law and genuinely did not know what a share was when I first started on a graduate scheme ten-years ago. Particularly for those with a coding persuasion, banks are an incredible place to work on projects while you learn an industry. As a business/data architect, building the future architecture of my bank is impossible without highly-skilled and ambitious IT developers. Most FinTech start-ups have their roots in ex-banking employees. 

The bottom line being that the scope of roles in a bank is far beyond what you see depicted on television and these areas are increasingly becoming more and more important with each passing year.

Banking is no longer just about banking – it is about the whole digital experience.

[2] The CV conundrum…

I have had the fortune and occasional misfortune of interviewing both undergraduates and graduates for a number of positions within the banking industry. Such is the volume of applications for each position, the reality I and other “CV screeners” find we in is one of information overload. Generally, if you have a good degree (subject to debate what a good degree is… but perhaps for another post…) and a reasonable set of extra-curricular activities I have already read your CV before you have sent it to me. I hate to break the bubble but breaking out of the mould is often easier to do if you accept that you probably are level with the other 1,000 applicants for the same role.

So, what sets you apart? What do I and others actually look for on a CV?

(i) Internships: for those of your applying for an internship, you are most likely going to be using a set form on a website. There is potential to upload a covering letter or a CV for most mid-sized firms and up. If you have the opportunity to write a covering letter, please take it. I cannot stress this enough. 

However, if you are going to upload a cover letter please make sure it is genuine and not something you have recycled for the other 10 companies you would also like to work for. 

My top tip? Find an area you are passionate about and then do your research? Into sustainability? Maybe the firm you are applying for specialises in issuing green bonds? Incorporating this into your letter shows you have an idea about where you want to go (as a rule of thumb, being generic is not something I look for as cold as that might sound). It also shows you have taken the time to research the company and makes me feel, as a reader, that you can connect to the environment you are applying to be in. 

I will always read a cover letter and I will invariably know whether it is genuine or not. We all have Google too… so please, if you are Googling “cover letters for internship” at least try not to pick the top result and copy it verbatim.

Internships are a crucial step in creating your initial professional network. Not everyone is born into a network, some people have to work for it. Remember, if you get on an internship and make the right impression, permanent employment prospects are significantly higher. You give the potential employer a baseline of who you are as a person and that goes beyond any CV or job interview. 

If I have worked with you and liked you, I will pull for you in the next step of the process. The retention rate for interns where I have worked is high, so take this into consideration. All people want to see from you is a willingness to learn, to adapt and that you are someone worth investing their time in. There is nothing worse than hiring someone for a summer vacation scheme, to then see them fritter it away by being aloof or anti-social.

(ii) Graduate Schemes…

So, you have successfully graduated university (congratulations) and determined that you want to join an investment bank’s graduate scheme. First of all, good luck. Sadly, after all of the “network placements” have been exhausted the opportunities to hit the ground running in a cushy graduate scheme placement are difficult. If you have successfully converted your internship into a graduate scheme place, good for you. For the rest of you the hard work starts now.

How do I stand out from the crowd? Possibly the simplest and yet most complex question I have ever encountered. My personal preference is seeing people who have gone that extra mile. Perhaps the biggest piece of advice I can give people is to learn a language – and no, I do not mean French. Having a coding language on your CV immediately puts yourself at the head of the pack when it comes to my interest in you as an applicant. 

So much of front office work (trading/sales/research/dealing) moving into the middle office (risk/product control/accounting) is centred around your ability to analyse vast sums of data to draw conclusions. Whether that is to support your research ideas, to validate VAR numbers, having the ability to write queries to huge databases of data is golden. 

If you are an undergraduate reading this, I would urge you to take some time to learn a code – my suggestion would be python, but anything you can get your teeth into will suffice. Being a “technical” graduate is a major key.

For anyone reading this, I am happy to do a 5-minute CV review for you. By no means am I an authority on them, but as someone who has read maybe 1,000+ I should be able to point you in the right direction.

[3] The Reality

So, you have secured the bag and are about to embark on your career in finance. What should you expect? Honestly, it does not matter which position you take, the first year as a graduate is pretty rough. Not everyone who starts the scheme, finishes it. Not everyone gets employed. Think of it like a draft – as you go through your rotations, the better graduates start to make a name for themselves and may find themselves offered a desk or seat in a team ahead of schedule. This is your aim. No one wants to be the last pick, if you make it that far. 

So, what does this entail? Unfortunately, the glitz and glamour of banking often gloss over the realities of day-to-day life. If you are a trader? Expect a male dominated environment full of alpha males. Personally, I like the atmosphere, but it is not for everyone: while the culture is certainly becoming less LADS, LADS, LADS, it is still fairly prevalent. Expect to be doing a lot of grunt work, with incredibly long hours and occasionally being asked to fetch lunch for the rest of the desk. This isn’t meant to be some dystopian view of trading, but it can be an incredibly high pressurised environment and the people you are working with want to test you to see whether you can cope.

Those who want to get on will do the hours, the lunch runs, take the banter and perform. It can be exhausting, but did you really get into this for a calm 9-5? Top tip – if you work on a desk that covers Asia, be prepared to become incredibly antisocial with regards to your life over the next few months. Outside of training the atmosphere is certainly more relaxed, but the commitment and drive to excel remain the same. You are expected to put in the hours (a side note: most firms require you to opt out of your working hours agreement) and get the work done. 

If you work in mergers & acquisitions, these hours can become days – but that is the life you lead at least for a bit. If you can handle the hours, the learning curve, the pace of the environment you are working in, then banking and generally financial services are an incredible place to work.

The benefits of going through all the initial “why am I doing this?” is that once you have your legs under you, the work becomes incredibly rewarding. Whether you need to create a new risk model that the entire bank uses for capital regulatory reasons, implement a new trading strategy, create a new financial product to offer clients, complete a deal, finish a media campaign or whatever else, banking is constantly about creating and moving forward. There are few environments that replicate the pace and general intellectual interest that banking can offer you.

[4] Big Firms Do Not Matter…

Everyone loves the prestige and casual gloating to friends and acquaintances regarding the firm you work for. Your parents love to humble brag on Facebook about you: “so proud of my baby getting a job offer from [insert tier one bank here]”. It is what it is, in any walk of life. So why am I telling you that big firms don’t matter? Well, it is all a matter of perspective. I worked for two of the world’s biggest banks by any definition. 

Sure, I learned a lot and was taught well, but did I really contribute there? If I am being honest, probably not as much as I would like. The firm I work for now is probably a third of the size of my last company, yet my enjoyment levels are incomparable. Why? I get to do more. Never be afraid of applying for a position or role in a smaller firm – without question, you are empowered to make more decisions and actually impact your surroundings far sooner. 

I am currently a key piece (my boss told me…) in an enormous initiative at my bank. My decisions impact everyone from traders to risk managers to portfolio managers and sales people. I would never be in this position in any of the firms I previously had worked in. Sometimes, being in a smaller environment elevates your learning curve. You have to learn how to manage, to lead and to make decisions because there is no one else – there is just you.

If you can get into a “big” firm, absolutely do so. The level of teaching and support is unparalleled. However, in my own experience, I have learned more about myself, more about my profession and more about what makes me happy in the past two years than I have maybe in the last 6-8 of my careers. The grim reality of your working life is that you are a number on a spreadsheet to someone infinitely better paid than you. When someone said that to me, things started to make more sense. The bigger the firm, the smaller the entry you are. Learn everything you can, do as much as you can and if you ever feel restricted or constrained by their approach to talent development, take a look elsewhere. It took me five companies and to leave Canary Wharf to find somewhere I truly loved working. While moving to a new country is possibly a bit extreme, my number one piece of advice is to always reach for your worth.

If anyone wants to have a general chat about the financial services industry or investment banking in particular, please reach out to me on Twitter – I am more than happy to answer any questions. If there is any desire to see something else along these lines, I would be happy to write about how to nail the perfect interview.

Until next time.

Joe

David Simmons

A life can change in an instant and someone’s behaviour can dictate another person’s life. I woke up one morning and decided I wanted to make a difference. Certain situations made me realise more had to be done. Why sit back and just watch it happen? Are we then as bad as those that do bad things if we do nothing at all?

My name is David Simmons, I am 23 from Dagenham and I am the Director of Flick Trick Sports and Founder and Director of Changing Lives in Harlow CIC. 

In 2017, a 6-year-old threatened me with a knife when I was working in a school in North London. I dealt with the situation the best I could talking calmly using all the experience I had. The child was swinging and waving the kitchen knife saying ‘he wanted to kill me’ there was no personal vendetta against me I knew this child needed help. 

My biggest worry was that he could have ended up hurting himself, finally after a frantic few minutes he hurled the knife up in the air landing inches away from me. The situation was finished but my own personal woes never went. I was worried of voicing my concerns as the school wanted it to be kept quiet, I was concerned about my job that if I spoke out, I would be disciplined I knew this situation wasn’t going to get sorted and I was told to not ‘overreact’. 

I knew it was just going to get swept under the carpet. Things were said but I continued my role as long as I could and a few months later I had left the school to join another in Harlow. 

I love my job, teaching young children different sports and keeping them active. During my time in Harlow I also coach a migrant team called Northbrooks FC funded by Harlow Council. During my time coaching Northbrooks a group of young children were bullying another child and trying to take his bike. I intervened and stopped them but with this came a torrent of abuse, these children were 8 years of age. I asked them why they do this, and their answer was ‘there’s nothing else for us to do’

This instantly made me want to do something maybe the thought of the earlier incident with the 6-year-old made me even more determined. The next I began speaking to my colleague Ben Doyle (He is the Director of SK Sports) and I said to him with both our companies we can make a real difference in this area, let’s do something! 

Whilst researching it was made clear the anti-social behaviour was on the increase up 30% from last year in Harlow and more and more young people getting involved in drug related crimes, with direct links to Cambridge, London and Stanstead via M11, Harlow is on forefront of drug gangs. 

After a few months of preparing and lots of emails being sent to and from we managed to receive funding from Harlow Council and in September 2018 we created the Changing Lives Project. Our aim is to help young vulnerable children who are being exploited by county lines, children that need motivation and inspiration. We have divided a plan to pick up the most vulnerable by mini bus so that no gang members can exploit the vulnerable.

Initially this project was on a pilot, we had to prove and show that this project made a difference. In no doubt I felt that this was going to make a difference, but we had to prove it… on the way we have gained support from Essex Police, NHS Harlow, MP Robert Halfon and local council leaders. We also have referrals from social services, schools and parents and in the first 6 weeks we had over 100 children attend in the first term. 

This was only the beginning and from this 50% of children that attend have now joined an outside sports club. One child case has been closed with social services due to his work at the project of learning key values and the consequences of carrying knives and drugs. 

We have also appeared on BBC News, BBC Look East, Heart FM, Essex Live, ITV Anglia, Talk Radio with Jeremy Kyle. I was also very honoured to be called on to appear on the BBC 2 show Victoria Derbyshire: Knife Crime Epidemic. We are also in talks to appear in a new documentary. 

We are now in the 5th month and we have now got over 30 young people attending every Tuesday and Thursday, we are hoping to spread the project nationwide and in talks with a number of London boroughs. Due to the increase in knife crime this project is even more important. 

Ben and I have also just started working within a secondary school, hoping to use the same model and technique we use at the project. We are also hoping to have our own venue in the centre of Harlow! 

If you believe you can make a difference, be proud and go for it! 

Thanks,

David 

@Changingl1ves 

@DavidJSimmons

IG: DavidSimmonss 

IG: Changing_l1ves

 changinglivesinharlow@gmail.com

Flossie May

Tell us about your talent/business? How does it compare to what you wanted to do when you were younger? How did you get into it?

Hey, my name is Flossie-May, but people mainly know me as Floss. When I’m not working my two jobs in the week, I am a beauty photographer. I have always had other jobs alongside my photography as a means of support. In fact, for the last few months I didn’t have a job at all which was my choice and focused on my beauty photography.

If I were to read this interview 5 years ago when I was 19, I would have been so confused. Why? Because I have offered many services before finding myself as a photographer.  I went from online fashion styling (now known as virtual styling) which started to attract a few celebs attention like Heather Sanders, offered website designing, brand consulting and oh also went into gaining a beauty qualification which I have never used. But at the age of 19 I found myself very lost and confused in what I wanted to do and achieve, because I didn’t quite have the patience and I found social media was becoming too much, and I disappeared. Not forgetting that I was surrounded by many people achieving their goals, and so quickly too. 

So, I guess you would like to know how I actually became a photographer and bounced back?

My answer to this, is I still don’t know myself. I have always been in the art industry whether it was performing arts to design. So, I have always appreciated the visual aspects, I guess. Going back 5 years when I was a fashion stylist, I struggled finding the images I wanted to use, or rather not being able to use them for copyright reasons but photography still wasn’t my answer back then. It was almost as if I was blinded from the obvious. Funnily enough, I have always been the best at taking images whether it was just the odd selfie, or a group shot, I somehow always had the eye and knowledge on how to create such a great satisfying image, yet I still didn’t see this as a career option. 

Tell us about a major L you took along the way. Did you feel like giving it all up? What motivated you to keep going? How did you bounce back from your L?

My major learning curve throughout all this is to stop being indecisive! This for me had many setbacks because I had lost or confused my clientele. I wish I set myself a business plan that I was at least 80% happy with, rather than keep changing what I wanted to do or in fact keep changing my brands approach or name. This is why now I have stripped everything back, and now being my true self, and also offering a very clear service in what I do now and using my name for exposure. 

Of course, I felt like giving it all up, and I had a few attempts of it too. But I started to lose who I was when I tried. I thrive the most when I’m travelling the UK as a photographer. I was someone who had literal no self-esteem or self-belief (there are reasons behind this, good ones too) however, when I am out there working alongside many other talented individuals that’s when you’ll meet and get to know the true Floss, and this is when I am the happiest. I can feel already that 2019 will be the year. Where I let go of my old habits, and really start pushing myself to become the best of what I do and also the best version of myself. 

What advice would you give your younger self? If you could go back to the beginning of your journey, what wouldn’t you do to ensure you get it right?

Believe in yourself first. There is absolutely no point at all believing in a project if you do not believe in yourself first. Go out there, tick off your bucket list, have fun, be adventurous and then sit down and plan your next move. Because from that moment everything will then fall into place. Of course, there will be failed attempts, but you learn from it, improve from it and overcome it. You, yourself are the most important part of everything you do and without realising you are the biggest input and matter. 

Regards,

Floss

You can follow Floss on Instagram and Twitter @flossstudio!