'How I Work Full Time While Traveling the World'
If you’d like to spend a little less time in a stuffy office, and a little more time working from a coffee shop in Paris, or a chic studio apartment in Barcelona, then you need to meet Doone Roisin.
At 26, the fashion editor has cultivated the kind of lifestyle most of us only dream about, traveling the world while working remotely for finder.com.au, a rapidly-growing shopping comparison website. Before taking off to Europe, Doone held the highly coveted role as social media editor at Australia’s largest online store, THE ICONIC, where she managed the brand’s blog and social platforms while running between press appointments, showings, and fashion events.
Here, we sat down with Doone to talk about the unlikely path she took to scoring her ultimate dream job—and how you can too.
What did you study and where?
Advanced Diploma in Visual Communication, specialising in graphic and web design. (Not what you would think given my current role!)
What was your first “real” job?
After college I landed a gig working for a PR events company called Fashionista Events, being a small business I got to do everything from working on sell out events for 900 people to the marketing side of things. On the side I was working for and contributing to a niche magazine.
What did you want to do when you were growing up?
Absolutely no idea! It hit me in senior year that the dream was to be the Editor of Harper’s Bazaar. (Dream big, right?) In boarding school I had this huge collage on my wall with tear-outs from all my favourite issues of the magazine.
Is that when you first knew you wanted to work in fashion?
Even though I’d had the lightbulb moment in school I don’t think I really understood what it meant to work in fashion. During college I started realising what my interests were and that was that. The fashion world was calling me.
How did you get your foot in the door at THE ICONIC?
THE ICONIC was very much a case of the right timing—and really hard work. The online retailer had just launched when I was interning for a surf label, Vanguard Clothing, in Brisbane. The Vanguard guys told me about this new online store the label was stocked in and planted the idea to set my sights on working there. Next thing I knew, I had packed my bags and was moving to Sydney with that very goal in mind. It was a big bonus that they connected the dots for me with people in the company.
Fast forward a few weeks later and THE ICONIC was advertising for interns. After getting the internship I worked my butt off—outside of my internship responsibilities I would wake up early to do work on their social media before starting work at my actual job, and then again during my lunch break and in the evenings. One thing lead to another and in just three short (crazy) weeks I had landed my first full time dream job.
Does THE ICONIC still take on interns?
Yes but it’s a bit trickier, the landscape has changed a lot in the last few years. Gone are the days you can just walk into a business and work for free to gain experience. I’m not entirely clear on the new laws but to protect both parties it’s a requirement for internships to contribute towards course study. Heck, it may even have to be paid now!
Do you think internship experience is essential to work in marketing/pr/editorial?
For me it definitely was! I was eager to get into the industry and interned wherever I could to pick up extra skills and meet people, especially because I didn’t follow the direct study path. Interning for Map Magazine, Vanguard the Label, and THE ICONIC were really beneficial and looking back these were all key stepping stones for my career development. You learn the value of hard work, what it’s really like inside of the industry and then there’s all of the wonderful people you start meeting. Some of my closest friends are from those early days. Plus, if you’re really lucky you might land a job!)
What do you think your strongest professional skill is, and how did it help you to get to where you are today in your career?
Networking, for sure. I’m a social butterfly and love meeting new people and talking their ear off. It’s something that’s always come easy to me because I find people so interesting, and along the way I’ve met or been connected with a lot of legends. Having the confidence to approach someone you’ve never met before to say hello can lead to wonderful things.
Tell us about your role at finder.
My role at finder as Fashion Editor is the dream job. After signing my contract I packed up my life and moved overseas to travel and work remotely. The company knew my heart was set on leaving Australia for a while so they worked with me to make it become a reality. Finder is very forward thinking when it comes to staff culture and works hard to accommodate people who want to work outside of the box. I’m super lucky in that I get to live wherever I want to in the world and write about fashion, all day, everyday. Right now I’m working from my apartment in Barcelona, and will be in Paris next.
Who do you report to at finder?
Only the coolest.boss.ever. Jeremy Cabral is one of the founders of the company and head of publishing and editorial. He’s a very smart guy with an entrepreneurial mindset unmatched to anyone I’ve ever met.
What are the benefits of working externally?
Working remotely gives me the freedom to travel the world and live a different sort of gypsy lifestyle. I find myself being stimulated by the excitement and inspiration of each city, and it means I can change directions with the wind and go wherever I want.
And the drawbacks?
Trust me when I tell you, there are drawbacks! Coming from THE ICONIC and IMG, working with a full team of fashion addicts on a daily basis to working solo is a really big challenge. I thrive off other people’s energy, so it’s been a big adjustment working alone. If you’re having a bad hair day, you don’t have someone to lift your spirits and take a walk with.
Also, there’s the whole timezone thing. I’m often up quite early or super late on Skype with my team. It can be tricky if you need something actioned right then and there but you’ve missed the boat until the following day.
Is finder hiring right now? How should people apply for jobs?
Yes, finder are indeed hiring right now! The company is in the process of expanding, we’ve just launched our dot com and opened an office in LA, with a London office in the works too. The company has a lot to offer whether it be within tech, health, finance, fashion, travel, and lifestyle. Keep your eye on thecareers page or hit me up on Twitter @dooneroisin if there’s something in particular you have your eye on.
What personality traits do you think make someone suited for a career in the fashion industry?
A can-do attitude and hard work ethic! Plus being a smiler helps. Being happy and always helpful inside an industry that’s fast-paced doesn’t go unnoticed.
Do you think it’s more important who you know or what you know in your line of work?
Who you know is definitely an advantage in the fashion industry. In saying that, if you persevere in achieving your goals and you produce great work, you will always shine bright.
What are a few practical things a university student wanting a career like yours can do right now to get the wheels in motion?
Being a uni drop-out, my first bit of advice is that you don’t need to go to university. It’s not for everyone and there are other avenues to get to the desired destination. If you already know that about yourself, save yourself the debt and look for the new path.
If it’s writing and content creation you’re interested in then start a blog while building your social presence in a way that’s authentic and interesting and inspiring to others. It’s becoming more and more valuable as we move forward in the social-savvy-sphere to have a voice. I also read a lot of sites every day and keeping up-to-date with pop culture and the industry will build your knowledge base. I also like keeping up with the tech side of things!
When it comes to lifestyle design, buy Tim Ferris’s book, "4 Hour Work Week." It helps you identify what your dream work/life situation is and gives you steps to put the wheels in the motion.
Most importantly, start networking—go to meet-ups, say yes to everything, and ask your friends/family/acquaintances to invite you along as their plus one to events. Engage with your favourite influencers on social media (and follow everyone), reach out to the people in the industry who inspire you and invite them to coffee.
You can find Doone on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat @dooneroisin.