When you study fashion design, your career opportunities are truly endless. The fashion industry has so many interesting segments that allow for many diverse talents. All that is needed is a love of fashion and a creative and innovative flair.
When Lisa Telo completed her studies at the Design Academy of Fashion, she left as an aspiring fashion buyer. But as Lisa realised that this was not the career path for her, she used her talents to create a business that is truly innovative.
DAF Blog: What was your first job?
Lisa: Foschini, fashion-buyer trainee. Whilst doing projects I performed functions such as helping my mentor prepare for meetings and presentations on specific seasons. We would go through overseas samples and decide what theme and season it would be bought in to. We would meet with our suppliers who would show us their latest samples which we would choose from and place orders.
I found the work of a buyer is not creative enough for me.
DAF Blog: Who is your current employer and what is your title?
Lisa: Self employed, beauty industry.
Owner, www.fashion-templates.com – designed this site when I was fresh out of college as I felt it was virtually impossible to find unique fashion illustration templates without buying expensive books online. Most of which never show you a preview of what you’re buying. I sat with my current set of templates and added new faces and new poses and uploaded them to a website, with a shopping cart and it soon took off in the North American market. I’ve since added quite a few more template categories, maternity, full figure, kids, male etc.
I made it a .com and charged in dollars to widen my target market – I read up on SEO (search engine optimization) all day long in order to learn more about ranking well within Google.(I got a job in SEO soon after, thanks to my self-teachings!) I was earning the equivalent of a decent salary back then, the rand dollar exchange has minimized that a bit! Free websites have popped up all over; I saw a few of them using my templates even. Its how the internet works, you just have to evolve.
I use poses I find all over and add different faces and I now have 90+ templates to choose from, costing a minimum of $10 for a set of ten. You can pick and choose from all the categories. I also took the time to describe a bit about studying fashion, what you’d need and all the options for a fashion career. I am always happy to add anybody’s portfolio or articles to my site if any of you are keen to be a fashion writer or just to boost your career. The site currently gets 26 000 unique visitors a month (unique meaning the site doesn’t count repeat visits)
My site has a PR5 rank, which means Google has given it a 5/10 vote, 10 being as good as Google’s site itself. Most sites earn a PR2 within its lifetime as it’s a hard accolade to win. It won its title merely by being extremely relevant to its industry without spamming or uploading irrelevant material and it’s considered an authority site in its category. It ranks #1 on page one for most search terms such as ‘fashion templates, fashion illustration templates” and so on. I am quite proud of it.
DAF Blog: What does being an owner of a fashion template website entail? What are your day to day tasks?
Lisa: I have to manage the site, adding new content and uploading fashion illustration related info. I have to manage the sales, if any queries or complaints occur. It’s pretty much passive income as the entire site is automated.
DAF Blog: What is one of the highlights of your career of far?
Lisa: From a fashion perspective, I’d say being chosen out of 100’s of candidates for the Foschini job and Truworths offered me a job too – which I declined. That was a nice compliment. Also my website, which I get a lot of emails from all over the world thanking me for all the free information.
DAF Blog: How did studying at DAF help/prepare you to getting to where you are today?
Lisa: From a buying job perspective, DAF has a good name so they respected that I’d studied there. I had tons more fabric knowledge than any of the other girls. I think nothing can prepare you for the reality of the working world!
DAF Blog: What did you enjoy most about studying at DAF?
Lisa: Nice clean working conditions, students were so nice to work with. Teachers always took the time to give each one undivided attention. Expectations were high.