Me & My Career: Dominique Gardiner
Senior Press Officer for Schuh and creator of fashion blog It’s A Style Thing
She is the most stylish Brummie living in London who often hob-nobs with the great and good of the fashion industry. She’s also just launched the only style blog you’ll ever need – itsastylething.com. Afua Adom sits down with Dominique Gardiner to figure out the secrets to her very fashionable success.
When I was a little girl I wanted to be 101 different things from a chef, to an actress to a TV presenter and even a teacher at one point. My toys really influenced me, I had a sweet shop toy selling real sweets and I would set it up in my living room and charge my family and friends. I would buy sweets from the corner shop and sell them for twice the price. I was 7 or 8 years old and already had my own profitable business at home, I don’t know what happened but I should really be a millionaire entrepreneur by now. I never had an interest in fashion until my late teens.
I never really thought about a career in fashion until my second year of university. I studied Broadcast Media and Media Writing at the University of Derby because I thought I wanted to work in television as a director or producer. I did numerous work experience placements at the BBC and loved it all so much, I think I just like being busy and learning new things. However the more I started reading fashion magazines, buying clothes and putting outfits together the more I thought I should have studied fashion after college. I didn’t discover PR until my final year at University. I did a PR module and my coursework involved setting up a fictional PR company and organising an event within a set budget. I did a launch event for a new fashion magazine and I would have had fashion shows, pop up shops, celebs the lot. My lecturer was so impressed and told me I should consider a career in PR. After doing work experience placements at magazines and working in retail I finally landed a job as the Press Assistant at schuh. As they say the rest is history, I love my job and I’m so excited about where my career is going. I am now Senior Press Officer at schuh and I have recently launched my own fashion and Lifestyle blog, It’s a Style Thing itsastylething.com
As the Senior Press Officer at schuh my job involves being able to multitask, there are always 101 things going on. I have to look out for opportunities for the brand, keep an eye on, on-brand celebrities, make sure I get the best coverage in fashion magazines, fashion websites and overall create an awareness of the brand. There is quite a lot of event work too so making sure the schuh parties are amazing and smaller events get the response I want are key for taking the brand forward.
For It’s a Style Thing I have to be my own PR, wise words from my little brother. He told me to treat my blog like I treat schuh and shout about it as much as possible. Promoting myself isn’t something that comes naturally to me, I am always talking about how great other people are so I guess now is my time. I am out and about in London for work quite a lot already so in addition to my schuh commitments I will be doing other things that I can blog about for It’s a Style Thing. I eat out regularly but now instead of just posting pictures on Instragram I will be doing short write ups for the blog so in effect I am adding to my work load and starting to think like a blogger.
It’s a Style Thing is my style outlet and a place to share the fabulous experiences I have living in London. My family and friends have been on my case for years telling me to start a fashion blog and I never thought I could do it until now. I just woke up one day and thought, I think they might be right, let me give it a try. I think I needed to get to a point where I have enough experience of the fashion industry and enough contacts to help me on my journey.
It’s a Style Thing is important to me because it’s an insight in to who I am and what I am about. It’s also about the people I know and the things they do, I want to include as many of the talented people around me as possible. I have had so much help, support and encouragement from others its’ been a little bit overwhelming to be honest, so many of my family and friends believe in me and what I am trying to do. My mom always says “you should live good with people” and that really sticks with me. Be nice to people because you never know when you might need help.
My biggest sacrifice so far would be leaving Birmingham to start my career in London. It was so hard at first because none of my friends lived in London, I missed them and I couldn’t go on nights out at short notice. Fast forward 6 years and some of my closest friends have moved to London too, I have met some amazing new people and I have a fun career that I love. I am adding another string to my bow with It’s A Style Thing and I am still learning so much. I never thought I would still be in London as I never planned on living here but at the moment I couldn’t live anywhere else apart from New York, that’s the dream.