Jessica Delee is the founder and designer behind RoseRags, an upcycled line of fresh separates. When she’s not crafting her incredibly wearable designs, she’s working as a wardrobe stylist, and as an assistant buyer at a store in San Diego, California that showcases local designers. You can find RoseRags on Facebook here, facebook.com/myroserags and Twitter here.
What does a typical Thursday look like for you, starting from when you wake up – to heading to bed?
My typical Thursday goes something like this: Wake up and check my inbox. Go over all social media sites to gage the activity. Facebook…Twitter…Facebook…Pinterest…etc. I had NO IDEA how important social media was to running your own business, but luckily I was addicted even before I started RoseRags.
After cruising around on the internet and checking all of my emails, I head to the little shop where I work. I am an assistant buyer full time at a local shop in San Diego. Buying is something that I had always wanted to get into, but had no idea how. One day, I contacted the owner. I wanted to learn the business of buying, predicting trends, stocking a store, going to market, etc. As it turns out, the owner was looking to get pregnant and had been searching around for somebody to watch her store so she could focus on her family life. Little did I know that seeking out what I thought to be my “career path” would lead me to start my own clothing line. The shop that I work at is a San Diego power house shop for emerging local designers looking to reach the public at store level. Back to my Thursday…
I can monitor my social media, process website sales (thanks to Paypal!), and even sew while I’m at the shop. Sometimes I sew all day between customer interaction and store duties. I am always in constant contact with the team that helps me bring RoseRags to life. Every day I doodle down ideas, draw sketches, and do online research. I update my website, upload pictures, and reach out to other local shops. It feels so good when I create something on the spot, tag it, and put it on the floor to sell. It’s a wonderful feeling of accomplishment.
Each day at the shop, I get to be in contact with all the other local designers that we carry. Emails, phone calls, seeing them face to face. It is amazing to build these relationships with other local creatives, and it is nice to be a part of the creative community. When I need stock for photo shoots, or random styling gigs, I know I can always pull from the creative people around me and be able to showcase their work on some random media platform, be it magazine editorial, live news, blogs, other shops, etc. (As you can see from this random blurb about my typical Thursday, there isn’t really what you would call a schedule and I never do know what will come up… )
What was your first job out of school?
I went to UC Santa Cruz and got a degree in Anthropology. Knowing fully well that I wasn’t going to become an anthropologist, I was just at such a loss after graduation. But, I had the wonderful opportunity to assistant teach children’s art in the Santa Cruz mountains. I was also a full time nanny. I got to make art every day and play in the mountains with the sweetest little girl. Although quite fulfilling, I knew I had to leave Santa Cruz and search for a career path that was still going to fulfill my creative curiosities…
What are the 3 skills you require most to do your job well?
NETWORKING, NETWORKING, and NETWORKING: the three skills required to be in the field of fashion. It is all about meeting people in this industry. Meeting them, remembering who they are and what they do, and connecting with them through social media and email.
BE FEARLESS. Create. Beautiful. Art. Don’t be afraid to put it out there. Express yourself. Don’t worry if the public will like it or not. Be true to yourself and just go for it- hit it hard. Of course you have to take into account your “client” and your brand…but don’t be afraid to take risks and put yourself out there.
…AND RELENTLESS. Of course there are days when you don’t feel like creating. Or you’re drained. Or tired. Keep up the momentum. I have realized that when I put in 110 percent, I ALWAYS get it back. It is pretty exhilarating. Days when I slack off, the universe slacks off too.
What do you love most about your career?
I love that I get to be myself. I love that I get to make friends and help my friends along this creative journey. I love that I get to creatively express myself. I love building new relationships in the industry. I love that I never know what’s around the next corner… who’s going to want to collaborate. What photo shoot project I will get to be a part of next… I love that I feel like the sky is the limit when it comes to RoseRags (maybe that’s part of being in your late 20s, but until then I’ll soak it up!)
Do you have any warnings?
Do I have warnings? The fashion world always seems so glamorous and fun, which at times it certainly is. But people don’t get to see what really goes on behind the scenes…in a nutshell, a ton of work. You are always “plugged in.” Always doing ten thousand things at once.
Also, having thick skin is a MUST, because people are critical. That’s just in their nature.
Don’t always say yes. This one took me a while to learn because in the beginning, you can really get caught up in taking on every project that presents itself to you. It’s okay to be choosy, and in fact, it’s better to be choosy. Pick your projects like you would pick a date!
If you could try a different career on for a year, what would it be?
If I could try a different career for a year I would work at a high-power fashion mag as Creative Director! I’d like to take a spin in the corporate world of fashion for a bit. Most likely, in New York City!