Sara, visual merchandising coordinator, Farfetch
I met Sara at my current job (last one in a while, I promise!) and we bonded through a shared appreciation for sexy yoga teachers and bad karaoke. She also offers the best advice on (in no particular order): London’s best vegan spots, your new favourite band, road trip destinations, MAC lipsticks and a career dedicated to fashion.
What is your job, exactly? I coordinate the Visual Merchandising department at Farfetch. My department makes sure we are showing the customer the right product in an appealing visual way. This goes from analyzing merchandising reports to track products and brands performance, managing brands, research trends and competitors… so we can create the best selection of items to be featured in newsletters, edits and across all category pages of the website. Before that, I was working for Vogue as the photo coordinator, in Portugal.
What was your first job? My first “real” job was as a fashion photographer’s assistant. All of the jobs I had were related to fashion, even though I have worked in different areas – showrooms, PR office, photo studios, Art department – they all feel part of the same world, I just got to see different angles of it, and that is an advantage whichever my next step will be. I feel I have a great insight of the fashion business and definitely learned a lot from my previous experiences regarding that.
What did you study? Did you do internships? I studied Design of Visual Communication at the Fine Arts University in Lisbon. I interned for a magazine, while I was studying, for around one year, putting most of the whole issue together before it went to print. I remember staying up till 5am doing it alone in my bedroom and having classes the next day, it was truly insane. And it wasn’t paid. I still don’t understand why I didn’t quit after the first issue.
What did you want to be when you were a kid? Journalist, I think. I remember seeing women in the news and thinking how exciting it was to travel around the world and be on top of what’s happening out there. But a while back, I found notebooks from when I was a kid with a lot of (horrendous) drawings of dresses. When I saw it I remembered doing them when I was kid, in the afternoon. I would sit in my grandparent’s living room and just draw dresses with huge bows and a lot of tulle. I would always do the front and the back views and write down details about the pieces. So I guess there was this period where I wanted to be a fashion designer, even though I completely erased that from my memory, until I found those notebooks a few years ago.
Is there a piece of advice you would give your younger self? Don’t stick to the norms and trust your guts more.
Did you ever have a mentor? No, on the contrary. I feel I always had people discouraging me from what I wanted to do and not getting enough support.
What is your work schedule? Officially 9 to 6, actually it’s more from 9 to 6.30 or 7. Every once in a while I work a couple of hours during the weekend. But the work environment in the office is very relaxed, so I take a few breaks here and then. I prefer staying late because I hate leaving things unfinished for the next day.
What do you wear to work? Do you think it matters? I basically wear the same at work and off. Except my old Vans maybe. It matters that you feel comfortable in your clothes, and by comfortable I mean yourself. I wouldn’t like to work in a place where I would have to dress in a certain way that had nothing to do with my own personal style. Clothes, make-up, hair, those are all part of how people expresses themselves, being able to be the same Sara at work that I am outside of it is very important. If I have a presentation/important meeting/event I’ll probably put on something that makes me feel more confident. If I went out the night before I’ll probably go for something that makes me as invisible as possible. Same rules apply for non-work related situations.
Do you have any side projects? Does taking photos count as a side project? It’s not really a project, its just something I do. And every once in a while I publish a book with some of my favourites – whether a recap of the year, or a selection from a road trip. And I try to keep my website updated.
Who should I speak to next? My friend Pedro, who works for Google Maps.