Monday, 9 November 2015


In a last minute rush to find a good holiday book after I somehow misplaced the latest Bridget Jones' Diary novel, I came across a very interesting auto-biography 'The Vogue Factor' written by the former Vogue Australia editor Kirstie Clements. As successful business women go, Clements is the perfect example of how determination and motivation can really help you climb the career ladder. In 1985 Cements took on the role of receptionist at Vogue with very limited previous experience. By 1999.. just fourteen years later, Clements was crowned editor, proving that with a little (or rather, lot) of enthusiasm and passion, you really can become top of your game. In this article I'll take a huge chunk of inspiration from Kristie and her winning formula for success so that those of you that haven't got round to reading the book (which you absolutely must!) can get a bite. 

1. Just go for it!

Even though she had no previous employment in the fashion industry or even as a receptionist, Clements went for the job. 'Imagine' she exclaims in the book 'Imagine the world that would open up!' In a report by Hewlett Packard (as in HP Computers and Printers) it was found that men were most likely to apply for jobs even when they were completely under-qualified for them (only met 60% of the given criteria) Whilst women on the other hand only seemed to apply if they met 100% of the criteria listed! So in short, think like a man, or in other words, don't think twice! Apply for the jobs that you would love to have, qualifications and experience are only 50% of the job, enthusiasm and personality count more than you would think in an interview....

2. Appearance counts

When interviewed for the position by glamorous Vogue employee Norma Mary Marshall, she was told by Norma that 'I've seen twenty girls, and you're the last, but you're the prettiest' in a humorous manner. I'm sure this was meant as a sort of hidden-truth joke, but the truth is, appearance really does count! I one worked for a company that hired their staff based entirely on appearance (they were very unpolitical correct like that). Of course after realizing that you couldn't just throw someone with zero previous experience into a job with very little training and expect them to be brilliant, based entirely on their physical appearance, I was shortly let go (whoops!) Of course most workplaces wont have such a Nazi-style view on who they hire, but dressing fashionably and appropriately, wearing understated but beautifully applied makeup and smelling nice really does go a long way when it comes to job interviews! You could have all the qualifications in the world but turn up in a two-piece Adidas shell suit and the odds may not be entirely in your favor!

3. Put yourself forward for everything!

Norma Mary Marshall had told Kirstie in the interview that she had already picked the girl she wanted to hire and was to give her a trial shift for a week and then her on for a week afterwards and she would then proceed to choose who would be better for the job. In response to this, Clements, nervously and impulsively replied 'Why do't you put me on first? If I work out then I can just stay and save you the trouble!' And that is how the job was hers! Even though Clements started purely on the reception desk, using the switchboard (that she had never used before) and greeting visitors, she would often volunteer for other jobs. For example, she notised that the fashion stock room needed tidying (as she points out to future interns; 'fashion stock rooms always need tidying!') after that she would ask if other employees needed any help packing suitcases or organising the beauty cupboard. This got her noticed. Note: people will always notice hard workers!

4. Just ask..

Clement's first promotion happened not even six months after she joined. She claimed the position of an assistant in the Vogue promotions department. How did she get this promotion? She just asked! She put the idea forward to Nancy Pilcher, the then exceutive editior of Vogue Australia, who Clements admitted that she had gained quite the girl crush on, that if any assistant positions were to come up, that she would be considered. Asking can go a long way in the workplace, as they saying goes; 'don't ask, don't get!' 

5. Passion, Passion, Passion

One thing that Clements had, that shines through her personality in the book, is the absolute genuine passion and love that she has for both the company and fashion itself. The glamour, the finesse, the fabulous, she was engulfed. She states more than once in the book, that working at Vogue wasn't like any other job, or like a job at all 'I would do it for free' she exclaims enthusiastically when talking about her job. 

6. Knowing your worth

When working in the promotions department, Clements was given the chore of ironing 'what seemed like four-hundred' white linen pants, in protest, Clements exclaimed again rather impulsively to Nancy 'I'm too smart to iron for a living. My mother didn't raise me to do this.' Although such a strong approach may not work on every employer, there is something to knowing your worth. If you feel like your skills and talents are going unnoticed, or even entirely unused, let someone know! No one goes up in the world by just sitting around doing what they're told even if they're unhappy about and know that they are worth more!

7. Knowing when something's not good enough, and fixing it!

Without giving too much away, throughout the her life Clements switches careers/publishing houses etc, but her heart was always with Australian Vogue. During her time away from the job, an English journalist, who had not worked exclusively in the fashion and beauty industry before takes over the role of Editor in Chief. She unfortunately made the mistake of not listening to the readers and the press, making far too many stereotypes about Australia (Once publishing an issue featuring pretty much only Australian faces (Kylie Minogue, Rolf Harris to name a few) and harshly criticizing local Australian designers, which I think it's fair to say,the public did not take too well to. Over her reign, the popularity of the magazine plummeted immensely, advertisers pulled their contracts and Vogue seemed to be in quite a pickle! Soon after, Clements was (at this point many years had gone by and she was a lot more experienced) employed as editor. Vogue was home to her, and it was all wrong. So, she fixed it! She claims that someone had said to her that needed not only to 'turn the boat around' but to 'raise a sinking ship'. Taking matters into her own hands, Clements re-hired some of the original Vogue employees that had lost their jobs or fled on a lifeboat away from the disaster waiting to happen, and not only raised the ship and turned it round, but took it apart, rebuilt it and created the most fabulous new-edition millionaire's yacht complete with 24-carat-gold handles and a chandelier! She re-launched the magazine complete with fabulous launch party and regained it's former glory!

So there we have it, a sort-of-review in the form of a rather spectacular (and quite long - sorry!) listagram. I for one hope to take on many of the things that I have learnt from this book in my own career and hope that you will too! If you haven't read The Vogue Effect I thoroughly suggest you do! The book is filled with juicy tit-bits and stories from the darker side of one of the most opulent and extravagant industries in the world! Five Stars!

Abigail x 

1 comment

© Meet me in Mayfair | All rights reserved.
Blogger Template by pipdig