Having spent most of her time in employment since university working on the shop floor at Selfridges, where she is now a brand specialist, Samriddi Gurung has recently secured a new design assistant position at womenswear label Sahara London.
She secured the position after working closely with her INTOFashion mentor, Lisa Ferrie, who works as a senior accessories designer at John Lewis. Together they would meet and work on interview techniques, figuring out what brands Samriddi wanted to work for and how she could tailor her CV towards a specific brand. ‘It was figuring out what I wanted to do, which was good,’ Samriddi says. ‘We’ve tried to meet quite often but we email each other and have a monthly meet-up… Especially with getting the mentorship with Lisa, I feel I’ve had someone to produce work for. It’s someone to report to in a way, and it really helped to keep me going.’ Alongside the work with her mentor, she also took advantage of the masterclasses set up by FAD, specifically around reworking CVs and going about the job search.
‘Because I’m a brand specialist it can be very varied,’ says Samriddi, talking about what a typical day entails at Selfridges. ‘There are days I need to be on the shop floor but I also get to do the buying side of things, which has been interesting. So making sale and trade reports and doing customer analysis. It’s managing people as well, so training people and doing rotas. It’s a lot of different things in one.’
While Samriddi is looking forward to a job that’s off of the shop floor, securing that position has been a process. ‘I was definitely unsure as to what step I should take. I had done quite a few internships and had been applying for a lot of jobs. I was feeling like this wasn’t the right career for me but I knew what I wanted to do, which is why I became interested in joining INTOFashion,’ she says. ‘There were so many times I was thinking that I was never going to do design but with the mentorship I got to talk about it and was told not to give up. If I didn’t have that I feel I would be doing something else now.’
She also realised how important it is to take time for your mental health. ‘Especially working on the shop floor, it can really get to you sometimes,’ she explains. ‘I had to take action and feel like I was working towards something. That way I would feel better mentally. Even if I got rejected it was like, well at least I applied.’
She also, through the experience she’s had in both her personal endeavours and professional life, has some advice for budding designers. ‘Get straight to the point. A lot of the time it’s the HR people hiring you instead of the designers and so they don’t always care what your research inspiration is. They’re looking for what they want in the candidate profile.’