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How She Got There: Jaclyn Morse, Fashion Designer


Name: Jaclyn Morse
Age: 29
Job Title and Description: Fashion Designer
College/Major: Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising/Fashion Design
Website: www.FreeEndearment.com
Twitter Handle: @FreeEndearment

What does your current job entail? Is there such a thing as a typical day?

Jaclyn Morse: A typical day?  I'm not sure I grasp the concept.  My job entails everything from design, to photography, to accounting, to data entry (and then some).  You name it, I do it, which means my job description changes a lot.  Starting a business has been way more challenging than I ever anticipated, but it has given me the opportunity to push my limits further than I ever thought possible. 

What is the best part of your job?

JM: The best part of my job is seeing a collection come together from beginning to end.  You wouldn't believe how many steps go into making that happen! Once all samples have been made, perfected, and photographed, I get to put the story together into line sheets.  That's when I can finally take a step back and [see] all the hard work.  I honestly don't think there is anything more rewarding than that moment.

What was your first entry-level job in your field and how did you get it?

JM: I got a job working as a stylist for an indie record label after I graduated.  It was one of those totally random situations where I knew someone, who knew someone, who knew someone.  Generally, those leads don't pan out—especially in Los Angeles-- but I was really fortunate [to meet] such genuine people.

Before you created your brand, you worked at a record label company! How did that help your career?

JM: The record label went bust before it got off the ground.  Luckily, it led me to my next job as a personal assistant to a music producer.  I was a 20 year-old with no experience, [but] handling things that were way over my head.  That's where I built up my confidence, which was essential to taking the leap towards [creating] Free Endearment.

What is one thing you wish you knew about your industry when you first started out that you know now?

JM: I wish I understood the true value of criticism.  I used to interpret negative feedback as a personal attack rather than an outside point of view that I could actually learn from.  Looking back at some of my early projects, it's so obvious now what they were referring to, but I just couldn't see it.  The mind has a tricky way of only showing us what we want to see.

Who is one person who changed your professional life for the better?

JM: My therapist.  She helped me to better understand myself, which made everything around me that much clearer.  

What words of wisdom do you find most valuable?

"How you do something is how you do everything." -Not sure who it came from, but I think I saw it on Facebook. 

"You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life." -Winston Churchill

I keep a journal of inspirational quotes that I come across.  Reading through it can be so empowering and enlightening.

What is one mistake you made along the way and what did you learn from it?

JM: There is no way I could ever [choose] just one!  When I think [about] the countless mistakes I've made, it's a wonder I was able to get anywhere in this business.  Even so, I wouldn't give those lessons up for anything in the world. 

Where do you see yourself (and your brand) in five years?

JM: It's impossible to know where I'll be [in] five years.  I feel that if my life is that predictable, I am doing something very wrong.  I used to think [that] I needed to have a plan and a timeline for everything, and it consumed and even limited me.  I was always living for the future and putting things off for [another] time.  Now, I prefer to live each day thankful for where I am and who is in my life.

What do you look for when considering hiring someone?

JM:  Passion and humility. Someone who is passionate can accomplish anything, and someone who is humble can learn anything.

What advice would you give to a 20-something with similar aspirations?

JM: Go into every situation with your mind as a blank canvas.  It's easy when you are young [and] to want to show the world how much you know, but that gets in the way of growth.  If you think you already know everything, you unintentionally ignore so many opportunities to learn new and different ways of doing things.  No matter who you are or what your age [is], you always have room to grow and improve.  The best way to do that is to listen to and observe others.

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