Hannah Rafter is the founder of The Intern 24/7 and a Fashion Editor and Community Manager at Enty. Thank you, Hannah, for taking the time to share your experience and insights!
Name: Hannah Rafter
Education: Fashion Management BA HONS degree from Nottingham Trent University
How did you determine what to study in college?
I knew I wanted to go into the fashion industry but wasn’t sure what area or department. I had always been creative and loved to write so I knew I wanted to l to explore lots of different areas. My university course taught me all areas of the fashion industry minus design, therefore it was perfect for figuring out what you wanted to do.
Can you walk me through your initial job search strategy and how you landed your first internship?
From university, I narrowed down some key areas I enjoyed so that’s where I started. I wanted to intern in London and ideally be for a brand/company I loved. During the time I was looking for internships it was incredibly competitive therefore, I knew I had to apply to more places I hadn’t heard of. I started to apply to niche, start-up companies that had a great reputation but weren’t yet well known. This is my advice to anyone applying for internships now, start small. ASOS and Burberry once we’re a small company… so don’t be put off just because you haven’t heard of them.
You gained a lot of experience in fashion straight out of the gate; what led you to found Intern 24/7 in 2015?
After finishing an internship in New York, I was on my way home and as we all do I was scrolling through the camera roll on my phone. For the first time since starting to intern, I was looking back and reflecting on all my experiences. I was overwhelmed and surprised with what I had achieved, I also felt incredibly underprepared. I started sharing stories with friends and family and it was they who pushed me to share it online. The Intern 24/7 started as an Instagram, simply sharing photos and memories. Took off from there really…
What was the hardest part of getting Intern 24/7 up and running? Any failures or doubts along the way and if so, what did you learn from them? Loads of doubts! I wasn’t sure if people would find it interesting or what I had to say was important enough. I was nervous about my writing ability and if people would think I was bragging. I got over this quite quickly when I learnt how many others like me there were out there who related. I learnt that you really can write about anything, as long as you believe in it and are passionate, people will connect. I also learnt that if you have an idea that’s not been done before then do it yourself! Why not you?
You work with some other very creative, hardworking, and strategic young women at Intern 24/7. What do you find most enjoyable about working with and managing your team?
Connecting with them! Being an intern in fashion can sometimes be lonely. I love that the intern 24/7 team share the same values, all of them are hardworking, and they just get it. It’s really hard to find people who have had similar experiences with you and have the same passion for helping people. Lucky to have them.
What advice do you have for young women who want to launch their own venture, big or small?
Why not you? Don’t feel overwhelmed or scared. There will be an abundance of people who will help you along the way and don’t be shy to take them up on the offer. Get as many different people to challenge your idea/business idea. Believe in yourself and the idea before you try to get anyone else to.
What advice do you have for young women who want to get into the fashion industry, specifically in PR/communications/marketing?
Build your network early! Doing well in communications and PR heavily depends on the network and connections you have. Start making friends with peers who are also interested in the same field. You have no idea who they will become or where they will end up working.
Do you have a mentor? Who do you look to for inspiration and support?
My mum is a huge support system for me, she was a head teacher of a school, therefore, knows a thing or two about managing people. She’s also exceptionally smart and it helps she always answers my calls when I’m stressed out. I do look to a lot of female founders for inspiration, I don’t have a specific mentor but have a lot of female friends in the industry I go to for advice and old bosses.
If you could go back in time and give your 18-year-old self one piece of career advice, what would it be and why?
Your career won’t turn out like you expect, so stop trying to figure out everything. Enjoy what you’re doing, keep making friends and be a nice person.
Final words of wisdom to all the young women out there who are strategizing to reach their career goals?
Go kill it! We need more females being badass bosses. Don’t be scared of senior managerial roles. Don’t forget to bring your personality out at work. People love connecting with people who are real and authentically themselves.
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