This was my first time pitching for funding that I found after we were approached by Debbie to host a wearables workshop for her students! I hope you pick up some great tips of confidence for speaking to a crowd and pitching.
CEO, Debbie Edwards of FDisrupters, a start-up in Liverpool approached Women of Wearables to deliver our wearable tech workshop. The goal was to inspire 11 young girls aged 14-18 in her 14 week pilot program of workshops on confidence, self belief and tech skills.
As with most challenges start-ups face, Debbie was waiting for funding to enable us to deliver our workshops.
Our Wearable Tech Assistant, Rachael Yeung from Liverpool used her initiative and discovered a funding avenue through Awesome Liverpool.
Awesome Liverpool is a chapter of the Awesome Foundation. It is an ever-growing worldwide community devoted to forwarding the interest of awesome globally. Established in 2009 in Boston, the Foundation distributes $1000 grants to projects and creators.
In the UK, it is £500 and the money comes from 10 local Trustees who each put in £50 in a kitty for allocation each month.
There are 87 chapters in 20 countries world wide and disappointingly, there is only 1 chapter in the UK. But that’s why I think it’s fittingly called Awesome Liverpool.
After we secretly submitted an online form answering a series of questions about the brief on delivering a wearable tech workshop for FDisrupters and ensured that it fit the criteria of:
1. Solves a problem
2. Has a budget
3. Keeping it local and most importantly,
4. Bringing joy
we were shortlisted in the top 3 after 70 applicants had submitted!
Read the whole blog post on the Women of Wearables website here!
I became a wearable tech assistant by networking and being proactive. Nothing good is ever worth having if you haven’t worked for it!
What is wearable tech?
Wearable tech is the fusion of technology and textiles. You might remember from when you was a kid watching Inspector Gadget and then trying to invent coats that could make your breakfast and get you dressed. That’s in basic terms what I do. I look at ways of stitching/knitting/fusing circuits into a garment!
I began my career path after graduating from university with a Textiles degree, not knowing what I wanted to do next. Being self employed as a textiles designer was something I enjoyed but didn’t work the best in. I didn’t have the drive and self motivation to make it work!
Mashing two worlds together to create my own
So I began exploring ways of combining my two favourite things, trends and technology! My love of ‘future technology’ spanned from my final year studies and that’s when I found Michelle Hua. She offered me an internship to lend a hand running her fashionable wearable technology company in return for some well needed mentoring and insight into the wearable technology industry. It then developed into a successful working relationship and she kept me on with some funding!
The holidays are near and it’s time to get glitzed and glammed! So what’s hot to wear to all of the celebrations? From glitter, sequins and now the newly loved sheer trend that a lot of A-listers sported on the red carpets. It’s suddenly the most saught after to be replicated for work-dos, and posh parties. But with all the dresses available, where do you start?? Don’t worry, help is at hand!
Now this trend can be a tricky one. Going back to my lace days when that was all of the rage, I experimented! So with tried and tested ways, here’s a fool proof guide to #werk the trend!
Stick to what you’re comfortable with! If you don’t want to bare all in a scantily clad dress with just the important bits covered, then don’t do it! Keep it just on sections, be it with a cut out dress/top or just the top or bottom.
Check the positioning of the motifs and wear the appropriate underwear. What the heck do you wear with something that bares so much?? Well thanks to hollywood, the secret is now out! Stick on underwear and invisible panites! Pick and choose from a range (have you heard of the c-string?) and make sure you try on everything way before! So organise and plan ahead. You don’t want any wardrobe malfunctions, because there’s no where to hide if you (god forbid) have a nip sip… or worse!
Wrap up warm, it might still seem warm on the thermometer but it is still winter! So team your sheer ensemble with a snuggly faux fur jacket!
If you’re not wanting to go for the full bare body out, then a plain dress underneath is perfect!
I swear this must be what all of the celebrities are using! It’s like they have gravity defying breasts and with cleverly positioned lace motifs that would hide the pasties, they’re onto a winner! Get these in multipacks.
The closest ready to wear I could find to the red carpet looks! I’d personally take the slip dress underneath away and get it tailored to fit like a glove. A little tweaking with some added motifs and you have something near enough to the real thing!
I don’t normally blend my work and personal life together much, but as a woman in technology I like to encourage other ladies to see that this industry isn’t just full of burly old men on computers!
As a growing industry that’s predicted £1 billion in investments by the end of 2015 on wearable technology alone, all under the umbrella of the increasing interest in the development of technology. That includes coding, web design, and the like. The digital world is now, and EVERYONE is welcome to join in.
I remember coming from an all girls school, we were encouraged to choose the more ‘feminine’ subjects; making it difficult to study anything other than their recommended, and being force-fed a european language and the trio (Maths, English and Sciences) Which thankfully, has changed a lot since! Yes, having a science qualification degree is useful. It is three subjects after all! But you don’t need to be a science whiz to have a place in technology and innovation, it’s still constantly growing and new jobs are being made.
Some examples of women in technology:
Liz Hardwick is co-founder and trainer at North West based training company, DigiEnable. Liz (@tech_geek_girl) is a self-confessed geek and has a strong background in digital technology. She is an advocate for open source technologies, organises and attends a variety of geeky groups, and regularly speaks on Digital Technology and Women in Technology, at conferences across the UK.
Sophie Ashcroft is a Digital Media Management Masters Degree student at Hyper Island. She’s previously attended a #StopTalkingStartDoing event and has a lot to say about improving diversity in technology.
Sarah O’Rourke is a Commercial Finance Manager based in Manchester and a huge supporter of #StopTalkingStartDoing. With plans to set up her own community group, Sarah is definitely one to watch in the future!
My mentor Michelle Hua (@madewithglove) is founder and director of MadeWithGlove a fashionable wearable technology start-up that’s creating fashionable heated gloves for women that suffer from cold hands. Website launching soon!
Simple things! Let’s be more open to the idea of working with technology. Helping you’re nan or mum with that thing on the laptop or her phone.
Barclays is doing a great Digital Eagles program to get kids involved.
Want to go that one step further? Integrate it into your local area and schools, let all the girls and women know that it’s not the most boring job in the world. We’re not looking at 0’s and 1’s on the screen all day! We are creating beautiful digital pieces of art and entrainment that you didn’t even realise!
Following on from ‘How to write a CV‘, hopefully you will have some interview call backs from handing them out.
They will offer a time for you to go in for an interview. Make sure you have given yourself about a week to hear back from them and make sure you’re available for up to two weeks. So when they do call you to arrange for an interview, they will expect you to be free for it (around three days time). Otherwise you may have to hand in your CV again to get back on top of the list!
The most common interview types are: one on one, group assessment, a panel, and a Skype interview.
Research, research, and more research for the interview!
First, you need to do some research before it. Don’t go charging in unprepared! You’ll frustrate the interviewer and not make a good first impression. So read over the job description and know what you’re bring interviewed for, they always have some key pointers that they look for in a person. Eg. A team player, friendly, optimistic.
Next you want to research the company, look for the facts and history. You may even want to check out other people’s reviews, but take them with a pinch of salt as reviews tend to be written by a certain type of audience. Great websites are Glassdoor.co.uk and even TheStudentRoom.com if you google search ‘interview at (company)’ they have statistics on salary rates and a personal rating on how they found working there.
Prepare for the worst and hope for the best
This is the motto I’m currently living by. Depending on the sector you’re interviewing for, they may really grill you. Especially if you’re going into a very demanding role! They may even throw in some ‘curve ball’ questions and try to break you under pressure, but just stand tall and try your best! Sometimes you may be really impressing them and you don’t realise it!
Generic Interview Questions
Write down all of the general interview questions you can think of; What are you strengths/weaknesses? What is an example of great/bad customer service? Why do you want this job? Why do you want to work here?
And answer them honestly, you can even give some examples if you haven’t got any personal experiences.
Don’t be late!
Always get there a minimum of 15 mins before your allocated time, unless they have specifically stated that there is no waiting room and have suggested an alternative. If you’re apply for a retail role, get there early to scope out the shop floor. They will be impressed that you’re taking an interest as to where things are, sometimes they would even ask you to put an outfit together! Plan your journey ahead and always take into account any traffic you may encounter that may make you late.
Dress the part
‘Dress for the job you want’ If you’re going for a managerial role, make sure you have a suit and you’re well-groomed. For a hospitality sectors interview it is imperative that you are well presented with your hair tied back and clean hands and nails, they expect you to be serving food remember! If it’s for a retail role, dressing like the clothes they have there is a great idea, but keep it smart! You want to mimic the vibe. So it looks like you’ll fit in, but also bare in mind that you want to make a good impression. If you’re having a Skype interview, WEAR PANTS. Don’t just dress your top half and sit there in your underwear, you need to feel confident. Although it won’t be likely; being asked whether you’re actually wearing pants or not may be a question!
Ultimately, the interviewer(s) want to get to know YOU, and how you tick. They will be analysing whether you will fit in with the company and it’s ethos, and the role you’ve applied for. They’ve asked you to come to an interview so they defiantly see something in you!
You hear people going on about the work climate and how it is ‘hard finding a job now days’, but by polishing off your curriculum vitae and tailoring it to what you’re applying for makes a big difference.
For this blog I will tailor this to writing a CV for retail since it’s a pretty common job to work in a customer service role when you’re starting to write your first. And I also find that they are always employing new people in that sector (there’s a lot of shops out there!) Creative CVs and other roles may differ, but will have the same general layout.
Big yourself up
Think of anything and everything you have done related to fashion and communication. Make a list of everything you enjoy or interested about fashion, for example your favourite style, celebrities/icon dress sense, if you’ve had to deal with any customers before. If you haven’t worked in a customer facing role before then recall any good or bad customer service experiences, was there a time you received less than friendly customer service in a place? Make a note of everything that may help in writing your CV and in interviews. (A blog about what to do in an interview will be up next! #watchthisspace) Even having a few interests and hobbies will be great (don’t forget to include any awards and competitions, even runner up prizes) It shows how hardworking and dedicated you can be when given a goal.
You want to fit all the important key things onto the first page. Your CV may get pretty long as you gain more experience and employment, you don’t have to fit everything into a certain amount of pages regardless of what you’ve heard. But keeping everything trimmed down to the main points with the most important being the first thing they will read is something you need to bare in mind; you want to attract the employer to read on! Google some CV ideas and how other people have used a compact but clear layout and pick out the key components that you think will work. I think having some main points about yourself in bold near the top is a great idea, e.g. FASHION, STYLIST, COMMUNICATION could be along the top in the header to highlight some key facts about yourself. This will catch their eye.
Look at the requirements for the jobs you are applying for. They tend to mention similar things in the job description when describing the ideal candidate. They look for someone that’s interested in working for them. So if you think you’re good communicating and can make the sales, emphasise that. OR if you think you’re more of the fashion and stylist kind, then work with that. Employers like it when you show an interest in where you want to work as it shows commitment and a drive.
It’s off-putting when there are spelling mistakes and terrible grammar mistakes. Get someone to proofread it, or even read it back to you. The employer will be hesitant on getting back to you if you don’t know your i’s to your e’s! You want to be proud of your CV and take pride in it when you hand it out. Exude confidence when you’re handing your CV over!
Some great links:
indeed.co.uk – online job search that many employers and companies use.
monster.co.uk – another online job search website that has similar jobs to above.
LinkedIn – If you fill in everything you can link it to any online job applications and it will automatically pull out the relevant information. It’s the lazy way, so be warned that sometimes this isn’t the best way to di it!
Do you have any great tips or personal experiences to add? Let us know in the comments below! And as always subscribe and follow us in the social bar to the right to read more!