Upon entering the fashion industry, young entrepreneur Giada Graziano noticed there were no online fashion tips to young talent who wished to break into the industry. She proceeded to fill that void by creating Glam Observer, an online platform with all the resources needed to begin a career in fashion. With everything from career advice to conferences dedicated to networking with professionals, Giada succeeded in creating helpful content for the fashion community. Her first online course has gone so far as to be recognized by fashion houses such as Vogue and Dior. In an interview with Giada, she relates her experiences as an entrepreneur and creator of Glam Observer:
If you couldn’t find career advice online, what resources did you use to create your website?
Since I could not find information on the various careers in fashion and on how to enter the industry, I started from the path that seemed most logical to me at that time: fashion courses. I attended online courses from New York universities such as Parsons and FIT and received a master’s degree in Luxury Fashion Management in Milan. With these I started to understand the business of the fashion industry, then I learned the practical part with my first internship. These courses along with their experiences made me understand the fashion industry from which I started sharing my knowledge on Glam Observer.
What was the biggest struggle you had to overcome in creating Glam Observer?
Every day there is a new challenge-even now, after almost two years that I’m working full-time on Glam Observer.
From the creation of the website (I have not hired a developer yet so I still take care of everything) to thinking about interesting and valuable advice to share with the members, to sending thousands of emails to people for interviews (which was especially difficult at the beginning of Glam Observer because I was not a fashion editor, had zero connections in fashion and people were not so willing to share their experiences with me), to posting the interviews on the new-born website. Even now the interviews are among the most difficult parts. I think they are one of the most useful contents because they help the community to learn from real experiences, but fashion companies are not always happy that employees talk about their role and, given that fashion is a closed sector, many are not so keen on sharing the industry secrets and experiences.
The first Glam Observer event was also a challenge. I thought no one would come. Instead, it sold out with 60 participants! When I contacted Jo Malone, I was not sure that they would respond, yet in the end, all the 60 event attendees went home with a Jo Malone product and 3 from Caudalie. It was not extremely successful in economic terms, but I was very satisfied with how the evening went, with the sponsors who believed in me, as well as the speakers and the participants.
Did you have to overcome any specific obstacles that affected you as a female entrepreneur?
Fortunately, I didn’t. I had no issues that any entrepreneur-whether man or woman is, usually has to face. I will probably begin to see the first complications as a female entrepreneur when I am a mother. But at the moment I’m able to manage everything and find the right balance.
Did you start the website on your own or did you create a team to help you?
I started everything myself from scratch. I was alone for the first few years since I created the website, then afterward I started receiving the first requests from contributors so I had someone write articles for the website every here and there, especially when I felt their knowledge could benefit the community. I’m not at the center of Glam Observer, rather the community is. So whenever I can, I work with other people to deliver the best content ever. As of today I am in charge of writing articles, requesting interviews, recording and editing the podcast, choosing and publishing content on social media, the newsletter, consultations, membership, and the online course. Another girl, Lilly, is currently helping me a couple of hours per week with the interviews and PR assignments. I love working with her-even if it’s remotely. I would love to have a big team one day.
Did you have any role models that gave you inspiration in creating Glam Observer?
I’ve always been fascinated by women who created their own brand/business, especially those who started online: Emily Weiss with Glossier, Leandra Medine with Man Repeller, Anine Bing, Rebecca Minkoff…but in general, every female entrepreneur inspires me.
What is your target market segment to brand your website to?
Glam Observer is for all those who want to start a career in fashion. The community is mainly made up of girls between the ages of 18-27 but some members are even older, and read Glam Observer because they have decided to switch industry and go into fashion. Although I am based in Milan, the community is international: from the United States to Europe outwards to Australia-making it an international destination which has been my aim from the beginning. Those who attended fashion school find in Glam Observer the practical career tips that they don’t teach you at school but that are crucial in entering the industry and being successful. Therefore, both fashion students and those who don’t have a fashion background read Glam Observer.
Which form of social media has been the strongest in marketing Glam Observer?
Instagram and Pinterest. Pinterest is the primary form in terms of website traffic, while with Instagram, especially with paid sponsored posts, people who otherwise wouldn’t hear of Glam Observer find the events and the membership. Unfortunately, with the new social algorithms, it is difficult for your posts to reach the people you hope for without investing a little money.
Have you experienced competition with other rising entrepreneurs who wished to create similar websites?
Yes, some people have taken inspiration and proposed similar contents and services, but I see it as a positive fact: if they recreate my content it’s because people like it. Obviously, after the hard work that I put into it day and night, seeing it imitated doesn’t bring the best feeling. But in the end, I continue to remain true to myself and to my main goal every day, which is to always create the best content and services for my community. This is the only thing that matters to me.
What differentiates you from your competitors?
The majority of websites that talk about careers in fashion do not even reach the fingers of one hand. I think Glam Observer is a unique concept. I’ve developed comprehensive services from the online world with articles on the site, podcasts, interviews, the membership, the WhatsApp group, the course, up to the offline world with panels, networking events and conferences.
How did your experience working in fashion e-commerce aid in creating your website?
I created Glam Observer before I even worked in fashion e-commerce. What I utilized from my work experience-more than the technical skills-were the experiences within the working world in fashion. I was able to create content based on real experiences, such as what to do and not to do during a fashion internship, what will be asked during the job interview, how to write a CV, etc.
Which designers have you collaborated with in your networking panels?
I was lucky enough to have figures from established fashion companies such as Vogue and Gucci as speakers at the first Fashion Panel, with Jo Malone and Caudalie as sponsors. For the Fashion Conference, Launchmetrics supported the initiative and presented its influencer marketing report. Companies like L’Oreal, H&M and Trussardi were also present as speakers.
What is the most fulfilling aspect of running Glam Observer?
Like every entrepreneur, I see my business as my baby. I created it from scratch by myself and I am pleased to watch it slowly take shape. I was very happy when Glam Observer was on the homepage of Marie Claire, when my interview with Elle was released, and when people from Vogue and Dior confirmed how powerful and helpful the platform is for young talent. But above all, I live for the feedback I receive from my community.
The fashion industry is big and there are thousands of people who join it every year, so knowing that I can help and contribute to their dream of working in fashion is fantastic. When I get emails from members or people who bought the course or other consulting services, telling me they got an internship from Dior, LVMH, Valentino, etc., I am really happy for them and am super satisfied. In those moments I understand the true power of Glam Observer. It is my baby, yes, but it needs to serve others first, and when I see that it does so, then I realize that I am on the right path.
Do you wish to take your fashion networking panels abroad?
Yes, the first events were in Milan but I’m currently planning events in Europe and the U.S.
What are your goals for Glam Observer?
To make it the No. 1 destination for all those who want to work in fashion. To create even more content, more services, improve what is already there and as always, introduce new services and host more events as well. I love bringing the connection offline and meeting the community.
What advice can you give to young female entrepreneurs within the fashion industry?
Being an entrepreneur is not easy, but if you love your idea then you will love your job. I won’t tell you that it will be all roses because especially for the first two years, there will be many ups and downs. The only thing that will keep you going is passion. Find the idea you are passionate about, that makes you happy, and that you would continue to work through in the beginning stages when it does not bring you money.
You will love being an entrepreneur and always developing new ideas that can take your business to the next level. Plan them, then see them in action and receive feedback. The great thing about being an entrepreneur is to see your idea develop piece by piece. Overnight success doesn’t exist, all businesses needed years to get to the point they are today, and if you work hard and are ready to face any situation then you will reach those successful levels too. Set your goals and establish weekly, monthly and annual practical actions and stick with them.
Visit Glam Observer at https://www.glamobserver.com/