In this open letter to aspiring creatives, Jacqui Scruby, founder of Australia’s most stylish bridal registry, The Wedding Nest, tells wannabe stylists why they should submit their Insta handle over their CV.
Dear newbie creative/up-and-coming stylist who wants to get their foot in the industry,
Instagram is more than an addictive little inspo habit, it’s a massive opportunity for you, made even bigger by the fact that very few candidates are using it.
As an employer (and I realise this is just particular to me and not all employers), I’ve realised that when recruiting, I don’t really care where you studied, or whether you’ve worked in the industry before, or even what’s in the pretty pages of your interior design portfolio. What I’m looking for is someone who has an aesthetic that complements mine and my business branding, as well as a passion for styling and all things beautiful, that’s full of initiative, creativity and strategy. And I can work this out in a 10-second scroll of your Instagram account. No need to read a four-page-long CV.
So, here are some tips to help you make the most of this opportunity:
1. Have a stylist’s Instagram account
Most of my applicants don’t. Just by setting up an account, you have given yourself an edge against all other applicants and have launched yourself into prime position for the role. Why? Because if you truly love design, styling and being creative then it’s only natural that you should be indulging in Instagram daily. How better to demonstrate your passion to a potential employer than by living and breathing it every day? They can instantly see you love all things beautiful and creative – far more impactful than the person that writes in a cover letter that they are obsessed with design but has not demonstrated it.
2. Be who you want to be
Instagram gives everyone an amazing opportunity — you can be and create the person you want to be and the career you want to have. It is the ultimate expression of your style and a complete opportunity for you to fake it until you make it. So what that you’ve only just finished school and have only ever styled your bedroom? Nothing is stopping you from having your Instagram handle as @[insertyournamehere]thestylist
3. Have a strategy
Take time to create a strategy around your Instagram account so it’s not just individual photos that are impactful but also your overall account. Some things to consider are:
- Focused or general?: Some of the best accounts are those that focus on a single love or passion; palms, water, a colour, neutrals, a particular interior design style or that use a consistent filter. It’s a great way for your account to stand out. Check out @boholuxeinteriors and @brightbazaar as examples
- Formula: Sure it takes the spontaneity out of it, but some of the most visually impactful accounts stick to a strategy. One of the best examples of this is @basebodybabes who rotate between pictures of themselves, product flatlay and nutrition together with colour blocking for a week or so.
4. This is your ultimate portfolio
Are you showcasing your talents and the story you want to tell the market or potential employer? If you want to be a stylist, include styled flatlays or vignettes to show off your ability to curate and compose. Keep it true to you and your style. Like everything, do what you love.
5. Hold off on the personal photos
This doesn’t mean no personal photos, but keep them limited and in keeping with the rest of your account (unless they’re part of some amazing overall visual strategy such as @captainandthegypsykid or @childrenofthetribe). Have a separate account for your family and everyday pics and keep your stylist account focused on styling. By all means integrate them but don’t inundate your account with them. A great example of integrating family pics can be found on @rhiannonswan‘s feed.
6. Enter 7 Vignettes
Want to blow your competition out of the azure blue Italian grotto and instantly build a profile? There is an easy way to do this: enter Interiors Addict’s monthly 7 Vignettes contest regularly. Why? As as an employer, straight away I know you’ve got a load of initiative, that you’re willing to push yourself to compete with some amazing stylists (I love a bit of a competitive edge) and assuming your entries are great, I can see you can nail a brief. By entering, you’re also launching yourself into a supportive community of stylists and industry gurus and if they like your posts, you’ll not only gain a whole lot of followers but begin to build a profile and be recognised.
Until only just recently I hung on to the romance and belief that the true purpose of Instagram was to capture and rejoice in everyday moments as they happened without over-engineering them, which is still true and respectable! But I also felt the romance of a cork instead of a screw top for my wine bottles. Sometimes you just need to accept and move on. If you want to create instant cut-through and become a source of #inspo, get strategic about Instagram.
—The Wedding Nest are a boutique gift registry who believe a couple’s registry should style their home. They are currently looking for a photography intern and emerging stylists. They also run a regular intern program. Check out their website for more details and to submit your Instagram handle.