Ethical Values of the Urban Outfitters Family

One of America’s millennials most popular retail stores would have to be Urban Outfitters- known for their grunge, hipster vibes, yet chic for an insta-worthy picture. Urban Outfitters is the parent of Anthropologie and Free People- these three stores sweep young adults off their feet all across the nation with their unique style which allows individuals to feel different and special in their own way for owning clothing that isn’t basic. However, I would like to research about Anthropologie’s ethical values, but since Anthropologie is under URBN, I’ll dive into their family values; where does URBN clothing come from? (United States, China, Indonesia etc) and most importantly, how well does URBN treat their manufactures?

Just by looking at that picture above, doesn’t the fashion just look expensive? Anthropologie is known for a lady store that sells anything from big-flared jeans and a silky blouse, beauty products, a bridal concept, to bed sheets or silverware and modern furniture. This retail store offers a lot and I can’t lie, I definitely shop from Anthropologie and every time I go straight to the sell section! Their prices for a basic tee can be anywhere from $62.00 to $80.00, just for a plain t-shirt, that’s wild! Why does a plain-cotton t-shirt cost SO much? Although, I did notice that basic t-shirts at Urban Outfitters are significantly cheaper compared to Anthropologie. Anthropologie struggles to identify who they are as a brand. Many people shop from specific stores they favor due to their brand but Anthropologie is not one of those stores- they struggle to find it’s clear identity.

Nonetheless, I am more interested in their labor conditions. URBN is proud to promote their OU Community Cares, where employees and customers are encouraged to to give back to their community. I love this aspect but what about the individuals who work for the supply chain? According to the California Transparency in Supply Act, they state about their labor policies, they are committed to NOT use child or slave labor. Unfortunately, that is all I have researched about their labor conditions through another article source. I would still like to further research how often their factories are audited, who and where their supply chains are located.

Talk Plain to Me Baby

I know we’re all guilty of hitting the “Accept these Terms and Conditions” button when we sign up for something because it takes TOO long to read and half the time we don’t even understand what the terms mean! It’s quite scary too because as humans, we have rights, and when we sign up for something and don’t read the policies- we are setting ourselves up for something that could lead us to trouble. So, what does plain language mean? I had the opportunity to meet the Co-Founder, Deanna Lorianni of Zuula Consulting. Zuula Consulting helps companies and businesses to be clear and compelling with their message content.

Deanna gave us insightful information about what plain language can do for everyone, everywhere. It’s taking a body of text that is filled with these big, fancy wording and simplifying that message into context that an 8th grader can understand. Plain language is not “dumbing” you down, it’s simply taking a body of text and using words that a wide-range of audience can all understand. For example:

I mean, don’t you just see the obvious difference in context??

I really enjoyed Deanna Lorianni as our guest speaker in class. She spat out so many quick facts about how humans are not willingly to read a paragraph if it has more than 100 words. Yeah, no wonder we don’t want to read the terms and conditions while signing up for something! But thanks to plain language, they’ll take those big, fancy words and throw it out the window to make our lives just a little bit easier. 🙂

A Cup of Joe With Tarik Atallah

It’s no joke that the VCU Brandcenter is one of the top three schools to earn your Master’s degree with about anything that involves advertising. I had the privilege to meet an aspiring student copywriter, Tarik Atallah. As we shared a wonderful conversation about the many aspects of going to school at the VCU Brandcenter, he also filled me in on what it’s like being a copywriter with all the demands and chaos of trying to fill a paper with over 50 headlines that aren’t quite good enough.

So, I asked him what’s his story for coming to the VCU Brandcenter and what led him to here today. “I looked at all the successful copywriters on LinkedIn in L.A. and saw that a couple went to VCU Brandcenter and I reached out and emailed a couple of them… uh… asking what they suggest I do and a few of them highly recommended the VCU program. At first, I was initially averse to it because I didn’t want to spend two years, anywhere I guess, but after getting a sense of what it can afford me, it made sense to go ahead and do it.” Tarik shares with me that he wanted a challenge. He wanted to go for something outside his realm. Prior to copywriting, Tarik was a geography major and knew he was coming from a disadvantage, which encouraged him to do a portfolio program: Book Shop. Book Shop is taught by people in L.A. who went through the same portfolio program and got jobs through it, which essentially is a crash course on how to be a copywriter and art director. Tarik states, “It was cool. It definitely got me to dip my feet in the water.” Because of his experience through his portfolio, it led Tarik to the VCU Brandcenter.

In all honesty, I have to say, if I wasn’t assigned this networking assignment that made me interview professionals, I wouldn’t be as inspired to branch out and learn different roles in the advertising industry. Currently, I’m studying strategy which is great and all, but I’ve become more open-minded to learning other positions such as copywriting. I’ve always found it amusing to come up with catchy headlines and taglines to get peoples’ attention when they don’t even know it. People find themselves reading an ad, and they kind of laugh to themselves because it rings a bell in their head or catches them in a different way. That’s the job of a copywriter: to make a headline simply catchy, informative, and engaging. Nonetheless, Tarik and I talked about how it can become exhausting and draining when you’re a copywriter. I was sharing with Tarik how I feel pressured to come up with brilliant ideas, work efficiently with a group of people, and just keeping up with the fast pace no matter where you are. For some people, that might give them the power to work better, but personally, it terrifies me that I only have 10 more hours until a pitch, yikes!

Bottom line, I’m happy to say that I reached out to a stranger and made a connection with Tarik because I’m now one step closer to adding another professional into my network. Perhaps, Tarik can guide me to another stranger who can provide insights on something else I’m curious about later in life. Something I’ll take away from Tarik’s and I conversation about life in general, “when you hit that success, with this kind of thing, it’s like a whole new degree of fulfillment. It’s beyond rewarding and it rarely comes, if ever.”

Hey, You Over There! Ever Heard of User Experience?

In my prior blog post I have discussed about the assignments and work we will be doing in the class ‘User Experience’ which I had thought was networking with professionals, building your portfolio, and trying to get the most of out it so we are prepared for the real world. While this is all true- I learned what User Experience really means. We had a guest speaker, Cheng Hong who teaches History of Advertising at VCU. According to professor Cheng, user experience is the merge of usability, and interaction design with marketing, branding, market research, product category, physical design etc. Those who analyze user experience, they must research both before and after designing a product. They have to truly understand their users before designing a product and to test the product after it is designed.

After diving more into user ex, the goal of my website is to build my portfolio and blog about whats important to me which includes school, fashion, skincare/beauty, and just everyday life– I hope those categories are relatable for my users. My users would probably be young women in their 20’s, maybe in college or for anyone whose passionate about fashion and beauty (I have yet to blog about my lifestyle, will be coming soon!) If I had to use a research method, I’d mostly likely go with card sorting because it acts as if it was a website. You have categories and then sub-categories for those to see their choices of options. I still have a lot of reconstruction to add into my site, but hopefully with my new knowledge about user experience, I’ll now be able to analyze my own users more accurately and efficiently!

Shop With Me at Mejuri!

So Fine…

Recently I became an ambassador for Mejuri- known for their unique, luxurious, and ethical practice craftsmanship. I love their pieces because they’re made from nothing but love and their quality is well put together for such a good price! Not to mention, they work with women and only want to embrace their specialty of fine jewelry.

When you shop with me you get 10% off your order and FREE shipping!

http://crew.mejuri.com/Kim

December 8, 2018- Mejuri is officially open in NYC!

Mejuri partners with Bumble – The Honey Collection

Shopping On a Budget

One of my good friends, Vy-anh Nguyen spontaneously took pictures of me one day and I have to say, I don’t regret it! These pictures came out darling and snapped some of my favorite pieces I’m wearing. 

Currently in Richmond, Virginia it’s in the 30’s-50’s throughout the week, so wearing anything long sleeve is ideal. Here, I am wearing a Madewell cotton button up that has gray squares as the pattern. I love this top because it’s loose fitted and oversized for a size small. As for my bottoms, I thrifted these jeans from a thrift store called Buffalo Exchange in Cary Town. I got them for only $14, such a snag! I love these jeans because its authentic, raw denim. You can just tell by the way it feels and holds. The brand of these jeans are TTop Denim and they’re styled like mom jeans. Lastly, my shoes are a chunky, black platform boot from Free People but the brand is Jeffery Campbell. These boots give me LIFE! These shoes are in between grunge and chic. You can pair these shoes with a dress for a night out, or with jeans as a casual look. 

If you want to check out my friend Vy-anh work- Instagram: 

Personal account: @vyanh.nguyen 

Photography account: @sundaysequel

A Lil’ Advice from Austin Kleon

As a strategic advertising student it can become dull and less exciting when given a project because we do the research. Unlike creatives, they have fun with their work and can get lost in a project (lost as in a good thing) Nonetheless, in my User Ex class we were assigned to read a book called Share Your Work by Austin Kleon. It gave me insight and inspiration on how to show case your work, the thinking process behind it, and most importantly to not be embarrassed of your work. That’s your work- take full pride baby! Kleon encourages his readers to honestly, just be silly and to not care what others will think because one day your work will show. In the book he says be an amateur because thats what we all are- an amateur. We aren’t perfect, we aren’t made out of diamonds, but we sure can get our hobbies and passion to be shiny as a diamond- then maybe we’ll reconsider perfect. But for now, it’s okay Kleon says we are life-long learners.

I really like the second picture “put yourself, and your work, out there every day, and you’ll start meeting some amazing people.” I couldn’t agree more with this quote! I’ve been trying to prove to myself that I will make the Dean’s list again this year, I will create good content for my blog, or I will be a great intern for this seamster. I know, it can be scary to put yourself out there, but once you do… oh man, I’m sure you won’t regret it. Comment below I want to hear what inspires you and what helps you through your thinking process!