Jen is our Creative Director and Buyer and spends her working hours upstairs in the Big Dreams studio, multitasking phonecalls and emails and getting her hands dirty with all things creative!
She joined the “Dream Team” in 2011 as a shop girl in Northcote, while completing her Bachelor’s Degree in Fashion and Textiles: Merchandising. It wasn’t long before Jen managed to expand her role to include buying for the two boutiques, managing the online store, merchandising and creating regular creative content to grow Big Dreams’ social presence. Now a full-time member with freelance creatives engaged to lend a hand, Jen remains as the all-rounder for Big Dreams, while juggling fashion design behind the scenes for Pretty Wild.
Blink and you’ll miss her! We managed to catch her for a brief moment to pick her brain...
What did you want to be when you ‘grew up?’
When I was a little girl I dreamt of becoming a Spice Girl, but soon after I realised I couldn’t sing, I decided that a career in the fashion industry would be the right move- phew!
What’s your career background?
A few years ago I graduated at RMIT with a Bachelor in Fashion & Textiles Merchandising. While studying I took a keen interest in buying and product development, which is what I’m doing now at Big Dreams and I can’t really picture myself doing anything else.
Work day ritual.
I set my alarm clock half an hour earlier; that gives me time to scroll through Instagram and check my emails from home. I’m right into the phase of the Matcha latte with almond milk and honey. I have that in the morning instead of coffee- it’s delicious and keeps me focused. There is always something different going on each day. I’m either re-ordering products, checking out new brands, designing/brainstorming for Pretty Wild, merchandising the store and windows, organising and styling product and editorial photo shoots. There is never a dull moment when working with a brilliant, funny and very talented team.
Best thing about being a part of the “Dream Team”?
We’re constantly coming up with clever ideas. It can be very challenging and time-consuming making an idea come to life, but we’re all friends and work really well together. And we laugh all the time. Laughter is good for the soul.
Favourite Big Dreams product?
Ummmm, let me think... Pretty Wild Gemma Jumpsuit in liberty cherry! Perhaps I’m a bit biased *wink face*
Best studio snack?
That’s easy... CHIPS! I love all types of chips; blue chips, corn chips, hot chips, sweet potato chips. I have a bag of chips sitting on my desk most days. I could easily survive on chips if I had to.
What can’t you live without?
I can’t live without my EOS lip balm. Pretty sure I have every flavour. It’s the best little invention. You’ll fine one in my bag, on my desk and in every corner of my room so I don’t need to look too hard to find one. I’m obsessed!
What’s your big dream?
I have many of those. One that stands out right now is to have Pretty Wild get noticed from abroad.
Which do you prefer, buying or creative direction?
I love both. Buying is something I’m really confident in doing. I started off working as a retail assistant, so I know our customers and know exactly what they’re looking for. Most of the buying happens twice a year at trade fair. When I’m walking the aisles at the fair, I pretend I’m on a mission to find the most quirky, innovative, fun new product of the year. Last year it was a super sized bouncy ball full of colourful confetti pieces. We sold tonnes before Christmas. They make the best stocking filler present.
Being a creative doesn’t always come easy. Most of my ideas come to mind when I’m not at work, but when I’m travelling, laying in bed or at the self-checkout at Coles. Coming up with an idea isn’t the hard part, it’s making it come to life that proves to be the challenge.
Do you look for specific qualities in choosing which labels/ brands to represent at Big Dreams?
With clothing, I like to know about the brand before I commit to it. I want to know who designs it, where they come from, where the products are made. For Big Dreams, it’s really important to support local makers too, so if Aussie labels approach us, I always make time to check out their stuff.
I also love anything that reminds me of my childhood. Last week I found a magic goo balloon - something I used to play with. We had a lot of fun with it in the studio.
Of all of the creative projects you direct at Big Dreams past/ present, have you got a favourite?
There have been many fun projects over the years, but my favourite so far would have to be Big Dreams Book Week. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while. We had lots of activities and giveaways over 2 weeks during the winter school holidays. It was one of the most challenging events to organise because we only had a couple of weeks to plan and track down our favourite classic books.
What can we expect to come out of the Big Dreams studio in the near future?
We are about to start working on our annual Christmas magazine. It’s a huge project that we take pride in. It takes months and months to plan and develop. The aim is to make it easy to shop for little ones this Christmas.