Hi everyone! I’m so excited to tell you all about the awesome month I’ve had. I’m currently sitting in the main New York Public Library on a rainy afternoon. If you’ve never been, I’d highly recommend going. It’s housed in a beautiful building with grand staircases and elaborate pillars that make you feel like you’re wandering the halls of Hogwarts.
After a rocky start to my time in New York, I’m starting to feel good about life again. A lot of my newfound happiness is due to my job at Outfit. I know I haven’t gone into much depth about it yet, so I thought today I’d update you on how and why I went from Law/Politics grad to tech start-up enthusiast.
Let’s start with a little bit of context. At the beginning of each year, I like to set goals and create a strategic plan for how I’m going to achieve them. My main career goal for this year was to find a job in New York where I could learn more about business. Coming from a non-business background, I wanted to be in a role where I could explore different specialisations and figure out where my strengths lay.
I wasn’t exactly sure what that might look like. I spent some time toying with different possibilities: having a portfolio of part-time jobs; getting a full-time job with a Kiwi company expanding into the US; landing a gig at a tech giant like Google or Facebook. I liked aspects of each, but nothing felt right.
During this investigation phase, I picked up some freelance work for Outfit. It seemed like the perfect way to discover more about the start-up world while also supplementing my income. But then there was a spark. The longer I spent there, the less sense it made to search elsewhere. Eventually I realised that the dream job I’d been looking for had been in front of me all along.
So, what does Outfit actually do? It’s an online marketplace that connects event producers directly with talent such as brand ambassadors and bartenders. Producers can hire top-tier talent for their activations, whether that’s MoMA’s famous Halloween Ball or an evening with Aston Martin. Talent can take back the power in the gig economy and use Outfit as a platform to monetise their personal brands.
Outfit’s main point of difference is that it targets the premium end of the market. Unlike on-demand staffing apps, you’re unlikely to ever see one of our people filling a minimum-wage shift. Instead, they might be a DKNY designer who masquerades as a maître d or a GQ writer who whips up cocktails on the weekend. Talent are empowered to take charge of their own careers, which incentivises world-class service for luxury brands like Coach, BVLGARI and Public Hotels.
Being in business development, my role is to manage relationships that help grow the company. I spend a lot of my time recruiting talent – probably 20-30 per week. I also work on client acquisition and retention. Contrary to popular belief, this doesn’t mean making cold calls. It’s more a combination of strategy and account management. Additionally, I get to pitch in with whatever else is needed operationally. That could be anything from researching investors to getting behind the bar when someone calls in sick!
November has been a particularly exhilarating month. Over the past few weeks, we’ve expanded from New York into two new markets: Miami and Las Vegas. I was responsible for staffing our events there. It was a pretty cool feeling knowing the people I hired were making waves at the Latin American Grammys while the team was sleeping!
Although I never would have originally imagined myself in a start-up, I’m convinced now that it’s the right space for me. Start-up culture embodies many of my values: authenticity, autonomy, being a jack-of-all-trades and the ability to make an impact. It can be challenging at times, but the lows stretch my creative problem-solving skills and the highs are supercharged. Growing a company can be wildly exciting. I love that it’s such an immersive experience.
Outside my work at Outfit, I’ve also had a great month at Kea. I recently put together a game-changer series showcasing New Zealand businesses doing sustainability work around the globe. It was fun getting to interview people on three continents and I never cease to be impressed by Kiwi ingenuity. Here are some links to the stories in case anyone is interested:
I’ve also made a few changes in my personal life. I cut a liberating six inches off my hair and bought some furniture for my apartment. I’ve been getting back into my hobbies like baking and going to the gym (there may or may not be a relationship between those two things). I’m finally starting to feel like me again, and that is a fantastic feeling.