10 years ago by

What I love about our career interviews is meeting people who are passionate about their work, and shedding light on careers that we wouldn’t necessarily think of but that can be so fascinating. There are so many different ways to work in fashion!

Today, I’d like to introduce you to Kristy whose job is human resources consultant, or what we sometimes refer to as a head hunter. She works for some of the biggest brands (Alexander Wang, Prada, Dior, Fendi, The Row…) and has had a very interesting journey to get where she is today…

As we loved meeting her, we also thought she’d be ideal to respond to a few questions we had about jobs in the fashion world.
How do you find your first job? How do you continually evolve? Where should you look? What kind of degree should you get? How much will you make?

If you’re interested, start with the interview (you’ll learn some pretty interesting things about working in the fashion industry) and then meet us back down below in the comments section to ask any other questions you might have. We’ll do a little Q&A with Kristy and post it in the weeks ahead. Voilà! Big hugs!

What was your dream job growing up? What did your parents do?

My mom is a music teacher and my Dad a commercial airline pilot. My uncle is a composer and author and my brother is a professional opera singer. Growing up, I didn’t know anyone who worked in “business.” The only exposure I had to other career options outside of my own family were things like shop owner, or doctor or lawyer.

As a kid, I wanted to be an orthodontist. I had an amazing orthodontist. I loved that he had his own small private practice and the small business feel of the environment.
His whole lifestyle seemed very appealing to me. I wanted something that was my own and I thought that it was something in the medicine field. So when I went to school I was pre-med.

So you were pre-med? Where did you go to University?

I went to University of Texas, in Austin. I started out as a pre-med/chemistry major. I started questioning whether this was something I was really committed to. The pre-med track was pretty large, so I would go to class and I would be in a stadium with 500 or more people and a professor on stage with a microphone. It was really difficult to feel engaged.

So the summer after my junior year I studied abroad in Spain, Granada, where my school had a program, and while I was there I realized that I wanted to travel and I wanted to see other cities. But if I were to pursue the medical path then I would probably end up staying in school in Texas for another 8-10 years, I would never really get to explore, and that was the deal-breaker for me. So I decided when I got back that I was going to switch my major to Spanish, and my senior year I took all Spanish classes. I graduated on time and I moved to New York instead.

Did you come to New York for a specific opportunity?

No, I literally drove here with my two cats. I had no idea what I was going to do when I got here. I had one friend, who knew somebody that lived in Williamsburg, so we slept on her couch and faxed our resumes.

So what was your first job in New York?

Kate Spade was looking for an assistant manager for one of their New York stores, and I was like “Oh! I know what Kate Spade is!” I applied and I immediately got a call from them. I think they were desperate; they literally hired me in 3 days.

I was 22, I had no real management experience. It was a busy holiday season and I was doing a lot of selling on the floor. Incidentally, the store manager at the time was moving on a couple of months after I joined. I sat down with the head of the retail, and she said, “we want to let you know that so-and-so manager is leaving, and we really feel like you’re doing a great job, we really know you can handle this.” I told her that I really wanted to be considered for the management position. So within a very short amount of time, I was running a store.

Kate Spade was opening stores all over the US, so I would travel and help train the new managers and new sales associates. It just kept growing and growing and growing. It was this all-encompassing really fun, really great group of people. I really loved it. Then right before 9/11, I had been doing it for 3 years and I thought I should try something new.

So what sparked your interest in human resources?

From Kate Spade I knew wholesale people and PR people, and visual people, licensing people—there were so many options. So, I talked to them and I interviewed with a lot of the different departments. It was through a process of elimination that I realized what I really like doing is human resources.

I think human resources isn’t a very popular option among young people; they don’t really think of it as an option. But I realized that I love meeting people, I love meeting the right person for a job, I love welcoming them, I love getting them set up, I love training them on what to do. I just loved all these things about it, because I do have good instincts.

But then 9/11 happened, and it was a terrible time to switch careers, even in an area I sort of knew. So I decided to go to business school.

Do you think going to business school is necessary? Especially in the fashion industry?

I did an MBA with a focus on organizational development, and I wouldn’t think that a master’s degree is required in most jobs. But regardless of industry, if you study something other than business in undergrad, if you want to have higher income potential long term and you are interested in going to business school, it will never hurt you.

However, depending on which school you go to, it can also be a huge investment both financially and in time. So I think that if you want to go to business school, you go knowing it’s about the networking. You don’t really learn that much in business school.

So what does a career in human resources actually entail?

From my perspective, it’s someone that supports all of the organization of a company. It’s everything from staffing to recruiting. It’s communication around what a job is, what the expectation of a job is, managing performance, giving feedback around how a person is performing on the job, what the next steps are.

On the back end, it’s also making sure that employees gets paid, that they are getting their benefits, the payroll—all of that stuff. Administration on the back end is something that I’m not very involved in at all, but it’s obviously an important part of human resources. There are also compensations, so understanding what the compensation benchmarks are in the market—there are whole firms around compensation benchmarking and how to attract and retain really good people, and stay competitive. Then part of performance management goes into the development and training aspect, in order to retain these people, in order to keep them motivated and excited, and how to do that in a way that works for both sides.

You worked for LVMH in a variety of human resource capacities. How did you get hired there?

Getting my master’s really helped me to get the job at LVMH when I applied, which was a recruitment development job. They look for people with a combination of a liberal arts background and a business background that are able to speak other languages, have lived abroad, have lived in more than one country, and who have some retail or fashion experience. That’s pretty much everything they look for, so with my master’s I had all of that.

Can you tell me about what you did there?

I worked at LVMH Inc. with all the heads of HR for all of their brands and the brand presidents in the US. Once I started to earn the trust of the heads of HR, they would give me assignments to work on searches for them. I was very lucky because I was pretty successful early on in getting great people for them.

I built really good relationships with these people, and I was in charge of the MBA recruitment program. I would go to top schools and look for entrepreneurial fashion and retail professionals who were ready to jump right into operating roles at the brands. We hired only a handful of MBAs each year across the business groups.

I also worked on some corporate training and development. One of the people in the fashion division recruited me to come work for her, and fulfill a couple of different roles, and that’s where I really got the operational HR hands-on experience. So I did a year at Employee Relations. Then I moved onto Louis Vuitton where I focused on recruitment development, which was really what I enjoyed: recruiting for positions in the business both in the retail and the corporate side, working on employee management, understanding how to give the right training to the ones that really need it. It was a great experience, and I felt like my 5 years there were like a crash course in what I needed to know.

What is Employee Relations?

Employee relations is basically letting people go, coaching managers on how to let people go, coaching managers on how to discipline staff, how to make them improve their performance. It’s also store closings and job eliminations and working with counsel, and drafting separation agreements, and all the stuff that is so important but not that fun.

Do you think that human resources has a bad reputation from that part of the job? How do you deal with that?

It is true that employment separation is a reality human resources professionals have to deal with and it’s not fun. However, I do truly believe that often when someone leaves a company it is in both parties best interest so that makes it easier.

So what made you decide to start your own company?

I had my twins, and I went back to LVMH for maybe 9 months, and had a full-time nanny at home. I was just miserable. I never saw my kids, I would travel all the time, and it was just not worthwhile. I felt that I had kind of learnt everything I could learn at that job. I decided that I needed a change, and it was then that things just sort of happened.

I became friends with Jessie Randall (of Loeffler Randall), and she and a lot of other brands at the time needed a lot of help because it was right after the recession in 2008. They were rethinking their whole organization and they had never had formal HR before. So I started consulting with them, and then literally through a friend of a friend, started consulting with another brand, and then another brand. I was helping a lot of them through this difficult time when they had to reassess what was going on with their business.

How many people are in your company?

I’m really the only person. But I have a large number of people who help me. I pay certain people commission on referrals. When I look for a search, I don’t get paid for it unless I fill the job—it doesn’t make sense for me to pay someone who isn’t bringing in the business. So from my perspective, if I meet someone who I think can source really great talent for me then I am happy to work with them on that basis, but it has got to be somebody who is willing to work on a contingency basis. And not everybody is going to want to do that.

What kinds of services do you provide as a consultant? What kind of clients do you work with?

I function like any other search company, where I get a percentage of the salary. So it just made a lot more sense to focus on that. The great thing about search is that if you are working a lot of different searches, they all feed into each other and they all help each other. So when I work on the sale search for Rachel Comey, I might meet 20 people and maybe only one is right for Rachel Comey, but when Alexander Wang calls me or The Row calls me, I’m like “Oh this person wasn’t right for this but is right for this.” So it just started to get deeper and deeper, and now I would say probably 90-95% of what I do is strict search. But I do still consult for Loeffler Randall, I do still consult still with a couple of other brands, like Mara Hoffman and Gap. Now, it’s more like friends of mine, people with whom I have built relationships over the years and am friends with now, I help them just a little bit. I am more like a sounding board than an in-house agent.

Do you consider yourself a “head hunter?”

I mean, I’ve heard that term a lot and I’ve used it before. I think that I probably don’t use that word as often. I prefer professional recruiting, executive recruiter, so I think I say recruiter more because that’s really what I’m doing—recruiting people for fashion companies and HR consulting.

What’s an entry-level salary in an HR position?

HR is pretty much the same as anything else. An HR assistant is going to be paid $35,000-$40,000, and then coordinators $45k-$55k, and then managers $65k-$100k, because you could be a manager for a while depending on the experience level. And then director level is usually $120k plus up to maybe $150k/$160k. VP’s usually $175k plus. That is pretty consistent across most fashion companies, no matter which function, which area, it’s pretty consistent.

What are the biggest challenges you face working in human resources?

The biggest challenge I have is that I need help filling all the jobs. There is so much potential out there—I think fashion companies are always hiring, at least from what I see. I do post all of the jobs I’m working on on Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn, but my challenge is filling all of the jobs quickly with the right people.

And I would say that the other challenge is that every job is so different, every job is so specific, every job needs to be filled yesterday, and you have to know where to find that person. So in the search business that’s obviously what it is all about: knowing who they are going to like and who they are not going to like.

What’s an average day like for you?

I live in Brooklyn and I try to do three days a week that are home-office days, where I’m doing research and phone interviews. I do a ton of Skype interviews, I do a lot of recruiting in other cities. I would say most of my clients are based in NY, but I do still recruit for retail store positions, like managers, and a lot of my clients have locations all over Canada and the US. So those are usually my Monday, Wednesday and Fridays.

And then on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I’m usually in Manhattan going from meeting to meeting to meeting. Those are the days I usually reserve for meetings and clients. I also do a lot of mentoring.

What do you do as a mentor?

I’ve been working with the CFDA Fashion Incubator. I love it, it’s great. I formed a team of professional HR mentors and I assigned someone to each brand. I know all the designers and the brands, so whenever they have an HR issue they filter through me and I either help them or set them up with somebody else.

Do you have a mentor?

I don’t really have a specific mentor now. I would love to have one, but I don’t know exactly who that person is. Certainly people I have worked for over the years have been mentors to me, but I have never really had a formal mentorship. But I think that the idea is wonderful. I think that we all run into mentors in our lives.

What is the best advice you have ever received?

I always think about one of my first supervisors, at Kate Spade, who said to me do the job you’re doing as well as you can, and the next thing will come. Just work really hard at doing what you’re doing, don’t worry too much about the next step. If you do what you’re doing really well, it will just happen. And it’s so true, I think about that all the time. Just do what you’re doing really well.

What has been your proudest achievement?

Having a successful business of my own while still being able to drop my kids off at school, pick them up, and manage my own time in a calendar and still being able to do what I love to do. I’m amazed every day that I am able to do this. The fact that I can work from home, work from wherever I want, being in total control of my schedule—it’s just so huge. It’s pretty amazing.

What skills do you think are most important to work in human resources?

The first one is extreme trustworthiness. You have got to be able to keep things extremely confidential. You also have to not really be fazed by things. I think it can be very difficult for very young people to know a lot of this information. Because when you’re in HR, and you know how much everyone is getting paid, and how many days off everyone else is getting, and you see things like discrepancies—that’s life.

You have to be really trustworthy, you have to be mature, you have to have very good instincts, you have to be a professional all the time. It is so important to be professional.

What advice would you give to someone who is interested in working in human resources?

Intern. That is one thing I didn’t do in college and I really wish I had. Intern. I just had a regular job, and I got paid and that was that. I didn’t even think about doing an internship, but now if you want to get an HR assistant job, you have to have three internships in HR. So I would say intern in HR, see if you like it, and then if you do, do as many internships as you can while at school, during summers, and then you will get a job anywhere. And just work your way up. That’s the case with everything. I think the hardest part is knowing what you want to be.

What is the biggest mistake you see people make when breaking into the business?

I think that there aren’t enough people in HR. I think the biggest mistake is that people don’t see this as a real option. They don’t see how interesting it can be; they don’t see how much influence you have on the organization’s growth, how exciting it is to be in touch with every single aspect of the organization.

What is your dream for your career and your business?

Right now, I have to say I am so happy doing what I’m doing. I was just asked to be on this advisory board for the University of Texas. I will continue to do more counseling, career counseling, student mentoring, just helping to give information.

Obviously I love what I’m doing in terms of the search part of my business and the consulting part of my business. Long term, I definitely feel like I need to grow. I think I need more help, otherwise I will never be able to keep up with the demand, because there is so much demand.

Sometimes I do imagine becoming a bigger larger firm. Right now, I’m torn because I like looking independently, and I like the flexibility that I have. But if I don’t fill enough jobs quickly, then maybe my clients wont keep coming back to me. And so, I have to figure out a way to grow that works for me. I can definitely envision a big firm one day where I have people who outsource HR for fashion companies and then I have a search division with all of the different departments, specialized in different areas. I think maybe in the future I would like to work more with the clients and less with the touch points every day. It’s hard though giving that up, because I do love working by myself and I love being the only who evaluates, I just need more help bringing the right people to me.

Check out other career posts:

Nina Garcia, Creative Director, Marie Claire
Alice Lane, Make Up Artist
Constance Jablonski, Model
Rashida Jones, Actress & Writer


Add yours
  • Qu’est-ce qu’elle est belle, ses cheveux me font rêver ***gniii***

  • Great !

    À bientôt, Laëti

  • “Quand on travaille dans les RH, on sait qui gagne combien, qui a tant de jours de congés, et forcément, il y a parfois des déséquilibres ou des injustices… c’est la vie.” …Voilà pourquoi je n’aurai jamais pu faire ce boulot, idem quand elle évoque les licenciements et les stratégies qui vont avec :/

    Bref il faut de tout pour faire un monde, interview intéressante cependant.


  • Très, très intéressante cette interview “Carrière”.
    Merci Garance.

  • I love this interview and it came just in time! I am at the crossroads changing careers and it’s difficult, scary and exciting all at once! Reading this article motivates me beyond beliefs – thank you, Garance!


  • Good questions and great answers.
    It’s nice to get a peak into an industry like that. Especially a job like this, which was for me more a term than an actual job. Great to have a more clarified image now!

  • I don’t understand a word but i love the photo! :D

  • Hi Garance thank you so much for the interview and especially the Q&A session. I think I wrote you before in an e-mail that I would love to see some of the none creative jobs in the fashion world and I believe you did a great job so far! So thanks again for that.

    Now to my question for Kristy:
    What are the chances for a pure business student with work experience in the analyst department of a small energy producer to get into the fashion sector directly ore even just to get an internship.

    Are there depatrments except for finance/controlling that are traditionally more staffed with business majors?
    Would it be a good idea to take a retail job with any fashion firm and just get some hands-on experience if I don’t get any internships over the summer ?
    Any ideas on what skills will become relevant over the next years, that can be learned while still at college, e.g. data analysis, social media, coding, e-commerce , blogging, languages ?

    Okay this was more than one question but I would be eternally grateful if you had some answers for me.
    It’s hard enough changing careers already and getting nothing but negative or no respones at all from fashion companies is getting more and more frustrating.

    XXX Moi

  • I actually had the same question. I often struggle with the career I have and can kick myself for not going for the dream at a younger age. So, I’d also like to hear Kristy’s opinion on what the chances are of, as an MBA graduate, getting the opportunity to work in fashion if experience in another industry is all you have.

    Garance, thank you for this interview!! I agree with the others that this, as well as your other career interviews, are very inspiring!


  • Yes, it would be great to hear about what she thinks of someone more mature, coming from a more conventional career adventuring itself in the creative world!

  • For students like myself who are kind of mixed up in the career world, interviews like this are definitely inspiring. Thanks for making me feel a lot better!

    Your Friend, Jess

  • Nice interview!! I like this kind of post!
    Passa a trovarmi VeryFP

  • Thank you Garance for the Career interviews. I appreciate these type of articles a lot!

    Since you mention that questions are welcome I wanted to ask the following. As a recent BA graduate (Business Communication) I am looking into new opportunities that can help me make the switch to the fashion industry. I applied for several short courses at Central Saint Martins to get to know the variety of careers and I am currently searching for an internship. I’ve always wanted to do a Masters but I can’t help but wonder: Does a fashion related MA degree get you bonus points on your resume? There are many interesting courses, but is it ‘wise’? Since it’s quite the investment (financial and time) I would love to hear an insider’s perspective.

  • Great interview. It is interesting to see how her initial choice was just a misunderstanding – she liked HOW the doctor worked, not WHAT the doctor did. It’s very important to understand the work environment that suits you best. Also, I can’t wait for the Q&A!

  • Ça doit être la Française en moi qui parle, mais le paragraphe sur les restructurations m’a misé mal à l’aise… Dans le cas des licenciements individuels, oui, c’est mieux pour les deux parties de mettre fin à la collaboration, dans le cas des licenciements économiques, j’en suis moins convaincue…
    L’interview est intéressante cependant, merci.

  • Mais les licenciements individuels ne sont pas mieux: combien de plan sociaux déguisés sous le vocable “départs volontaires”? Combien actuellement en France de “départs négociés” cachant un harcèlement moral?

  • Lauren Bancale November, 22 2013, 3:30

    Moi aussi j’ai été parfois presque choquée par ses propos (mon côté français), puis je me suis rendu compte qu’en fait aux Etats-Unis, la situation est quand même bien différente de la nôtre, en France et que du coup le contexte était sans doute pour beaucoup dans ses propos, de même que le secteur (luxe) dans lequel Kristy s’est spécialisée. Le marché de l’emploi américain est beaucoup plus dynamique, me semble-t-il, je crois qu’il y a une plus grande mobilité professionnelle et que le turnover dans ces boîtes est assez important… Bref, en tout cas, ça donne envie d’en savoir plus sur les différences entre les RH en France et aux US…

  • Je suis dans le même cas!

  • Je veux dire que moi aussi quelque part cela me dérange! ( je rend hommage cela dit à sa sincérité…ce genre de discours est complètement tabou en France).

    Cela dit, je vis en Espagne oú le taux de chomâge avoisine les 26% et 52% chez les moins de 30 ans…et j’ai d’ailleurs beau avoir ma propre entreprise, je n’arrive pas à me sentir à l’aise avec ce genre de discours sur les stratégies de licenciement..même si ce qu’elle dit est on ne peut plus près des réalités.

  • I really liked reading Kristy’s story, but I would also ask her how to look for a job in fashion industry in a foreign country. My case is the following, I’m spanish and I currently work in a spanish retail company but I would love to continue developing my career in a foreign country because I love traveling, furthermore, every time I go to a foreign country on a trip I feel like I need to keep on traveling.

    Thanks for the great advice, I will definitely keep in my mind the phrase “Just do what you’re doing really well”.



  • Charlotte November, 22 2013, 11:37

    Great question! Would love to hear the answer.

  • J’adore ce genre de post, ça donne de l’inspiration!!

    J’ai une question pour Kristy:

    J’ai travaillé en tant que RP pour une grande marque de luxe pendant 2 ans, mais mon amoureux m’a emmené en Afrique pour une aventure un peu folle. J’y ai trouvé un job mais qui n’a aucune relation avec la mode. D’ici une an ou deux, nous voudrions retourner vers l’Europe ou ailleurs.
    Ma question est donc: Est-ce que ce genre d’expériences est positive sur un CV? Le milieu de la mode est-il ouvert à engager des personnes ayant vécu ce genre d’expériences?


  • Super interessant, merci !! (et elle n’est pas dans un tailleur noir avec une chemise blanche !)
    Une question sur elle et son entreprise : est-ce qu’en plus de beaucoup travailler (je suis complètement d’accord avec ce point de vue), est-ce qu’il faut forcément réseauter ? Comment a t-elle créé son réseau, comment l’entretient elle ?
    Autre question sur le recrutement en lui même : comment structure t-elle ses entrevues ? Que faire si on ne trouve jamais la personne qui va ? (du coup on embauche moins bien mais il ne sait jamais faire et on perd de l’argent car il n’est pas productif puis on s’en sépare)
    J’ai utilisé déjà plusieurs cabinets de recrutement et ai toujours l’impression de me faire avoir : c’est très cher et on n’a jamais conservé les gens plus de 6 mois, bref un vrai gouffre. Comment en trouver un bon ?
    Est-ce que son secteur facilite les choses ? (la mode c’est super attractif, tout le monde veut travailler dedans) Comment faire dans d’autres secteurs qui d’apparence sont moins sexy mais savent aussi être très épanouissants ?
    Bref ma question de fond : mais où trouver les gens biens ? ;)))

  • Awesome post – what a smart girl. Loved reading it. Thanks.

  • I love those articles, because I really value first-hand stories on how people became what they are now. It also makes you notice that rectilinearity isn’t something that goes along with modern career paths.

    Lisa – AT LEAST BLOG

  • Très intéressante cette interview!!
    Du coup, j’aimerais bien lui poser une question: comment peut-on décrocher un stage dans le milieu de la mode (marketing) alors qu’on ne sort pas d’une école de commerce ou de mode, mais d’une simple fac :) ?? ça parait tellement inaccessible!!

  • Absolutely amazing! Such an informative article. Thanks Garance.

  • Son parcours est très intéressant. Quel chance de réussir à équilibrer vie privée et vie professionnelle ! c’est possible et c’est un bel exemple.

  • Très beau interview, j’ai aimer lire cela!

  • Where is her coat from? Lovely post xxdd

  • Tiens c’est marrant ça, de parler de licenciements comme d’une paire de chaussure, de façon naturelle. Je trouve cela affligeant, car un licenciement ne devrait pas etre abordé de cette façon. Enfin, aux US c’est monnaie courante, en France, malheureusement ça le devient aussi…

  • Husler Cynthia November, 22 2013, 3:57 / Reply

    Merci pour cette interview. J’ADORE SA VESTE !!! Pourrais-tu lui demander d’où elle vient ! Merci, merci,

  • J’ai toujours adoré, sans savoir vraiment jusqu’à peu mettre un nom dessus, la RH.
    Je suis la première à aider mes amis à identifier ce qu’ils aiment, leur suggérer des masters ou de stages, les encourager à se projeter. Je trouve ça passionnant le processus de définition d’un projet professionnel. Ca correspond à la personne, c’est évolutif car ça s’oriente d’un cote ou d’un autre selon les expériences qu’on accumule. J’adore rencontrer des étudiants plus jeunes qui sont plein de doutes et de questions et les rassurer, leur dire d’avoir confiance en eux tout en se bougeant et en multipliant les opportunités.
    Et de l’autre côté je trouve ça très chouette de trouver le bon profil, faire des interview, identifier les personnes qui ont un truc en plus.
    J’ai eu l’occasion de rencontrer une super RH dans le cadre d’une recherche de stage: hyper encourageante, disponible, là pour chercher à faire converger les intérêts des deux parties, qui sait voir autre chose qu’une accumulation de diplômes. Je ne sais pas si c’est un cas exceptionnel, mais son accueil m’a donné envie de bosser pour ce cabinet (je suis élève avocate).

    J’adore le droit, mais je sais que si un jour je veux une reconversion je réfléchirai à la RH.

    Bon le truc pas drôle c’est les licenciements bien sur, et gestion de dossiers difficile type harcèlement moral… Je pense néanmoins qu’un licenciement ou un harcèlement moral géré par un bon RH vaut de l’or pour le bien être de l’employé.

  • What an inspiring interview! :) I love your career specials! :)

  • Ma question pour Kristy est la suivante : comment puis-je arriver à me démarquer ? J’ai récemment terminé mon baccalauréat en relations publiques et je n’arrive toujours pas à décrocher une entrevue. Je me suis pourtant dotée d’un curriculum vitae esthétiquement intéressant ainsi qu’une vidéo de présentation. Que pourrais-je faire de plus pour accrocher l’oeil des recruteurs avec mon peu d’expérience dans le domaine (2 stages) ?

    Merci beaucoup

    P.S. Garance, c’est la toute première fois que je commente l’un de tes articles et je profite de l’occasion pour te dire à quel point j’adore ton blog. Chaque lecture me permet de m’évader de mon petit quotidien.

  • Comme d’autres, je ne me suis pas du tout reconnue dans la façon de voir les choses de Kristy H., cependant j’ai trouvé ça vraiment infiniment intéressant.
    Merci beaucoup Garance (et Kristy, donc) pour cet article, c’est précieux qu’il y en ait de cet ordre sur le blog aussi !

    Bon week-end tranquille : )

  • Oooooh I would love to know her thoughts on what makes a really good candidate for a fashion design position? What things does she look for in their portfolio?

    My observation is she focuses more in the other departments within a fashion company but after reviewing her sight I noticed she also recruits for design as well. I would be so interested to hear her thoughts!

    Cheers to your cozy stacation!


  • Very interesting interview. But I found myself wondering: what about your husband/partner, if you have one? Did he get a more flexible job? Is he able to take his kids to school or pick him up? I find it a little depressing that women seem to always be the ones that change their careers to be more flexible.

  • Entretien très intéressant ! J’ai été heurtée par certains passages mais au moins, elle a la franchise de dire ce qu’il en est réellement. A Paris, on évite ce genre de discours même s’il s’agit de la même réalité. Du coup, pour toi Garance, comment perçois tu cette manière “à l’américaine” ? As-tu été choquée à un moment ou un autre ?

  • One thing that stood out to me about Kristy’s interview was that she said she did not have a mentor at present. I have always thought it would be great to be in a short-term mentorship with someone. These kinds of relationships can sometimes be difficult to form. It takes a secure individual to mentor someone knowing that the relationship may only be temporary.

    I wonder if Kristy has ever been approached by someone asking her to be their mentor?

  • ma questions: quel age a-t-elle?
    autrement, j’ai travaille pendant 4 ans dans les RH et ce n’est pas glamour du tout, le seul aspect sympa de son boulot c’est qu’elle bosse pour des marques de luxes tres prestigieuses mais apres la realite des RH c’est que c’est de l’administratif a 100% et pour travailler dans les RH il ne faut surtout pas aimer les gens autrement comment avoir le coeur de licencie des employes. Pour travailler dans les RH il faut etre qqun de tres fort et qui n’a pas peur de prendre des decisions fortes et qui vont faire mal a certains.
    Apres 4 ans, j’etais bien contente d’en partir, il y a vraiment mieux!!! Je suis bien plus heureuse et epanouie loin du monde des RH. Cette interview m’a un peu enervee… mais je l’ai lue du debut a la fin…
    Merci xxx

  • Julie BluM November, 24 2013, 1:56

    Merci Garance pour ce billet passionnant qui a résonné fortement en moi. RRH depuis 10 ans dans le domaine de l’IT, je suis heureuse quand je lis que d’autres RH partagent cette même vision du métier. Comme Kristy, mon quotidien est fait de détection de talents, de gestion des carrières et des compétences, de formation, de progression… Je fidélise, je cherche à motiver, stimuler… Je me vois plus comme un coach qui accompagne les individus pour les aider à atteindre leurs objectifs que comme un manager. Les RH ne sont pas juste un pôle de licenciement, bien au contraire ! J’ai la fierté de ne jamais avoir gérer un dossier de licenciement en 10 ans de carrière. L’écoute, le respect, l’empathie, la considération sont des valeurs très importantes dans ce métier où il faut profondément aimer l’homme, contrairement à ce que j’ai pu lire plus haut. Et je terminerai pas cette citation d’Isaac Getz « L’homme est un intérêt humain et non une ressource »

  • C’est rassurant qu’l y ait des gens qui puissent faire ce genre de travail et être passionné par ça. Je ne pourrai pas…

    Rien que l’expression “ressources humaines” est terrifiante mais elle ne ment pas et, si les employés voulaient bien prendre le temps de la comprendre, beaucoup seraient éclairés sur la place qu’ils devraient accorder à leur entreprise dans leur vie !! I

    Ouh la la révoltée que je suis ce matin… (c’est le matin à Paris) :-))

  • Sunny Side November, 23 2013, 2:57 / Reply

    Encore une fois ton interview est fantastique car il semble que vous abordiez toutes les facettes et les ouvertures de ce job. Découvrir, valoriser, supporter le potentiel d’un être humain est une aventure passionnante. C’est un boulot d’accoucheuse de talents. elle a une belle trajectoire et réussir à bosser à la maison est le nec plus ultra même si à long terme cela me semble inadequate. Tout dépend de son ambition. Ce milieu est un peu aussi beaucoup assez “killer” pour garder sa place, le chiffre d’affaires d’abord !!!

  • Très cool cette interview! C’est vrai que c’est un très beau métier les RH en général!!

  • Beau parcours effectivement , sa trajectoire fait rêver !
    La parenthèse Enchanté

  • En tant que française, j’ai une vision bien différente des RH, mais je n’accuse nullement Kristy, je trouve ça au contraire très intéressant de voir les différences France/USA !
    Fascinante interview, vraiment, j’ai beaucoup aimé et Kristy est extrêmement jolie, dynamique et inspirante pour ma propre carrière (bien que je ne fasse nullement de la RH) !

    Comme beaucoup d’autres, j’aurais la même question pour Kristy :
    What makes you think “oooh my goooood I need this candidate and not another one” ?

  • Raphaëlle November, 23 2013, 5:45 / Reply

    Superbe interview ! J’ai toujours eu de l’intérêt pour les RH, et cet article ne fait que me conforter dans mon choix ! Quel parcours de rêve… Je me demande cependant comment faire pour approcher le secteur de la mode. En tant qu’étudiante, j’ai bientôt des stages à faire et je suis un peu perdue

  • J’adore ces interviews carrière! on en veut encore!!!

  • OMG what a salary ! In Poland with management engineer degree and many many years of study I can have 700$. Eh what a cruel world… :(

  • Trop Intéressant!

  • very interesting interview, but also a bit depressing how easy was to get a job 13 or so years ago….. right now even ton of degrees, languages does not guarantee getting where you want…

  • Cette interview me donne l’impression d’un monde fermé comme dans le cinéma à Hollywood: si on n’a pas un agent toutes le portes sont fermées car ces grosses sociétés ne font confiance qu’à certains recruteurs avec squels ils ont des relations privilégiées. Ces recruteurs vont se trouver assiégés de demandes de postulants qui auront compris le truc, et si vous n’avez pas la chance d’entrer en contact avec eux ou s’ils sont trop débordés pour lire votre candidature vous n’arrivez à rien, car le cannal pour entrer dans ce milieu est réduit à quelques boîtes (comme quelques agences à Hollywood). Ca me rends pessimiste pour les wannabes.

  • I loved this piece. I am a medical student now, but I have always wanted to work in the fashion industry. I used to work visuals at American Apparel and interned for Opening Ceremony my Freshmen year of college–but I thought that because I was not born into the industry, I would not thrive. I think Kristy is brave and extremely ambitious.

  • I would be interested in knowing more about Mathilde’s^ comment about the difference between American and Parisienne perceptions on career-talks. That sounds like an interesting topic.

  • Thanks so much for continuing to do the career interviews! They are so fascinating and super helpful.

  • As someone in their early 20s who is trying to figure out what career path to take, I love your career articles and the different worlds they open us to.

    My question concerns changing careers: I have had an interest in the fashion industry since I was born (this is no exaggeration…urban legend has it that I was born with a pair of Christian Louboutin heels. What happened to those heels? Nobody knows, because I still don’t own a pair…) But in all seriousness, I recently received my first job in the international marketing department of a French beauty company. The job itself is incredible and is developing me with the valuable skills, but my mind always wanders to the fashion industry. With that said, how difficult is it to switch from industry to industry, especially taking into considering the competitive nature of fashion.

  • I love these interviews. I don’t think you’ve said it explicitly, but I love the support for women’s careers that comes through just by putting them up here. They are really precious, especially for younger women who don’t have access to this sort of insight anywhere else. Thank you.

  • Thank you SO MUCH. It’s really what I’m trying to do – I was so lost when I was 20 ! :)

  • Caroline Mt November, 24 2013, 7:46 / Reply

    Interview très intéressante, j’ai une question pour elle : je cherche à terme un associé pour monter mon affaire. Je n’ai pas trouvé dans mon réseau actuel une personne qui correspondrait au profil recherché et/ou qui souhaiterait se lancer dans l’aventure avec moi. Je devrais sûrement rechercher du coup hors du cercle des personnes que je connais :
    – comment faire? quelle est la manière la plus adaptée pour approcher des gens afin de rechercher un associé?
    – quels sont les critères absolument nécessaires pour ce genre de profil?

  • “Les licenciements, je crois que c’est bon pour les 2 parties, dans le fond je suis vraiment un ange qui fait un boulot ex-tra-or-di-naire blablabla”
    Une pauvre nana superficielle dans son petit monde superficiel

  • Le monde du travail est complètement différent au USA et encore plus dans la mode où on cherche sans arrêt à pourvoir des postes. Dans ce contexte, le rapport entre l’employeur et le salarié n’est pas le rapport de force qu’on imagine. C’est très fluide – et le problème que les employeurs rencontrent est plus de garder leurs employés que le contraire…

    C’est un sujet passionnant, et je suis ravie que nos interviews carrière vous plaisent. J’essaye de me ne pas me cantonner au jobs connus (styliste, PR) mais d’aller chercher plus loin, et je trouve ça très intéressant de mettre des visages différents sur des métiers pas évidents – dans ce sens, merci beaucoup Julie pour votre commentaire!!!

    Lola, Kristy parle de son monde, et il peut paraître superficiel mais c’est une économie très importante, la mode, et notamment en France par exemple. Pas si superficielle !

  • Great post! I love hearing all about the different business opportunities in the fashion industry – it’s great to learn how the entire process works, and all the different people involved!

  • Thank your for the interview! This is really inspiring as I also work in HR. And Kristy’s advice – to do your best in what you do now and the next step will come eventually – is really good, I’ll keep this in mind from now on. I’d like to leave my current job, but opportunities are really lacking right now in the industry, so I think I need some patience.
    Thanks Kristy!

  • Garance, well done on finding an unusual job to learn more about in the fashion industries. Often what people think of is stylist, PR, journalists, bloggers etc. I really enjoy reading your career series, because I am currently studying my Masters and will be looking for internship/jobs soon, so any advice is invaluable, especially since I am still deciding what I want to be when I grow up :)

    So a question for Kristy. She mentioned the main things that LVMH looks for among others languages and business/liberal mix as well as having lived in more than one country. I have lived in five different countries and speak 4 languages fluently. I have a Business as well as a Fashion Journalism degree and am currently studying a Master in Brand and Communications Management. I would really love to apply for a job at LVMH when I graduate, so what are other things that LVMH and other similar companies look for except for those things she mentioned? Is French a must? Unfortunately I don’t speak it…Any advice on how to succeed? I find it tough in the financial climate today. I lived in London for 4 years and struggled getting a full-time position, all work I did was freelance.

    Many thanks.

    xx Jenny

  • Billet très intéressant! Je trouve complètement absurde les commentaires qui dépeignent les gens travaillant dans les RH comme des monstres sans coeur! Au contraire, les bons DRH essayent bien souvent de défendre les intérêts des employés, notamment en cas de harcèlement de la part de leurs supérieurs. Ma mère était DRH et je peux vous dire qu’elle prenait très à coeur son travail et ce n’était pas de gaieté de coeur qu’elle licenciait les gens lorsque cela arrivait malheureusement… Elle essayait de le faire le plus “humainement” possible. Elle aimait ses collaborateurs et ils le lui rendaient bien, elle avait toute leur confiance et nouait des liens solides avec ceux qui se sentaient laissés pour compte tout en respectant les intérêts de l’entreprise, ce n’était pas forcément incompatible! Il faut aimer les gens pour faire ce métier, être empathique, c’est une certitude.
    Et puis effectivement on ne peut pas comparer le marché d’Amérique du Nord avec celui de la France, ici se faire licencier et retrouver un emploi la même semaine est monnaie courante…le préavis n’est que de 2 semaines pour un non-cadre..les choses vont très vite, on se fait virer et dans les 10 minutes il faut partir avec son carton…j’en ai été témoin plus d’une fois…les pratiques ne sont pas les mêmes, mais l’état d’esprit non plus, donc il ne faut pas fustiger le discours de Kristy!

  • I love these interview corners. It’s always so inspirational! Love the job advice she got from her Kate spade manager..I think I’ll always think upon it when I feel crushed at work. =]

  • Reading this post makes me want to regret not choosing to pursue an HR career after college ( am doing Marketing). I have a degree in BS Psychology/AB Guidance and Counseling (double major course), and I actually did an internship once with HR. But I was discouraged, at that time, the future of companies seemed bleak (there were a lot of retrenchments going on) and my college professor, who was an HR practitioner, discouraged us to pursue it. The internship didn’t help either, as from where I’m from back in the day (10 years ago), interns were just treated as the assistant of the assistant and relegated to mundane tasks (filing of resumes, filing of more documents, etc) and not a real job task. But reading this career post, gosh, how I wish I pursued HR. I really like dealing with people. Maybe I should get an MBA then with an HR concentration.

  • Hello Garance,
    ma question : faut-il vraiment venir du milieu de la mode pour répondre aux annonces de Kristy?
    J’ai 40 ans plus de 18 ans de job dans l’événementiel (logistique, organisation, commercialisation, management etc..) j’adorerais changer de voie et m’expatrier, ai-je une chance? merci
    ps : et je parle couramment anglais of course

  • Je n’ai pas vraiment lu de commentaires à propos de monstres sans coeur.
    Ce qui a surpris certains (et franchement, je les comprends), c’est la réponse à la question:
    “C’est quoi, concrètement, assurer la direction du personnel ?”
    La réponse ne contient que des aspects très négatifs, c’est très bizarre de sa part. C’est clairement une question de construction de sa réponse, je pense. Heureusement pour elle, Kristy parle plus haut d’aspects beaucoup plus positifs de son travail, c’est ce qui m’a retenue de la considérer comme une parfaite cynique dans un monde encore plus cynique qu’elle de toute façon (regarde de temps en temps par dessus ton épaule Kristy).

    Ce qui me gêne le plus dans toute cette histoire, c’est le côté expéditif, “rapidité” de la chose. Vous parlez tous de la rapidité d’action des RH aux US, mettons la sur le compte de la “flexibilité” puisqu’il s’agit de ça finalement. On compte sur le fait qu’il est possible de retrouver du boulot très ensuite. Vous savez très bien que cette flexibilité n’a qu’un temps, ou bien qu’elle dépend du secteur, qui peut évoluer très vite dans un sens comme dans l’autre.
    J’ai habité 6 ans aux Pays-Bas, et les gens partaient de leur boulot avant d’en avoir trouvé un autre, simplement parce que le goût du café de la machine ne leur plaisait pas (je force le trait, mais on n’en était pas loin dans les années 90). Croyez moi ça a bien changé, ils ont découvert le chômage. Je sais que le chômage existe aux US, mais apparemment il est encore des professions où ce n’est pas trop dramatique de perdre son job, ça pourrait changer.
    Mais de façon beaucoup plus générale, je crois que virer quelqu’un du jour au lendemain parce qu’il lui manque un petit truc, ou qu’il n’est pas parfait, c’est la chose la plus idiote qui soit. Nous vivons dans un monde sans aucune patience, et sans aucun droit à une deuxième chance. Il existe de très nombreux cas où un employé peut APPRENDRE au sein même de son travail. Si la personne est motivée, on (les RH et le supérieur hiérarchique) peut “transformer” un employé moyen en quelqu’un de très compétent et très fiable. J’ai vu ça très souvent. Mais il faut du temps. On n’en a pas, ou on ne le prend plus ce temps.

  • I am in Human Resources and I really love working on the humanpart of the job. Sadly it’s more and more coming to an administrative job, with no feeling for the employees. Since I am more of a peoples person then an administrativeclerk and there’s no place for me to grow here, I don’t really like the job. But I am motivated to keep on growing and I am looking for a position elsewhere. Fingers crossed!

  • super interview . j’adore ce post. voilà une femme réaliste et c’est pour cà qu’elle y arrive et qu’elle a la reconnaissance de nombreuses sociétés. les français sont idéalistes et non réalistes. MERCI GARANCE .

  • My (other) question to Kristy – one that keeps popping into my head but forgot to ask – if she had to choose between an internship (several) or a master’s degree, what would she prefer seeing on a resume? The application would not be science related.

    Thank you for both the article and time for answering questions. I, and based on all the comments a lot of others, really appreciate it. Being in your 20’s is fun but can also be very challenging.

  • Dear Garance, dear Kristy,
    Thank you for this fine interview. My work doesn’t directly relate to the fashion industry nor HR but Kristy’s experience & tips are no less very valuable!
    I really like how parts of the interview are about motivation, personal choices, work environment. Best, however, are the down to earth tips (you need a network; you sometimes need to help people and at other times send them an invoice; it doesn’t just happen, you need a certain combination of qualities and you need to work on those). Really appreciate business like information such as allowances and education too. Great questions for future interviews.
    It inspired me to reflect on my ambitions, kick my network into gear again and not be petty about my capabilities. I love the female ooze of this blog, but being succesfull businesswomen also entails being pragmatic and real about things: Kristy presents both ends of the spectrum. More of this please!

  • Very interesting interview, thank you for bringing a fresh perspective!

    Now the question for Kristy: how should one make the change of industries, from, say pharma or technology, to fashion? Is actual industry experience that important if I’d like to make the switch (giving that I have zero experience in fashion, but a few years in an executive search agency & in-house)?
    Which are the top recruitment agencies in the fashion industry in Europe?

    K. more than one question :)

  • Une super interview et un sujet intéressant ! Merci Garance :)

  • Bien sûr que le monde du travail est totalement différent aux Etats-Unis : déjà, vous imaginez devenir responsable d’une boutique de mode en France avec une moitié de Deug d’orthodontie et une moitié de Deug d’espagnol ?!!

    Bien sûr que non : personne ne vous ferait jamais confiance !

    Donc voilà, je pense qu’il faut prendre en compte cet aspect pour mieux appréhender les propos de cette jeune femme, elle exerce dans un pays où le contexte économique plus florissant qu’en France (licencier quelqu’un en France aujourd’hui, c’est l’envoyer au chômage pour 2 ans ou + avec très peu d’espoir de trouver autre chose !!) et elle est représentante d’une mentalité différente, où la flexibilité va dans les 2 sens, pour le licenciement ET pour l’embauche…

    Je ne sais pas si c’est bien ou pas, c’est différent ! (bon, à vrai dire, perso j’aimerais qu’on mixe les 2 systèmes, + de flexibilité dans les 2 sens, tout en gardant la protection sociale…)

  • Bonjour,
    Merci beaucoup pour cette interview! Le parcours de Kristy m’inspire et je suis totalement d’accord avec le fait de se donner à fond dans son travail car c’est ce qui payera un jour. Etre passionnée par mon travail est vraiment quelque chose qui me tient à coeur.

    J’ai une question pour Kristy concernant la recherche d’emploi aux Etats-Unis, dans la mode et le luxe. Je suis actuellement en dernière année d’école de commerce en France et j’ai déjà effectué des stages dans des maisons de luxe (marketing) et je souhaiterais partir à New-York pour commencer ma carrière. Le problème est qu’il me semble assez difficile de trouver un emploi là-bas, et je ne sais pas comment procéder !

    Merci beaucoup pour votre réponse,


  • gracias :)

  • Hello!

    Thank you so much for this interview, I’m trying to redirect myself to work in fashion and this information is really useful. I’d like to ask Kristy for advice. I’m a 25 year old Spanish girl living in Paris. I have a bachelor’s degree in translation and conference interpreting, but my true passion has always been fashion. Right now I’m doing a sewing course and a fashion design course. The thing is I’m completely lost. I want to change paths but I don’t really know how to do it, and what’s worse, I don’t really know what I’d like to do exactly. I’m relieved to read that they like litterary profiles like mine, but I’d like to ask Kristy what she recommends me to do next? What should I study? Do you think it would be possible for me to get a job in fashion even though I don’t have any experience and haven’t gone to fashion school (I speak English, Spanish and French fluently, I guess that would help?)? And also, how would you recommend me to start my career in order to discover what part of the fashion world I love most and I’m best suited for?

    Thank you for your help. And thank you too, Garance, for this series. You are doing a wonderful job.


  • les douets December, 14 2013, 1:00 / Reply


    Je viens de lire un peu tard ce post. Je n’ai pas lu tous les commentaires. Mais je souhaitais apporter mon expérience pour de jeunes qui aimeraient se lancer dans ce domaine.
    De formation psychologue, je suis rentrée un peu à reculons dans la profession de recruteur et maintenant que je viens de prendre ma retraite, je dois dire que j’ai vraiment pu y trouver un réel intérêt. Tous les aspects positifs évoqué par Kristy : souplessse de l’emploi du temps quand on a des enfants…. etc..mais aussi l’intérêt des missions et ce n’était pas dans un milieu glamour : industrie automobile, recherche agronomique, pmi et pme : oui il faut trouver le mouton à 5 patte pour hier. expliquer aux dirigeants que le profil n’est peut être pas réaliste et tout de même parfois le trouver. J’étais seule aussi dans mon business, par indépendance d’esprit, je n’étais pas obligée de présenter un candidat auquel je ne croyais pas pas mais qui aurait pu faire l’affaire sans doute. Travaillant dans des secteurs soit géographiques, soit professionnels étroits, je ne devais pas trouver des candidats minute, mais des professionnels qui devaient s’intégrer dans des équipes pour une longue durée. Mes clients m’ont été plutôt fidèles et j’ai noué des relations vraiment de confiance.
    J’ai gagné honnêtement ma vie, sans plus, comme un cadre. Intégrer un gros cabinet , m’associer cela voulait dire faire du chiffre à tout prix ,terminer les missions au plus vite pour sans doute des revenus plus importants . Je n’ai jamais regretter mon choix . Je ne voudrais pas dénigrer les grands cabinets, mais les profils de recruteurs qu’ils demandent me laissent songeuse : essentiellement de jeunes commerciaux , comment peuvent ils évaluer une personnalité, n’ayant peu d’outils, peu d’expérience ? Mes outils de psychologue m’ont été d’une grande utilité et aussi l’attention portée à faire coincider les valeurs du candidat, sa culture avec celles de l’entreprise. Cela prend du temps; certes.

    Le recrutement m’a permis aussi d’éviter les missions d’outplacement et aussi le refus de devenir Responsable RH de ne pas avoir à être en charge des licenciements. Question de choix.

    Merci pour ce blog que je regarde à chaque fois avec plaisir.

  • Bonjour !!

    je trouve cet article très intéressant ! et pour moi ce serait un reve que de travailler dans l’univers de la mode ou des cosmétiques , je suis en 3ème année de LEA et je dois faire un stage en avril 2014 , est ce facile de trouver un stage en tant que français aux états unis ?

  • I love these career posts :) thanks Garance and the team! x

  • Athenais February, 9 2014, 2:38 / Reply

    Bravo pour cet intéressant interview et ce regard très personnel sur les RH !
    Ce domaine m’intéresse de plus en plus.J’ai un parcours de juriste fiscaliste dans le secteur public et j’ai également fait un executive MBA. Est-ce que ce profil peut intéresser une maison dans le secteur du luxe, et plus précisément dans des fonctions RH ? Une formation préalable est-elle indispensable ?
    Quel conseil me donneriez-vous ?
    merci d’avance, et bravo pour ce blog,


  • Tes articles “Carrières” sont vraiment très intéressants, ils nous apprennent un tas de choses. Pour ma part, je n’ai que 15 ans, les personnes que tu interview sont dans un monde totalement inconnu pour moi. Je pense très très souvent à l’avenir en me posant sans cesse les mêmes questions “qu’est-ce que je vais faire de ma vie?”, “qu’est-ce qui me plait vraiment?”, etc, et présenter des personnes exerçant ce genre de métier dont on ne nous parle pas assez à mon gout, ça m’éclaire quelques fois!
    Merci beaucoup pour ton travail Garance.

  • Cette interview est top, mais ça n’a rien à voir avec ce que je peux observer sur le marché français. Les universités forment trop de RH, et le marché ne peut pas les absorber, et certaines entreprises essaient de supprimer la fonction RH et de la donner aux managers. Et la reproduction sociale est beaucoup plus prononcée également

  • Cet article m’est très utile car j’entre en Master 2 Droit des relations de travail dans l’entreprise et que j’envisage de faire le même métier ! Merci !

  • great points altogether, you just won a new reader.
    What would you recommend in regards to your post that you simply made a few days in the past?
    Any positive?

  • Pretty! This has been a really wonderful post.

    Thanks for providing this info.

  • You’re doing career posts now?! How delightful!

  • Bonjour, j’arrive un peu tard, mais le Q&A a-t-il été publié ?
    Il m’intéresserait beaucoup. MERCI !!

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