Learning from Super Heroes
- Name: Katherine Ormerod, @katherine_ormerod
- Profile: Fashion
- Location: UK
- Followers: 38.000
Katherine Ormerod is a former fashion editor turned influencer who also runs her own content creation business and works as a freelance writer and author. While she’s known for her style, she also campaigns for social media honesty and authenticity. Here she shares her career story and passions.
Plan B Career
All I ever wanted to do was work on a fashion magazine. I was obsessed with shopping and clothes, but it wasn’t until I got to University in Edinburgh and started a Saturday job working at Harvey Nichols that I really thought seriously about it as a career path. After I finished my undergraduate degree I applied for a Master’s programme at the London College of Fashion in Fashion History and started interning on lots of different magazines and newspapers including Instyle, Marie Claire and the Independent.
My first job was at matchesfashion.com just after they launched their online business. It was so amazing to be around such a dynamic team, but when Sunday Times Style magazine offered me a job as a Fashion Assistant, I jumped at the chance. Over the next five years I moved into fashion features writing then on to trend forecasting before working as Senior Fashion Features Editor at Grazia magazine which was such an incredible experience. From the front rows at fashion week to countless amazing opportunities to interview some of the industry’s most successful names across the globe, it was everything I had hoped it would be.
But after I turned 30 things changed and I started to feel very aware of my lack of financial security. Magazine jobs are notoriously poorly paid and I’d recently gone through a divorce so was on shaky financial ground. I decided it was time to set up my own business and try and build a new career with a more recession-proof future. I’d been working across the print and digital sides of magazines for years and helping brands with advertorial work, so I decided to set up a content business to help brand editorialise their online platforms.
I’d also set up my own Instagram account, but at this stage I only had about 5k followers. However, from working on magazines I had met some of the biggest early bloggers and had a good idea of what they were doing across social media. I decided to try and grow my audience on Instagram and increased the amount of posts I was doing to one per day, covering fashion, travel and lifestyle.
However, I knew I didn’t want to launch a traditional blog-there are so many amazing fashion sites out there and I just felt it was too crowded to add yet another #OOTD url to the pile.
Over the years of working in fashion and social media I had started to feel that there was an increasing pressure for us all to be perfect and that only the photogenic sides of our lives were being talked about. In 2016, I started working on my website, workworkwork.co which I call an ‘anti-perfectionism’ platform. On the site, I interview influencers and young women who work in aspirational careers and ask them to be really honest about their lives and the many challenges they’ve encountered along the way.
To me, it’s so important to feel that you can be authentic, honest and open on social media which can be such a pressurised environment. It’s completely possible to build an audience that connects with the ‘real’ you and still loves following your fashion content-you just have to try and strike the balance between your inspirational imagery and feeling comfortable with admitting that not everything is picture perfect every day.
Now I find the posts that get the most engagement are the ones where I talk about issues or highlight struggles I’m going through. It can be really tempting to just keep things totally superficial-especially when you work across fashion, travel and lifestyle-but to really connect with people you have to be vulnerable. That is how you build a true community.
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