A $5,000 donation to a fashion exchange could open up a new path to earning a salary.
“We are really excited to be able to offer the exchange to people who are already working in fashion and who would like to find a new role in the fashion industry,” said Tasha St. Clair, founder and CEO of the Vumc Learning Exchange.
St. Claire, who has more than 20 years of experience in the sector, says she saw millennials’ skills in fashion as being “over-hyped” when she first launched her online exchange.
“The idea for VumcaX was actually based on how we found out that people had a lot of experience working in the industry,” she told Fortune.
“We had some people who were already in the profession, but we also found out they were really good at applying for jobs.”
Vumc’s service is designed to help millennials who are in the business of fashion search for jobs that fit their skills and interests.
Stiles, who is also a designer herself, is looking to help young designers find opportunities in the community and to connect with designers through the exchange.
She said that she wanted to be a part of something that helps the next generation of designers get into the business.
“It’s really exciting to be involved with something that is so inclusive and really open,” she said.
“It’s like having a conversation with a friend in a fashion store, a designer, and hopefully, you will be able connect.
We are excited about being able to bring the community together and be able help them find a job.”
St Clair hopes that her efforts will lead to new opportunities for designers.
“When we launched Vumcas, I thought it was a good idea.
I thought we were going to have a few hundred people apply, but it was only about 1,000,” she recalled.
“Now, we have more than 12,000 people who have applied.
So that has increased our numbers exponentially.”
A startup that helps designers apply for jobs at VumC, she said, has helped create thousands of jobs.
St Clair said that her company’s website, which is powered by the same code as Vumus, has already generated more than $50,000 in revenue, and that she has found that she can make $30,000 a year as a consultant for designers in the exchange’s network.
She also said that while there have been a number of high-profile fashion exchanges in the past, none have helped young designers who were looking for jobs.
“For me, it was very hard to find jobs,” she admitted.
“There are a lot more designers out there than there are people who would consider looking at these platforms.
The only way to get to these platforms is by creating some content.
You need to be creative, but that’s a skill you have to have.”
St. Clair also said she thinks that her experience in designing and working in business will help her to create a better network for designers, especially in the digital space.
“One of the things that has really helped me is having a mentor who is a designer who has been in the design space and also has experience in online communities and in the workforce,” she explained.
“I have also found that I have more knowledge of the community, so I am more able to understand the needs of the designers who I am working with.”
For young designers, St. Louis is an ideal partner.
“In order for young designers to succeed, they need a mentor, and I think that mentors are a huge asset to them,” she continued.
“They provide a platform that they can work on their craft, and they also help them connect with people who want to work in the same space as them.”
Stiles, like many young designers in America, was inspired by the success of other social media platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest.
She has also seen that there is a need for more support in the workplace.
“Social media is one of the tools that is helping young people connect with others who are interested in the arts, and also to connect them with mentors,” she pointed out.
“One of my mentors is a young designer who was trying to make money as a designer online.
He was looking for a job in a particular field, but didn’t know how to start.”
Stokes also hopes that the VUMC platform will help designers make a career in the new era of fashion.
“What we have seen is a shift in the economy, and this is a new opportunity for people to find careers in fashion,” she added.
“As a young woman who has a passion for fashion, this is something that I really love.
It is a great opportunity for me to get out of my comfort zone and get involved in this space.”