It’s rare for our realities to mimic our dreams. The chance of someone uttering “I love my job” with conviction is even less likely in today’s pragmatic workforce. Luckily for University alum Olivia Carrino, PR associate of Shopbop, she found herself where she always aimed to be by keeping her goals specific, aspirations lofty and optimism high.
“I kind of fell into PR and now that I’ve been doing it for three and a half years, it’s really exactly where I should be,” Carrino said. “I love interacting with people; I love the face time; I love meeting new people.”
For Carrino, the proverbial finish line meant pursuing a career in fashion or, more specifically, achieving her lifetime goal of working at Vogue Magazine. By the summer of 2009, after her junior year, she landed a promotions internship at the fashion publication, and her dreams became a reality.
“The only place I wanted to intern was Vogue magazine, and there was no other option,” Carrino said.
When she arrived at Condé Nast that summer, having the University of Michigan on her resumé seemed to pair well with her sartorial pursuits.
“The woman that hired me for my internship was also a U of M alum and she said to me on my first day, ‘Well, I knew you were going to be smart, because you graduated from Michigan,’” Carrino recalled.
She found her Vogue experience to be a stepping stone along her ever-evolving career pathway. Though her internship on the promotions side of the magazine was scheduled to last half of the summer, she was asked to stay for the remainder of the season on the magazine’s editorial side.
“It led to so many things,” Carrino said. “I was very, very lucky, but it took a lot of hard work to get there.”
With Carrino, her go-getter attitude manifests into a unique triple threat — one part drive, another part work ethic and a third her outgoing disposition.
“Whether it was dancing competitively or playing soccer or going to the University of Michigan, I had one goal and just kind of chased it until I got it,” Carrino said.
It’s that unchecked ambition along with her lifelong penchant for fashion that Carrino attributes to her success. During her time at the University, she pursued a double major in Communications and Spanish, dabbled in writing for The Michigan Daily’s News section and participated in the NOiR fashion show her senior year.
“It’s funny because I think a lot of people tend to say, ‘You know, what I learned in college doesn’t really apply in my real life,’ but I actually feel very different for what I do,” Carrino said. “I’ve been working on a marketing team and in PR and events, and really what I learned in my communications classes is very, very applicable.”
By the time graduation rolled around, Carrino had two job offers — full-time positions at both Vogue and Shopbop. Torn between her childhood goal and the exciting prospects of a new fashion environment, Carrino struggled to come to a decision. Ultimately, she chose the Shopbop position for its e-commerce focus — one she decided would endow her with a valuable edge for future opportunities.
“It felt like the longest weekend ever, making that decision,” Carrino said. “It was funny, it almost felt like everything I wanted was right in front of my face and I chose to go the opposite direction. But I think in life you learn different things about yourself with different experiences, and I felt like my internship had given me really great experience and exposure in the publishing world and I was ready to move onto the next step.”
At Shopbop in New York City, there is no typical workday for Carrino in the constantly evolving landscape of e-commerce. Between being in and out of meetings, editing interviews, editor lunches and post-work events, hardheaded Carrino is fit for the hectic schedule. Along with being style-savvy, it’s imperative for fashion PR women to stay up-to-date in all facets of the media.
“I read WWD everyday; I read The Skimm daily; I have different Google alerts set up,” Carrino said. “I think being in PR, you need to stay really addressed to current events especially, obviously in the industry. You need to stay current because that’s what PR is all about.”
When asked for sage career advice for those who share her affinity for fashion, Carrino stressed the old adages of being yourself and working hard, similar to the strong example she has set.
“I really believe you need to stay true to yourself and kind of not get lost in the glitz and glamour of what the fashion industry is portrayed to be,” she said. “From the outside, fashion is all pretty. At the other side of the industry there are a lot of smart people doing a lot of really big things that make it run, and I think that you need to kind of leave your entitlement at the door and be ready to work and work.”
Staying true to her philosophy of accepting professional challenges in favor of the valuable learning experiences that follow, Carrino recently accepted a job offer as the U.S. PR Manager of MiH Jeans, a denim brand based in London.
“After three and a half years at Shopbop, I have decided it is time to move on,” Carrino said. “Though bittersweet, I wanted to go brand-specific and challenge myself in ways I have not yet experienced.”
Though Carrino has experienced success in her field, she makes a point to stay grounded in an industry often seen as superfluous.
“New York is an interesting place and fashion can be interesting,” Carrino said. “Sometimes I need to remind myself I’m not curing cancer and it’s just clothes, and that kind of puts things into perspective a little bit.”