I have the best job. Every day I get to exercise my creativity, design clothing for a strong community of women, and work with a team of talented people who love what they do. But getting to this point wasn’t happenstance. Just like one designs a fashion collection, I designed my career. First, I started with a concept, then I developed a strategy and followed a series of steps that got me to where I am now.
There are many ways to achieve happiness in your work and career, but this is what worked for me. Here are some tips on designing the job of your dreams. Go on, create!
Ask yourself, what am I most curious about?
Is there something you just can’t stop thinking about? This is your first clue to finding professional satisfaction.
My obsession was (and still is) finding clothing that is comfortable yet doesn’t skimp on style. Coco Chanel is one of my greatest influences in this regard. She hated carrying a handbag because it left her hands tied. Inspired by soldiers’ bags, she designed a bag with thin straps that allowed women to wear their purses across their bodies. Voilà! Handsfree.
The ANINE BING collection is centered around the perfect fit. We want women to get dressed for an action-packed day. No one needs to be bothered with an unforgiving underwire bra or feel like their dress shirt is suffocating them while working a boardroom or running after their children!
Identify recurring themes
When setting out on this journey, I listed all of the activities that excited me and started doing each of these things on a weekly basis with the intention of noticing which activities left me feeling fulfilled. I kept a journal and captured every thought, idea, and feeling that emerged. When I was done, there were five clear themes which I kept circling around:
Visiting vintage stores
Talking to other women about their business ideas
Check convention at the door
Before starting ANINE BING, I was in a band named Kill Your Darlings. The creative process for songwriting is reliant upon an open mind—some of the best lyrics use symbolism and metaphors to communicate ideas without being too literal. Think: poetry! So when I sat down to write music, I had to check convention at the door and come up with new ways of saying what artists have been saying for centuries—love cures, the heart heals.
Try applying this principle when designing your own career. Don’t dismiss anything! Be open to ideas as they come and search for the deeper meaning. It may be your subconscious (your inner muse) trying to tell you something.
Now, when it comes time to design the collection for a new season at ANINE BING, my team and I apply a similar creative approach. We begin with a moodboard that uses images to tell a story. From this board, inspiration for new silhouettes, textures, and color combinations strike. An example, why make brown leather cowboy boots when they can be bright blue!
Do you have any career advice for other women in our community? Share in the comments below!
Celebrate love with an updated LBD and over-the-knee boot. Statement
sleeves and thigh high suede never looked so good.
For Anine and Nico Bing, love is a marriage of opposites. “The best things in life come from differences” says Nico, co-founder of ANINE BING and husband to Anine. We recently caught up with Nico at the ANINE BING headquarters, sitting at the communal picnic table where employees gather for healthy lunches delivered three days a week. In light of Valentine’s Day, we asked how he and Anine met and what keeps their relationship strong. At this request, he reddens slightly—he’s not used to being the one in the spotlight.
Over the years, many people have gotten to know Anine via her social media presence and public-facing role as the Chief Creative Officer for the brand. But Nico plays an equally important part overseeing the garment production and operations of the company. Blessed with a vibrant personality, contagious energy, and a laugh that bellows throughout the office, Nico is the company’s life force in many ways. It’s not uncommon to see him “hollering” at an employee across the room, only to thank them for their hard work, or to recognize a new employee on their first day with a high five. But beyond his fun, easygoing personality and natural sociability lies a discipline that’s resolute. “Anine is the free spirit. The one who goes with the flow and lets things happen. “But I live by a schedule. If I’m two minutes late to a birthday party in Los Angeles, it’s a no-go for me,” he shares, with a smile on his face and gleam in his eye. “That was a big challenge for us at the beginning.”
A story every ANINE BING employee learns upon entry is how the company’s Creative Director, Emma Sandvik, introduced Anine and Nico. “Six months before I met Anine,” he says, “Emma pulled me aside and told me: I found your future wife.” Solid move, Emma.
When they finally met six months later at Nico’s apartment in Turkey, the connection was instant. They’ve been inseparable since that first meeting. “You know when you know,” he says, rolling up his sleeve to reveal a tattoo, which proclaims this very thing. “That’s a huge phrase for our brand, and for me and Anine as a couple,” he says. “We’ve put it on t-shirts, signs, stickers: You know when you know.”
Back to the notion of opposites attracting one another, Nico speaks matter-of-factly about his and Anine’s differences. “I’m attracted to everything that makes her different from me. I wish I was the kind of person who could act spontaneously and turn left when the directions call for a right,” he says. “But our unique approach to life is what makes it fun. Some of life needs to be scheduled and some of it should be spontaneous. Balance is everything.”
With that, he says he has another two minutes before he has to go. “You can see it on my face, right?” (Editor’s Note: He’s referring to his anxiety around being late.) So we cut to the chase and ask about the proposal. “Anine had a little apartment in Beachwood Canyon,” he begins. “We would hike up to the Hollywood sign every day, so I proposed on the top of the hill when we got to the sign. It may sound a little cheesy but it was more about catching her during our morning routine when she’d least expect it. That’s what I liked about it—the simplicity.”
That ease and authenticity is likely why their relationship has thrived. “What kills most relationships,” Nico says before wrapping, “is the expectations people have. The impossible ideal of perfection.” And with that, he hops up to be on time for his next meeting.
Every fashion week, the ANINE BING team travels from L.A. to Copenhagen, New York, and Paris to represent our latest collection. On the most recent trip, we tapped our Global Account Manager, Jackie Maltzman, and asked her to share a 72-hour travel diary from Copenhagen. Be sure to bookmark this for your next trip, and stay tuned for her diaries from New York and Paris, coming soon.
I arrived at my hotel during happy hour, where I was welcomed with a nice glass of locally made wine. Feeling exhausted from the long flight, I fell asleep and woke up early the next morning to tackle my first day in Copenhagen. I stayed at SP34, a trendy, hipster-ish hotel with homemade, organic food. There are a few throughout the city.
I ate breakfast at the hotel, which included traditional Danish rye bread, yogurt, a berry compote, and eggs. Everything was super fresh!
Then I met up with our Danish wholesale rep in her show room for appointments with our Scandinavian accounts, meaning our Swedish, Danish, and Norwegian wholesale clients.
Around lunch time, I joined one of our other reps for tea at the very elegant Hotel d’Angleterre, which is a fashionable thing to do when you’re in the city. Next I went to the Acne archive store, because it’s the only one in the world.When in Copenhagen, right?
From there, I had appointments the rest of the day and did a working dinner. At last, it was time to snooze.
The following day, I did a repeat breakfast at the hotel (it was too good to pass up) and stayed busy with appointments in the morning.
At lunch, I stopped into a cool spot called Cafe Victor and afterwards walked around the different shopping districts in Copenhagen, scoping out potential store locations for ANINE BING.
Around 3pm, our Danish rep gave me a private tour of the city.—the best way to experience a new place is on foot with a local. She took me to go see the castle, Christian Berg Palace, and the mermaid—The Little Mermaid originated in Copenhagen. She also showed me around some of the up & coming neighborhoods.
For dinner, I met with our French rep who also happened to be in Copenhagen, then out for a few drinks.
Tired from another long day, I crashed around 11:00pm!
I walked down the street to a local bakery for a quick breakfast on the go. Taking full advantage of the delicious breads and pastries before leaving this charming city! Off to the final appointments of the trip.
For lunch, our Danish rep introduced me to a tiny little hole in the wall for healthy sandwiches and salads.
In the afternoon I stopped into Atelier September—a trendy cafe for sweet pastries and avocado toast. Grabbed a big green tea before heading to the airport around 6pm. Of note: the city does not have Uber, only taxis. We’re so accustomed to the convenience of Uber, so we have to polish off those survival skills and grab a cab in the street whether rain or snow!
Until next time, Copenhagen!