We met up with Teresa Pereira from Moo.com, the genius behind Marie Claire Runway's incredible fashion stickers, to talk unlikely first jobs and building your own brand.
As the Vice President of Brand and Communications at Moo.com, describe your typical working day.
‘Without fail it starts with my cat Vespa waking me up with her face within an inch of mine – alarm clocks are redundant! I love the fresh air whilst walking to work but I can usually only hold out for 10 minutes before I start emailing on my phone. Arriving at MOO.com, the office greets you with a rainbow of colour and it’s always a joy to see the printers busy producing business stationery. Meetings throughout the day range from discussing up and coming designs for our new print products, to reviewing creative with our advertising agency, to brainstorming content strands or visiting the MOO.com Shop. By 6pm I usually find my way back to my desk to find my half eaten bowl of porridge. Most days I usually end work by ordering one of our products to keep my user experience fresh – be it Business Cards, Notecards or Stickers. We all work hard and play hard so we make an effort to leave by 7.’
What was your first job?
‘My very first job was working at Santa Barbara Community Jail as a Recognizance Officer. I interviewed people who had been arrested the night before to decide if they could be released and be trusted to show up for their impending court date. I never met anyone that was able to pull off the satsuma coloured prison uniform.’
How did you get to where you are today?
‘I studied Criminal Justice at UC Santa Barbara and then went to USC grad school to study Judicial Administration. I think it was when we had an hour-long discussion in one class about whether stealing a pen from the office cupboard was illegal that I realised law wasn’t for me. The next day I went around the room of my communications course and asked everyone what they did and was intrigued when one girl said she was a media planner responsible for Kellogg’s multi-million dollar account. I swiftly interviewed at media agencies and got a job. My boss told me I was under qualified but she interviewed me because there wasn’t a single mistake in my CV and she sensed determination in my cover letter. Every job I’ve gotten since can be attributed to relationship building. Never burn a bridge – the world is way too small!’
What skills do you look for in new employees?
‘I look for individuals that show they are genuinely passionate about our brand and have real drive – I’d rather hire someone that shows a lot of potential than someone that already ticks all the boxes. My boss and CEO, Richard Moross, said something I’ll never forget – “hire people that you would enjoy climbing up a mountain with, and when you finally get to the top, you would want to do it all over again with them.”‘
What advice would you give someone trying to break into your industry?
‘Build your own brand. Use the mediums that would be part of your job – blog, tweet, write opinion pieces. Get an internship and don’t be finicky about what they ask you to do – once you’re in the door, there are usually ample opportunities. Persistency and service with a smile pays off.’
Which career achievement are you most proud of?
‘Starting Blurb’s presence in the UK from my dining room table in Notting Hill, and over three years growing it into a 12-person strong team responsible for developing Europe, and generating over 30 per cent of Blurb’s global revenue.’
What have you learnt along the way?
‘Don’t try to force a person into becoming good at something that isn’t naturally their strength.’
What do you do to unwind after a tough day at work?
‘I spend a long time convincing myself that I should go to yoga and then I come home to eat a gorgeous meal prepared by my hubbie before settling in for some serious interior design Pinterest porn.’
Looking for more career inspo? It’s not too late to book tickets for Marie Claire’s @ Work Live, in association with Cointreau and Next. A one-day event on 23 April 2016, featuring advice, tips and inspiration from incredible speakers.