Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Interview with intern: Danielle D'Costa

What's your name and age? Danielle D’Costa, I'm 19.

How long have you worked for/with Paper People Clothing? I've been here for 1 month.
What is your position: Student intern.

What is your educational background? Where did you go to school? How has your education adapted into your career today?

I studied visual art, piano and vocal repertoire until age 16, and was a Visual Arts major at Cawthra Park Secondary School. There, my interest in musical theatre, business, earth and space science and fashion began to grow. I'm now studying Fashion Design at Ryerson.

To express my creative ideas I was able to adapt my four passions into an eco/entrepreneurship fashion show called Urban Revolution I produced just last year, with Enactus Ryerson – an incredible student group in the Business School at Ryerson University! 


The show had excellent results – including creating a new wave of fashion entrepreneurs! It has really developed my interest in green fashion.  I love my internship with Jennifer because I am learning about how she has created her business, and creative ways to lower your environmental impact. The success of that show also helped nominate me and my co-producer to become the student directors of a new fashion initiative at Ryerson – The Fashion Zone - a collaborative ‘ecosystem’ designed to accelerate all fashion and fashion inspired businesses! We'll be launching pretty soon so keep an eye out for it!

2. What is the best part about working with/for Paper People?

The environment, the other interns and Jennifer definitely! I've learned so much in the short month I’ve been with Paper People, all the while getting advice for my business and new contacts she introduces me to! She’s very open about everything and won’t hesitate to help you out! I think it’s because she is so well connected in the green fashion community and has grown so successful. There is no pressure and you get to learn about as many (non-private) aspects of the business as you want! I love it.

3. Fast Fashion is such a fad, why do you think Paper People Clothing will stand the test of time?

I think Paper People Clothing has the right idea. Sustainability is becoming a staple in every business.  If you don’t have it – you’re going to be at a loss in a few years time – I can almost guarantee! At Paper People, the clothing is very unique, as recycled as possible and the brand is consistent. You can be proud of wearing something with such little impact on the environment, - it says great things about you as a person, and it is well worth the money! I’m very excited for the coming changes Jennifer is making to Paper People as well – definitely something to stay tuned for!

12. What kind of advice do you have for someone who is interested in running their own creative business or working in a creative industry?

Simple! Check out the Fashion Zone in August, and apply asap!! In the meantime you can check out the video here.  But I think the best advice is to embrace business.  You need to really understand and embrace business concepts to be successful in the arts whether it be knowing how to pitch yourself or your business, marketing knowledge, creating a business plan, networking, etc! Start writing down your business model, don’t just keep it in your head! Create your first prototype and start getting feedback! Get other peoples' opinions to help you create the best product or service possible! Also don’t be disheartened, you more likely than not have an artistic mindset, and you think in a different way, but if you get involved in the business world asap and bring both these mindsets together, you will be very successful! You can check out the Business Model Canvas here , and you can check out StartMeUp Ryerson, an award-winning student organization at Ryerson – most events are low cost or completely free of charge to anyone outside of Ryerson, and we offer a crash course on business, mentors, access to networking events and funding! That’s the place to be. There’s also a start-up weekend every year – I believe it is bi-annual.

13. Tell us about some other creative projects you have on the go!

I am actually very interested in using fashion to fight poverty, and I’m working on a textile initiative I’m hoping to implement in Kenya, in a village called Dago. The student team, Enactus Ryerson goes there twice a year and has really helped raise the village out of poverty through business concepts! Changing what fashion can do and how it is perceived is my goal, because for too long people have had little respect for it and as an art/fashion student it frustrates me.  I’m also starting a small business just for the summer – selling t-shirts in tencel to raise the funds for me to go. I am mentoring multiple fashion entrepreneurs through the Fashion Zone and working on a youtube channel this summer!– I want to do Disney voice overs haha, mentoring 3 new producers to continue the fashion show my co-producer and I created last year and more to come! I’m all over the place! But I just love doing as much as I can.

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