I met Estel Day in my last year of college as a fashion student when I applied to be her intern, eventually working my way up to manage her workroom. This was the best career choice I ever made. Under her tutelage, I was able to explore pattern making, seamstress work, manufacturing, production... every aspect of the industry really. Estel gave me the opportunity to try everything, see what I was good at, and explore what I enjoyed doing. I would like to point out that this is not common industry practice. When entering the world of mass production, your scope of work is very limited and there is not much room to cross over into different positions.
Luckily for me, Estel took the time to answer my questions, take me on industry related field trips, flew me to her fashion shows in New York to have hands on experience, offer wisdom from her own experiences, give me opportunities to try new things, and develop my skills. I am blessed to have someone take such a personal interest in my career. I truly believe that her influence is what drew out the best of my abilities and I now consider her more than a boss, but one of my best friends.
I have never felt inferior, or bad at my job when working for Estel Day. She has this way of turning every mistake into an opportunity and a learning experience. Estel frames everything in life as a way to improve, rather than dwelling on negativity. I was never made to feel like a failure which is the most freeing way to excel at the tasks handed to me. Why waste time being sad when you can be better? That is a true sign of a leader and mentor.
I am more ready than ever to volunteer for the Jan and Frank Day Foundation. I want to give others what Estel has given me, the opportunity, guidance, and motivation to better themselves. Like Estel and her grandmother before her, I want to help that girl who knows that she wants to be great, has a hunger to learn and hone her craft, but needs the assistance to put each piece together in order to reach her end goal. I want to ask the questions: what are you good at? what do you enjoy?.. and help give other women the tools to capitalize on those answers!