Getting a job at a big name designer boutique (Chanel, Dior, etc.) - the Fashion Spot
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Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Virginia
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Getting a job at a big name designer boutique (Chanel, Dior, etc.)
If anyone is wondering what you need to do to get a job at a boutique like Chanel, I met a representative from Chanel and she told me that she had to interview fourteen times in seven months. She says you don't need too much experience, you could even be a waiter. She said it's great to just start as an internship, and work your way up. A Chanel rep that I met last year meets with uncle Karl six times a year, and the one I met on wednesday got to go to the show in Paris, got to tour Mademoiselle's apartment, toured the factory where they make the bags, toured the costume jewelery factory, and even got to see the Couture collections when they show them to loyal clients in New York. So you don't need a lot of experience, but it's great to start lower on the totem pole.

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franki's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2011
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^ i think that is the same as many workplaces in many industries. many places hire from within and it is a great starting point, particularly if you want to get into management (whilst studying business), buying and planning. having an understanding of that businesses store operations is key.

but you still need to have some sort of direction and skill. you can't just walk in as a sales assistant and expect to be meeting karl in a few years. people need to ask themselves 'what will i focus on?' what have you studied? what are your skills etc? because depending on what your actual trade is (ie pr, marketing, management, design, manufacturing etc) it will all take different amount of work at 'the bottom'. it is also easy to become one of those people who never moves up (nothing wrong with that if that is what you want) and gets stuck working in the store but stays forever just because it is Chanel.

ETA: i just noticed you were referring to working in boutiques themselves, not HQs. well, i think it is fun to dream, but i am positive working in my local boutique in melbourne would never lead me to meeting karl or going to shows in paris. just my opinion of course, but there is a big difference between working in the store casual/part-time and being in high level management.

Last edited by franki; 24-03-2012 at 03:38 AM.
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Hi everybody,

Well I'm actually doing an internship in Cartier in CRM, which is an amazing opportunity, As I'm considering my career in luxury ( but not necesarily in a big house ) I tought I could share my personal experience.

To sum up quickly my CV. Please note that I just mention it with no pretention :

I'm french so I choose after my baccalaureat to make a preparatory class to attend a business school. Once in a business school, at the end of the first year I was required to make a 3 month internship. Well, as I wanted to work in fashion, I was recommended to start with a boutique internship as a sale associate. Luckily for me I got a sale associate internship in BCBG MAX AZRIA, in my city ( I live in the south so it's not a huge internship ), I applied to many brand such as Hugo Boss, Hermes, and others because they do not necessary reply. You have to be very patient and confident because the return rate is very very low.

After my second year, I have the opportunity to make a gap year, so I tought I didn't have that much experience in the retail and BCBG is not that well know in France, before making a 6th month internship in an Headquater I wanted to make again a sale intership but in a big house in Paris. Honnestly I make EVERY big avenue of Paris to give my CV and my cover letter. That why I tell you to be patient and wait. I think it's better to apply this way because the manager or the sale woman has the opportunity to see you and maybe evaluate you at first glimpse. I was always dressed in black and heels so they can preview me in the boutique because the appareance is a crucial point. Well, I got the tendremous luck to make it in Louis Vuitton in St Germain Des Près, which was an amazing internship with lovely people. My recommandation would be for a boutique intership to apply directly to the store rather than applying at the head office because they have more autonomy to choose their staff ( except for Chanel who make 2 sessions a year to recruit their sale person intern ).
I also applied via the website Fashionjobs and I got an interview for Hugo Boss and Kenzo but I didn't get it.

Well I'm required to make a 6 month internship ideally in an headoffice.I wanted to make an internship in Buying/Sourcing but I extend my search to marketing/sales administration/etc... I search A LOT and I got a few response but still :
- I got an interview for Dior but they wanted me to make again some boutique experience than an internship in the head office : I declined.
- I got an interview at Chanel to work in Sourcing / Data Base but I declined.
- I got the interview for Cartier in Customer Relationship Management.

So I'm still there and I enjoy it pretty much !

I should clarify that I'm from Madagascar so I'm a little bit tanned and ..... *** my physical looks may not be perfect .... so if you got the will, the passion and the experience you can totally get an internship. I got a fashion blog and I worked in an fashion student union so it helped me a lot. Don't hesitate to show that you got interest and you have extra activities linked to fashion.

As for getting a job, I would say it would be harder. Because I learn from my experience that people who work there are people who are here for years and have been faithful to the brand. In the top management, it's a always people from other department, who have give their way up or worked for one of the foreign subsidiaries. To enter a big company right now it's more in the retail they hired that in HQ's. To be in a marketing/finance/supply chain, you should have done a business master and in France we have a special cursus which is preparatory class+business school. As a french particularity, Big fashion houses tend to flavour people from the students coming from those business school. There's a ranking of french business school, so it's even harder when you come from a medium business school like me. Also you should take into account that most of the big fashion houses are french so everything in gathered in France, that's why french people get more change to enter those houses than foreigners. I actually got friends who do internship in Chanel and Kenzo. I would be happy to help if you have any question.

Moderator's Note: *** Edited to remove "weight talk", which is never allowed on the Fashion Spot, per our Community Rules and replaced it with a comment that would be allowed.

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Last edited by BetteT; 24-03-2012 at 03:43 PM. Reason: (**Edited to remove "weight talk", which is never allowed on the Fashion Spot, per our Community Rules amd replaced with a c
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I'm 20 and currently taking off school to figure out what I want to do/severe stress issues. I was considering for the time being applying at working at this designer strip mall by me. Stores offering jobs include Alice +Olivia (my top choice), Oscar de La Renta, CH Herrera, Coach and Juicy Couture. I don't have any retail experience, but I've worked in jobs that require interpersonal skills and have been commended for them as it's one of my strengths, I'm knowledgable about the brands and their items and collections and I have a flexible schedule. They don't list experience as a must in the job description. Has anyone had experience working in any of these designer's boutiques? Do they hire young people?

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Nosaceli's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2014
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I'm also interested in getting a job in Dior, Céline, Prada.. in London this summer. I have no working experience, but I'm studying fashion design and my dream is to end up working (as a designer, or such) in a iconic brand like those, and I guess you have to start from the bottom so there I go.

not to sound cocky or pretentious, but I can say I look pretty good, also I have a fancy style and I can pull off the snooty attitude (which seems to be pretty good, according to this article I've just read)

I wonder if I go all around those stores showing up (both attitude, and physical appearance)and I give the manager my CV I might get the job.

Do you have any experience (or advice) about what can I do, or just if you think you have to "have a name" to be hired on those? It would be really helpful

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BetteT's Avatar
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Did you see post #3? I think that she has good information there about applying everywhere, repeatedly, and do it in person (so the manager can see you, as you suggested).

These are highly coveted jobs and require superb sales skills ... so you must go in and sell yourself. It's important that are able to convince the manager that you can sell their line, that you suit their "image", are mature enough to work with customers who may be a lot older and a lot richer than you and that you will be a long term, dedicated employee.

Without retail sales experience, it's going to be harder. But you have the benefit of being a fashion student which might give you an edge, if you use it right.

Here is a couple of things that you can prepare for, to impress:

Hone up on their company and founder history, know their current collections and learn about what kind of client they attract ... then express that you have all of this knowledge and be prepared to talk about it.

Sales associates in shops like these keep files about their customers and notify them when new lines come in, and especially when something that might be of interest comes in. The idea is to build loyalty to the brand (and to you) and to remind them to actually take the time to come in.

So, since you don't have any existing customers, be prepared to talk about how you will attract new high paying customers. So, talk about sending announcements of you new job with an invitation to come in to visit you there. Talk about who you know who might be interested in spending money in the shop. Perhaps you know some wealthy parents of other students, your parent's friends and business associates, anyone you know who has the money to spend on luxury goods. Then talk about making follow up calls to let them know how it's going ... and to talk about the exciting things that you are getting in the shop.

I think that these things would impress the manager who interviews you ... they show that you are actually focused on sales, not the prestige of working in a high end shop.

** It's All in the Details! **

Last edited by BetteT; 28-06-2014 at 04:45 PM. Reason: Typo
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