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Don’t Wait: Make Your Own Opportunities


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Cieja Springer is a fashion purveyor and style expert with over 16 years of experience in luxury marketing and fashion. She’s worked with L'Oreal, Maserati, Estée Lauder, Nordstrom, and many more. She’s also the host of From The Bottom Up!™️, a podcast where she speaks about hidden gems in the fashion industry.

Cieja shares how she broke into the fashion industry in her own unique way in this episode of Motivational Mondays.

How Cieja Created Her Own Space

As a woman of color, Cieja had to find a different approach to break into fashion and marketing. Cieja knew she wanted to touch fashion in a different way and she did it through a podcast that features unsung heroes in the industry. Each episode is a deep dive into their career journeys, style conversations, and their opinions on today’s industry. 

Cieja also discusses her passionate topic of shoes. She explains how there was a time when you couldn’t get high fashion beyond a size 10. If something is available but you don’t fit standard size conventions, you might have to get a larger size and have it tailored. But the one thing that is almost always true to size? Your feet. She always finds a way to incorporate her love for footwear into her life and work.

Make Your Own Opportunities

Cieja has been marketing since she stepped foot on Howard University’s campus. She was clear on what she wanted, even when her father challenged her to choose a different career. Cieja knew she wanted to write and that she wanted to be part of the fashion industry. 

Her dad always taught her that, “You have to do what you have to do, to do what you want to do.” So, she majored in advertising and minored in fashion merchandising to get the tools she needed to do what she wanted to do. Doing this allowed her to hone her skills and understand the industry from all angles.

Diversity and Inclusion Within the Fashion Industry

André Leon Talley was Cieja’s greatest inspiration. As a person of color at the top of his game, he should have been celebrated and compensated more for his greatness. Instead of “playing along to get along,” he should have been utilized as the catalyst for brands to diversify. André’s story empowers African Americans to go after their creative dreams.

Cieja doesn’t see a lot of people of color working in executive positions in fashion. But she sees some brands implementing changes to make diversity part of their core DNA. The changes aren’t always seen by the naked eye. But Cieja points out that they’re making moves behind the curtain to set a foundation. 

Cieja encourages listeners, “Take that same energy that we place on wanting to be in these rooms and place that on creating our own rooms, building our own tables, and establishing our own ways.” People like André Leon Talley became who they were because they decided that’s what they were going to be. You can also make your own opportunities.

Listen to this episode to learn about...

  • [1:22] Who first inspired Cieja to work in fashion
  • [3:58] How Cieja created the space she wanted to be in
  • [8:15] What it takes to be a purveyor in your craft
  • [11:48] Diversity and inclusion within the fashion industry
  • [13:38] The legacy of André Leon Talley

Listen to the bonus episode to learn more about Cieja’s podcast, From The Bottom Up!™ and her passion for sharing stories of fashion’s unsung heroes.