MBA Grad is Building Fashion and Lifestyle Brand Pretty Blonde Penny
Orange County, California native Brittany Southerland received degrees in Fashion Design and Business Management from FIDM before enrolling in the college's MBA Program. After working as the Social Media Manager for the grooming company Manscaped, she's now focused on building her own brand, Pretty Blonde Penny.
How did you come to attend FIDM? I knew at an early age I wanted to pursue fashion as a career and I also knew I wanted to go to college in California, so FIDM was the best choice for a fashion degree that people would look at and take seriously when they looked at your resume. After doing 3 Days of Fashion the year before, I knew FIDM was the school for me. I was accepted into FIDM when I was a sophomore. Fresh out of high school—two weeks to be exact—I started my first quarter at FIDM as a Fashion Design Student.
What made you want to pursue an MBA at FIDM? Six months before graduating with my B.A. in Business Management, I started interning at Hudson Jeans. I was hired on two weeks before graduation, so I knew continuing my education was the best decision I made after getting my A.A. That was before the MBA Program existed. Two years later, I received an email from [Department Chair] George Sims telling me about the MBA Program at FIDM.
At this point I was still at Hudson Jeans stuck in an assistant role I was not enjoying. I felt stuck and so I told myself if I got accepted into the MBA Program I'd do it, and if I didn't, then it wasn't meant to be. When I got the news that I was accepted I had to sit my parents down and tell them that our lives were changing and I'd need their support working full-time and going to school at night to get my MBA. That year felt so long, but it's the most rewarding decision I have ever made.
What were some highlights of the MBA Program? One lesson I still use today in business is to fully listen to your co-workers or classmates and have a real open discussion because it will help open your mind up to an idea you would have never thought of yourself. Also, communication is another big lesson most businesses can't seem to nail down. An argument or challenging someone in a conversation on an idea are only stepping stones to getting the best idea out of a discussion and it could be that million dollar idea.
Did you do any internships or hold part-time jobs while in school? While I was getting my A.A. there was an Industry Job Fair at FIDM, and that's when I got a part-time job at Victoria's Secret and I worked with them for two years. I think everyone should work for a retail job for during college to appreciate and understand the retail business. A lot of hard work goes into building a storefront and time to organize the store during hours and after hours. If you knew the amount of time to run a successful retail store, you'd be exhausted just hearing about it.
I took a few months off work while I was in my bachelor's program. Eventually I interned for Hybrid Apparel down the street where I lived. And right after leaving Hybrid I got my six-month internship at Hudson Jeans, which then led to hiring me on and me staying with them for three years. Networking is something you constantly need to do even when out having fun with friends, which is how I came about getting the Hudson Jeans internship. It truly is all about who you know and cherishing those connections.
Tell us about your current position/company and day-to-day responsibilities. Soon after leaving Hudson, I was a contracted Social Media Manager for Manscaped. They were still a very small start-up company when I was with them and my responsibility was to build the entire Social Media department from the bottom up. Many months went into creating a social media presence for this brand for men and women to learn more about the hygienic benefits of the brand and products that we sold.
The day-to-day responsibilities included posting multiple posts on all social media accounts and being the voice of the brand. Men all over the world thought I was a guy. Even influencers I worked with had no idea that a 25-year-old woman was responding back to their comments on social media. Having three brothers helped me a lot with how to respond.
I'm currently working on my own blog that I started years back. With the knowledge I received while at Manscaped, I now have created a business from home that is my own brand called Pretty Blonde Penny. I'm working with many smaller brands in California. Fashion is my first love and being a blogger is the best outlet for me.
What do you enjoy most about being a blogger? I love being part of the social media industry because that's where my generation and those younger than me go to get information. Social media is the future of learning about new businesses and brands and having that kind of exposure for your brand is extremely important.
What are your ultimate career goals? To create my own brand around my blog, Pretty Blonde Penny, and have my own branded products. I want myself and my personality to be my brand. There are so many girls out there that can relate to me and use some of my design ideas or any challenges I went through that they can relate to. My entire blog's focus is "Fashion Unfiltered, Lifestyle Unlimited"™️. My life, whether it's the clothes I wear or the furniture in my home, has an elevated style on a Marshalls budget.
Follow @prettyblondepenny on Instagram and visit prettyblondepenny.com to learn more.