The Bomb Life, My Brand. My Terms consists of eleven chapters chronicling Claire's youth all the way to present day. She holds back on none of the obstacles she indured and the drama in between. It is a quick read, I got through the first six chapters in one sitting. If you're a fashion industry hopeful in any capacity AND a woman of color, I definitely recommend this book. I wanted to share a few things I took away from reading the Bomb Life in hopes it will inspire you too.
1. Know That You're Capable, Even if Others Don't
Claire noted that her family and other adults in her life often weren't on board with her major life transitions. She was discouraged from attending Harvard, except by her brother. They also weren't on board with her move to Paris. However, Claire knew what she was capable of and used that as her motivation.
2. Listen to Your Woman's Intuition
My reaction was "Ooh girl!" to some situations Claire divulged. From virtually being uninvited to shows as someone's plus one because she wouldn't sleep with the man who invited her to remaining in an unhealthy relationship that almost ruined what she build because she wanted it more than she needed. In both situations, there were signs that that told her she should exit stage left. Listen to that intuition ladies!
3. Just Because They Look Like You Doesn't Make Them a Friend
This is a lesson I also have come to learn. Claire ran into situations where she was one of two African-American women. Yet the other women either ignored her or saw her as competition and treated her as such. In a space where it was already difficult to assimilate as no one has shared your experiences as a person of color, it was amplified with lies and drama by someone who could have been someone to lean on. You will find your rock in the most unexpected places. I too, have been screwed over by people who were in a position to lift me up and encourage me. Such is life.
4. Be Gutsy!
Who knew that most of the fashion shows that hit Fashion Bomb Daily in the early years were a result of Claire crashing the shows? Girl! I don't know if I have it in me to drop a name of someone I barely know to gain access. However, if you have no other option, you make one. Cudos girl!
5. Move with the Times
One of the main things Claire has credited to the longevity of FBD, is her willingness to evolve her brand. With the emergence of social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, she hopped on. Doing this helped her brand become more visible and reach more followers.
6. Look the Part
If your career involves talking about the latest in fashion, you have to look fashionable. You are your brand at all times. In the gym, airport, and at the glitzy party. Find your signature look and werk it!
7. Put in Work
Working for hours on a post only to have no one read or comment on it. I have been there as I grow Diva Chronicles. Claire stated that she kept working anyway and you must to the same when you want to nurture your dream. Long hours, sacrifice, and grit.
You have to pry yourself from behind your computer and meet real people in person. Those contacts can take you far.
Image Source: Claire Sulmers' Instagram