Hannah Rafter: “Don’t be scared to go against the grain”

Since graduating from university, Hannah Rafter hasn’t followed a traditional career path. Working in fashion, Hannah knew the value of experience and internships, unlike many others doing something similar, Hannah has forged her own way. Through hard work, a desire to help others and not being afraid to take a risk, Hannah has been able to found her own business as well as managing and editing several other platforms.


We interviewed Hannah about her experiences building her career, despite being just 24 she offered advice beyond her years.


Tell us a bit about yourself

I’m Hannah, 24, living in central London. I am what you would call a slashy (thanks Emma Gannon for the term). I like to do lots of different things and keep my hands in a few pies that I'm passionate about. I studied Fashion Management at Nottingham Trent University and took a year out of university to intern in London and New York. I worked for various brands, designers and agencies within the fashion industry. I very quickly learnt what having a work ethic looks like and what it really takes to be successful.


Upon leaving New York, I started The Intern 24/7. The site started as my own personal blog, documenting my journey while working in one of the most glamorized industries. As the site grew, so did my career and I was no longer an intern. That’s when the writers joined and made it what it is today. The Intern 24/7 now shares the journeys of 13, 20-something women working all around the world. We share tips we have on the working world and advice we would give our younger selves if we could.


I run the Intern 24/7 alongside working for Enty, a fashion styling app that allows women to get feedback on their outfits from a troll-free community and dedicated Stylists. I’m the Editor and Community Manager there, so no day is the same and I wouldn’t want it to be.

I am also a freelance writer for Fashion United.


How did you get into the fashion industry?

I find this question really hard, as I can't really remember! I always loved magazines and newspapers, they were always lying around the house when I was little and I use to post it note pages and say what I liked and didn’t. I guess I was destined to be an Editor! I was interested in the fashion industry but strangely didn’t care about the clothes I wore! I have always been creative so the fashion industry seemed like a good fit.


Do you think enough is being done by businesses to address gender imbalance?

Absolutely not. I am a big believer of hiring the right person for the role, don’t simply hire someone to even out the genders. But there are enough great men and women out there in order to have a gender-balanced workforce. The white men in suits need to realise its 2019 and get on board.


What are some strategies that can help women achieve a more prominent role in their organisations?

Management coaching, more women speaking up about their experiences in management and how they have ENJOYED IT! Better maternity or paternity practices in the workforce as well as the company pushing and prompting women to apply for more senior roles. Unless they feel prepared, valued and ready for the role they won’t apply themselves.


What three tips would you give to young females starting their careers?

Don’t be scared to be a boss, it doesn’t make you bossy! We need more females in leadership roles, so why not you? Take every day as it comes and don’t beat yourself up over the small stuff. The things that are problems today, you will joke about in a year. Make the best decision for you in the moment and don’t think ahead too much.


What is the biggest lesson that you’ve learnt along the way?

That you don’t have to have it all figured out! When I was growing up and at university, I was so excited to get my career going, be a proper adult (whatever that means) and have my life all figured out. I haven’t got to that stage, no way near and I’m now ok with that! Take chances, don’t follow a path that has been planned out for you by someone else and don’t be scared to go against the grain. Doing something that’s never been done before is exciting, scary and incredibly rewarding.


Have you ever felt that your gender has brought unnecessary challenges to your career?

At times I have felt people prejudge my role, industry and responsibilities as a creative, female-based role, which is complete BULLS***. I have never felt limited based on my gender however, do understand that female founders always receive little funding, support and backing. Something one day I may face.


Do you think that you would have the drive and desire to found your business? If you want to read about another woman who founded an initiative make sure to check out Esther Akpovi's blog about being the founder of the SheEO Alliance.

#YesSheCan

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