Lauren Johnson is the founder and chief govt officer of The Hyacinth Group, and has over 10 years of expertise within the digital area, which started as an assistant web service provider at Victoria’s Secret. Looking for to propel her profession ahead, she went on to obtain an MBA from LIM Faculty, with a give attention to entrepreneurship. After incomes a sophisticated diploma, Johnson was recruited to work as an web supervisor at Steve Madden, the place she targeted on buyer retention and web site engagement and launched the corporate’s social media integration program.
Quickly after, Lauren started consulting for manufacturers resembling SK-II and Aerosoles, bringing their digital applications to the subsequent stage with the creation of responsive websites and complete advertising and marketing campaigns. Now, Lauren makes use of her digital experience to assist firms develop and have interaction on-line shoppers by her personal company, The Hyacinth Group. Right here, she shares her profession path and insights discovered alongside the best way.
WWD: How would you describe your profession path? What had been among the challenges you confronted?
Lauren Johnson: I’d sum up my profession path with the phrase, “Selecting the trail much less chosen.”
Undoubtedly, my most difficult profession hurdle has been touchdown a full-time place. I’d all the time get so shut. I used to be even flown out to Chicago on a number of events for interviews.
The interview course of will be grueling. I even employed a profession coach for help. I landed interviews at high tech firms like Fb and Google, nevertheless it all the time got here all the way down to me and one other candidate, and I used to be by no means the chosen candidate.
I received so annoyed. My thoughts was solely targeted on discovering a full-time digital profession, and it felt like I used to be failing. However my profession coach, Bianca Jackson, jogged my memory that I’ve a historical past of serving to main manufacturers like Victoria’s Secret, Steve Madden and Aerosoles make thousands and thousands on-line.
She mentioned if I might make these manufacturers thousands and thousands, why not do the identical for myself? That received my wheels turning. As of final 12 months, simply 3 % of computing-related jobs had been held by African American girls. So after six years of attempting to make it within the 3 %, I selected to begin my very own digital firm.
WWD: What’s The Hyacinth’s Group’s mission?
L.J.: At The Hyacinth Group, we flip browsers into patrons. Our mission is to interact on-line shoppers. We create digital options that work for each shopper and client.
WWD: How did your coursework in your grasp’s diploma program assist inform your profession choices?
L.J.: As an entrepreneur, probably the most useful class was monetary administration. That gave me the instruments I wanted to create monetary projections for quite a few grants purposes and pitch competitions for my digital start-up.
My expertise in grad faculty additionally taught me how you can work alongside individuals with various cultures and personalities. Within the digital area, you’re usually collaborating with a ton of various individuals, so realizing how you can work with varied personalities is the important thing to success. That’s very true for digital careers that demand collaborating in hectic, fast-paced environments — the place the whole lot is due yesterday.
I arrived at LIM with a transparent mission to additional my profession within the digital area and land a senior management place. And I did simply that. Commencement was Might 31, and I began at Steve Madden on June 3 as an web merchandise supervisor.
WWD: Have you ever had mentors within the business? How have they helped you?
L.J.: I’ve had some actually impactful mentors. My first was Paul Barrett, the supervisor at Barney’s New York. Then at Steve Madden, I grew to become pleasant with the director of retail and e-commerce options, who grew to become a key adviser all through my digital profession. And since beginning my very own firm, I’ve acquired plenty of nice steering from a profession and enterprise coach.
However my sister, Alexis Johnson, a serial entrepreneur, is my most influential mentor. She was not solely my first shopper, she was additionally instrumental in making a results-driven enterprise framework for me to comply with in my very own enterprise.
I used to be additionally lucky to have a dialog with Chris Neumann, founder and CEO of Cro Metrics, a profitable conversion fee optimization company, and he grew to become a mentor and adviser. It’s nice to have somebody who’s profitable in the identical business present suggestions and recommendation.
WWD: What recommendation would you give somebody contemplating a profession in digital advertising and marketing?
L.J.: I’d inform them it’s a continuous studying course of, particularly in digital. Advertising is all about evolution. It’s a must to evolve, otherwise you’ll get left behind.
Despite the fact that I’ve a bachelor’s diploma in design and merchandising from Drexel College and a sophisticated diploma from LIM, I’ve added a number of certificates to my assortment through the years. These embody consumer expertise design, digital advertising and marketing and, most not too long ago, product administration. I introduced this philosophy to my very own company as properly. Our motto is “As innovation and know-how proceed to evolve, so can we. Similar to a hyacinth, we’re all the time blooming.”
I’d additionally say to by no means surrender. After 100 “no”s”, there may very well be that one “sure.” Even when you must create it your self. There isn’t one path set in stone that everybody should comply with. A single company job could not have been my path, nevertheless it’s concerning the journey, not simply the vacation spot.
WWD: And if you happen to might return in time and provides profession recommendation to your youthful self, what would that be?
L.J.: Say sure…and be keen to develop. There have been two job alternatives I remorse not accepting once I had the possibility. When provided a job that wasn’t my ideally suited position, I turned it down.
I’d inform my youthful self to search for the precise firm, not simply the precise place. If I had realized that again then, I might have grown with an important firm and ultimately discovered my area of interest. Wanting again, that was a mistake. However had I finished that, I could have by no means began my very own enterprise.