Why did you decide to attend the Fashion Program at Ryerson?
I have always loved fashion growing up and I consider myself to be quite a creative person (I love all aspects of art and design), so I thought the Fashion Communication program was perfect for me. When I was reading about the program, the classes offered sounded fun to m and I knew I would enjoy them. I also knew Ryerson's fashion program is the best in Canada, with many notable alumni, so even though the application process was tough and competitive, I was really motivated to get accepted into it.
How did your academic experience at Ryerson help you with getting to where you are today? What led to your interest in pursuing your current job?
I learned a lot during my 4 years at Ryerson, both directly and indirectly applied to fashion and my current career. I now work primarily in the beauty industry; I am the General Manager of a luxury hair and makeup company called Fancy Face Inc. I work freelance as well in social media and digital marketing for companies in different industries. Ryerson helped me immensely in further developing my creativity skills, my work ethic, and communication skills and gave me the opportunity to meet friends along the way who have the same interests as me. One of my favourite aspects of the program was how varied the types of courses were. We had practical courses (drawing, painting, sewing, etc.); business related courses (marketing, communications, etc.) as well as web and graphic design courses. For my elective courses, I always chose something entirely different such as history or finance courses. As a result, we all graduated with a diverse skill set to prepare us for any type of career. As the General Manager of a company, my current responsibilities vary greatly which the courses at Ryerson prepared me for.
If you had to do it all over again, what would you change about your time here at Ryerson and why?
I don't think I would have changed anything! My time at Ryerson shaped me into the person I am today and brought me to the career I have today, which I am very happy with, so I would not change anything.
What does a day in the life of Tiffany Lui look like?
I work entirely from home and do not have a set schedule. When I wake up, the first thing I do is check all the emails I've received overnight (which can range anywhere from 25-50+, depending on the time of year) on my phone. I've gotten pretty good with this now that I can just do a quick look through and be able to determine approximately how many hours I'd have to work that day. I do a few hours of solid work at home, and return any missed calls if needed. Then I go out for lunch (or drink - at a cafe) and if it is a busy day, I'd bring my laptop with me so I can continue working wherever I go. At the moment, our company has several hundred clients/brides per year. I handle all the communications and bookings so I get a steady flow of emails and calls coming in throughout the day. I like to get back to clients very quickly so sometimes when I'm away from the desk, I still work from my phone. Because of this, I stagger my work hours throughout the day. As we are in the wedding industry, that means Saturdays and Sundays are workdays as well! The weddings we do take place early mornings, so I also have to be "on call" during those mornings.
What is your favourite part about your job?
My favourite part about working at Fancy Face Inc. is the amazing team I work with. We currently have a team of over 20. Everyone gets along well, works well together and is motivated to help grow the company as a team and also grow individually. My favourite part about working in the wedding industry is being able to work with so many different brides and being a part of one of the biggest days of their lives. I also love the flexibility of my job/working hours, which makes it easy to plan my personal schedule as well.
Do you have an area of expertise you want to grow and learn about?
My other big passion in life is travel so I would love to travel more and learn about different cultures. On the side, I do stock trading so I'd like to learn how to get better at it!
What is your favourite part about working in the beauty industry?
I love the creative side of the industry. It is such a fast-paced industry so there is always something new to be inspired by. I also love being able to meet and work with people who have the same interests.
According to your experience, how does working in the beauty industry differ from the fashion industry?
The obvious difference is that fashion focuses more on clothing and accessories while beauty focuses more on makeup and skincare. The two industries both go hand in hand though. In the beauty industry, we often get inspiration from the hair and makeup looks we see at fashion shows. We do a lot of editorial magazine shoots to showcase our beauty work, and fashion (worn on the models) plays an equal role in directing the outcome of the shoot. Fashion shows showcase the clothing however the hair and makeup on the models have to complement the clothing to pull together the full look. So the two industries often collaborate together and use the same mediums to showcase their work.
What advice do you have for students interested in pursuing a career outside of, or closely linked to fashion?
For a career in fashion, school can only teach you so much. I believe real life experiences are equally important–if not more– so be sure to accept any opportunity as they come (it can be an unpaid internship, attending an event, etc). It is very important to build connections with people in various industries and not just in fashion/whichever industry you want to work in, as you can learn something from anyone you come across.