Sunday, November 06, 2016

Fashion Jackson: The Tale Of A Digital Entrepeneur

We received a call from our daughter Amy last weekend with some exciting (though not all that unexpected) news. Her fashion blog (Fashion Jackson), on which she's been working for a few years now, has attracted enough attention that it has now become her full-time job. She resigned her corporate gig, and is now working full time on the blog. She had monetized Fashion Jackson long ago, and it has been picking up steam ever since; she's now at the point where she can make a living by sharing her incredible fashion sense online and by using her blog to help other companies market their wares, generally clothing and accessories—all of which are gorgeous, as is Amy herself. (And that right there, by the way, is everything I know about fashion. As you can tell by looking at me.)

Amy, looking all beautiful and fashionable
and such. (Photo by Karl Mayer)
Lesley and I responded as I suppose parents would typically respond to such news: We were simultaneously proud, excited, and fearful. After all, we were raised in an environment in which we recalled our parents and other adult role models having worked for decades for one company, only to retire after 30 or 40 years with the obligatory gold (probably plated) watch. Our generation, the baby boomers, was a transitional one; it was much rarer that we worked that long for one company. I have worked for several companies, after all, and in fact have had more than one career. But still, we worked at what we thought of as "real jobs," meaning that most of us sat in Dilbertian cubicles working for corporate overlords of one stripe or another. (And don't get me wrong: We wereand still are, for the most parthappy to do it. It's what we were raised to do, most of us. For us, this is what constitutes "normal.")

But the newest generation of workers, the millennials, they look at work differently. They think nothing of switching jobs much more often than we did, and they're not at all afraid to strike out in new directions. Neither they nor the more informed of today's employers believe that one must stick to a job for 20 or 30 years. Some do, of course, but employers nowadays understand that if a worker is unhappy, not challenged, receives a tempting offer, or simply feels that it's time to move on to something new, that person will pull up stakes andall other things being equalthis does not in and of itself make him or her a bad employee.

But what really strikes me about Amy's move (other than the fact that we're very proud of the talented, intelligent, articulate, and hard-working young woman that she's become) is the technology involved. (You knew I'd get around to technology eventually, right?)

Amy's Fashion Jackson site. You should visit. And you
should buy stuff, so that Amy can afford to take care of us in
our old age, which is rapidly approaching.
Amy is making a living running a blog, for God's sake! Something that did not exist when I was her age. The blog (or website; the line between the two is sometimes blurred) is delivered via the Internet, which also did not exist (at least, not in its present form) when I was her age. The photos that her boyfriend Karl shoots for the blog (he's an incredibly talented photographer and designer) are taken on digital cameras, which (you guessed it) did not exist when I was her age. She's become an expert at marketing clothing and accessories sold by very fashionable companies, many of which also did not exist when I was her age. (Of course, to be fair, I'm old enough that very little existed when I was her age. The world was mostly dirt and rock. The continents had only recently broken apart. Keith Richards was a teenager.)

In the end, we're both proud and a little befuddled. Even as something of a techie, it shocks me a little to see people (Amy is far from the only one) making a living by utilizing technologies that I still view as somewhat magical. But they're not magic; they're just tools. And back in the day, I suppose the old folks stared in awe, trembling fearfully at their first sight of a pencil.

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