Samantha Rae Cooper empowers young women to be the best versions of themselves in everything from their career to their personal style. Often described as the Carrie Bradshaw of Gen Y, Samantha has a first-hand understanding of the challenges and opportunities young women encounter today. We met Samantha almost a year ago, when she reached out for a branding brainstorm consultation. Fast forward a few months and she has built a brand we are proud to promote. Through her website and newsletter, www.samantharaecooper.com, Samantha provides mentorship and advice in a way that is fun, edgy, and non-traditional. As Campus Relations Manager for Chloe + Isabel, an innovative NYC fashion start up, Samantha lives out her mission to help young women gain the confidence they need to achieve their dreams. Samantha is always seeking a good laugh, a statement necklace, and the latest issue of Lucky magazine. She is the perfect example that you can find your dream job by catering to both your passion and skill set. Read more about this awesome millennial below.
Describe your personal brand in three words
Relatable. Edgy. Empowering.
Current position and your typical work day
I currently work as the Campus Relations Manager at Chloe + Isabel spearheading a Campus Rep Program that gives college students a meaningful opportunity to run their own jewelry business while they're still in school. Throughout the day I'm constantly texting, calling, emailing, and Facebook messaging with my Campus Merchandisers to see what successes and challenges they're having with their business. From there, I develop strategic training and marketing materials to help them keep their businesses moving forward! My goal is to ensure that my merchandisers are learning new skills that will boost their resume, help them stand out from their peers, and ultimately land their dream job or internship. It's all about giving young women confidence through business skills.
How have you developed your brand?
I started developing my brand by following my heart - whatever projects, organizations, or opportunities that spoke to my heart, I followed. From there, I started to notice a pattern in the things I gravitated towards. Anything that had to do with women's empowerment and entrepreneurship pulled me in - especially those events and projects that also had a hint of sparkle to them (I've always had a love for fashion, too). Once I realized the main themes that excited me, I sat down and started thinking about my elevator pitch - really putting pen to paper. That elevator pitch, or personal manta, really guides me in all of the projects I take on. It's also what inspired me to start The Scoop, a blog where I dish my favorite tips and resources in a way that is fun, edgy, and non-traditional. It's the advice you wish your best friend could give you.
Explain the role that your personal brand played in getting you to where you are today.
It has been HUGE! Like I said, my personal brand is my compass and guides my decisions. I took a big risk to work at a start up and launch a program from scratch, but the opportunity is in line with my personal brand so I knew it was a risk I had to take. At the same time, my personal brand helped me get the job because it was clear based on my past experiences that this role was PERFECT for me. It was what I was born to do. My personal brand inner compass has also helped me say 'no' at difficult times. I've had some job offers come my way that were so tempting, but I realized it didn't fit in with my personal brand and I ultimately wouldn't be 100% happy or fulfilled. My personal brand helps me figure out where to go - and where not to go.
How did you garner press coverage and media attention?
I faked it 'til I made it! Once I had a my newsletter up and running, it was time to gain followers and get my name out there. I decided to plan a networking holiday party as a way to connect people, but also to promote myself. So, I started reaching out to venue's and explained who I was and what I did. I have past experience planning events for different organizations so I used those examples to gain credibility. Before I knew it, Kiehl's sponsored the event and we had over 200 people in attendance. It was by far the best night of my life!
Personal brands attract opportunities. What has been the greatest opportunity you have gotten?
I'm probably supposed to answer this by talking about a sponsorship I received from a brand, but to be honest, the greatest opportunity I had was to realize my own potential. I realized just how much I could accomplish. I pushed myself out of my comfort zone. I took risks. I worked hard. And I did it. The lessons I've learned from building my personal brand will take me farther than any product or brand endorsement I have or will receive.
Who are some of your mentors and why?
There are a few women who are my go-to mentors - they're all fabulous 30-something's who embody everything I believe in. They follow their dreams, they take risks, they're on a mission to empower women ... and they do it all in style!
What were the steps you took in college that impacted your professional success?
I took on leadership roles in organizations I was interested in - even if they weren't the most popular. For example, we had a fashion club on campus but it was dying. There were hardly any members, no cool events, and it was going downhill. I could have easily joined a different organization that was popular and well-organized, but I saw the fashion club as an opportunity to make something great happen. It was a great way for me to test my skills and take a risk in a low-risk environment. I also attended every single networking event and panel conference that I could find. Hearing people's stories inspire me and it was a great way for me to meet people. It's these people who have become my mentors even after college. Take advantage of those conferences because they become much more expensive once you graduate!
What would you say to a young person who wants to work in your industry?
Anyone who is interested in fashion should definitely have at least retail experience. It's super simple to land a retail job and at the end of the day, everyone in fashion is trying to make a retail sale someway, somehow. That knowledge will definitely pay off in the long run. Another option is to check out campus rep programs similar to Chloe + Isabel's. We exist to provide you real world experience to help you land your dream job! Does it get any better than that??
What can we expect from you in the near future?
I definitely want to take my personal brand to the next level. Whether it's speaking at conferences, schools, or panels or writing a book ... I have big dreams! Stay tuned :)
Connect with Samantha!