Head Designer & Brand Manager / Finders Keepers The Label
One trend that we sincerely hope is here to stay is effortless, fun inspired fashion. You know the type that Finders Keepers nail season after season? Well ahead of the design curve – and making ‘adventureous’ chic right from the get go – is Finders Keepers Head Designer and Brand Manager Cyd Beard.
Cyd started her design career when she was in High School, where she made her formal dress as part of her Year 12 Assessment. She now now divides her time between designing and brand management, where she helps drive the direction of the label. We caught up with the gorgeous and very impressive Cyd to talk about her career and her recent collaboration with Priceline Pharmacy.
Please meet Cyd.
Cyd, welcome to The Cool Career, let’s start at the very beginning. Can you tell us where you grew up and how your experience shaped the person you are, and the career that you are in today?
Where I grew up has had everything to do with who I am as a person. I can’t think of a better place than having a childhood by the sea. I am so lucky. The salt water and fresh air is so grounding. I’ve travelled quite a bit and it is still one of my favourite places in the world. I feel as though, there is no pleasure in life greater than waking up in the morning and going for a run through the sand dunes or coming home from work and going for a swim as the sunsets over the ocean.
Wow, that does sound magical. Where did you go to High School and how was that experience for you?
I went to high school where I grew up and all through high school I always had a job. I was very interested in having my own money and saving and I guess that is where I developed my work ethic.
I tried to focus my subjects on Fashion. For my elective I did Visual Art and Design. I remember in Year 11 I did a project where I would purchase vintage denim from Op shops and re-make them in to festival shorts. To my Design Teacher’s horror, I decided for the Year 12 final design project I would design and create my Year 12 formal dress. Having never pattern made, or even really made anything on a sewing machine before (besides a cushion in Year 10) I remember I was still adding the final touches to my dress on the day of my formal! There were fleeting moments I thought I wouldn’t be able to attend due to not having a dress but we got there in the end
Did your high school play an important role in helping you choose your further education and future career?
Yes, of course. It’s 5 years of your life where you are discovering who you are as a person, growing and changing. You can form relationships in high school that can last you the rest of your life.
I was lucky as in high school I knew I wanted to pursue a career in Fashion, however it can be very hard if you don’t know what you want to do. Society puts massive pressures on high school students to know exactly what they want to do. I remember there were massive pressures to continue with higher education at University.
I am very lucky that I had a family that encouraged me to follow my dreams and passion.
My advice would be not to cave into the pressure, you are so young, SO so young, and you have your whole life ahead of you when you finish high school. Go and travel the world, learn about different cultures. How can you be expected to know what you want to do with the rest of your life if you haven’t even experienced life yet?!
Such good advice Cyd, thank you. Did you complete any internships or work experience placements in high school? Tell us about that experience.
Yes, whilst I was in high school I completed work experience as part of the year 10 curriculum, however I regret not doing more fashion-based work experience. I did a lot more work experience while I was studying at TAFE. I did internships in Adelaide and Melbourne as well as volunteering at fashion festivals. You are probably not going to be doing the most glamorous jobs to start out with, but if you are able to prove yourself you might be trusted with the larger things!
Work experience is so important to build lots of relationships, network, you can get a hands-on experience and surround yourself with people that you can share ideas with.
Did you go to College, University, TAFE or another equivalent? Take us through the courses that you studied and why you chose them?
I studied at TAFE at the time they did not offer any Fashion Design degrees at University in South Australia. If you wanted to study a Bachelor in Fashion you needed to go interstate, however now this has changed. My plan was always to move interstate to finish studying once I had finished my diploma at TAFE, however I was extremely lucky to be offered a job at the end of my internship.
Tell us about your career journey so far. Who you have worked for, and explain any highlights.
So, as I spoke about earlier, I completed lots of work experience whilst I was studying at TAFE. At one of the places I was interning at in Melbourne, I was offered a job at the end of work experience, however did not take it due to wanting to finish studying.
As I got to the end of my diploma, I was completing a trial at Australian Fashion Labels and was offered a job as a Junior Designer for Keepsake the Label. I always figured I could go back to studying if I felt I needed too. Within a few months of working at Australian Fashion Labels, I loved the fast-paced working environment and knew that I had made the right decision.
Six months in of working as the Junior Designer for Keepsake the Label, I received a promotion to Designer working directly under the Head Designer. In June 2016 we launched Keepsake Intimates, Keepsake’s sister line. The hours were extremely long, working on the Keepsake main range during the day, then Keepsake Intimates at night. It was a massive learning experience for me leading the fitting, design and range planning.
After three years of working on Keepsake and Keepsake intimates, I was offered a promotion to become Head Designer and Brand Manager of Finders Keepers. This was a massive opportunity for me.
Definitely seeing people like Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid wearing the brand you work for was a massive highlight for me.Another highlight was hosting an influencer trip in Bali where I got to spend a week surrounded by my muses – @matildadjerf, @taylorlashae, @saasha_burns, @flamcis, @dominiquelissa and @laurajadestone. It was such a surreal experience to be surrounded by such an amazing group of girls from all around the world, all wearing + celebrating 10 years of Finders Keepers.
WOW, Just WOW! What a trajectory, so I know you mentioned it above, but can you take through the exact pathway for the role that you are in now?
As mentioned above, I was lucky enough to secure an internship with Australian Fashion Labels that quickly turned in to a full time job.
What is the hardest part of your current role?
The fashion industry isn’t for the faint hearted, it’s a 24/7 job and it’s something you can’t just turn off at the end of the day. Especially being in a global company and being contactable at all times. That is why it is important to create rituals for yourself to avoid burn out.
What does a day a typical business day look like for you in your current job?
There is no real typical day at Australian Fashion Labels. We work on monthly collections, so we can be working on up to 11 collections at one time, all at different stages. Some days we will be doing fittings with our Garment Tech, shooting our collection with our Photography Team, or sitting down for a day of Design with my team but there is always lots of e-mailing, that is constant.
Who has been your hero, or greatest inspiration growing up and why?
Hands down my Nan is my absolute hero. At the age of 88 she is still completely independent, living alone, driving herself around and cooking for herself. There is nothing in this world a cup of tea with my Nan can’t fix. Whenever I think about her love for life, her optimistic way of thinking, and her motivation to continue learning, it gives me motivation.
What advice would you give girls who are interested in a career in fashion?
To any girls (or boys!) out there wanting to start out my number one piece of advice would be to do as much work experience as possible while you are still studying, this will help to find specific areas that you are interested in. It’s a great way to network and get experience in the industry. Also, on your resume it shows that you are motivated and have initiative.
If you can, try to find a mentor, or meet with someone you can ask lots of questions, ask as many questions as possible – Don’t be afraid to sound stupid, everyone starts somewhere!
What is your biggest career f*ck up? (Did you fall over in a job interview? Did you accidentally email someone by accident?)
I went to send a new design to my team that I had drawn up for the factory. Instead of sending it to my team, I accidentally sent it to our entire global HQ! It was a big mistake at the time because each department is exposed to the range 6 months’ prior as opposed to 12 months. In the end, the entire company was so excited about what was upcoming, and everyone’s feedback just helped make the range the best it could be! I guess it was a blessing in disguise and worked out in the end for the better!
List your most valuable resources that you turn to constantly for inspiration in your profession?
- Favourite Websites: Vogue runway and Vogue world
- Name an Instagram Account that you can’t go a day without checking: @lrnce a designer based in Marrakech, gives me all the feels. And obviously, the Finders Keepers Instagram
- Favourite Podcast: The Design Files
- Favourite Netflix Series: Not a Netflix series but I loved the series Killing Eve
- Favourite all time book/s: Lorna Jane’s book ‘More’ definitely inspiring taught me about creating rituals and self-care.
- People: My Nan, my everything
- Place: The beach, nothing like the fresh salty air to get the creative mind flowing