Digital Coordinator / P.E Nation
When you are ‘cold called’ by Sydney fashion royalty Pip Edwards, wanting to know if you are available for an interview, you run, NO you sprint to that interview. This exact chance occurrence happened to mega babe Brogan Ruytenberg in February 2016, and within a week, she was hired as the new Digital Coordinator at P.E Nation.
Brogan Ruytenberg is quite the over-achiever. The fashion lover and passionate digi babe not only spearheads all of P.E. Nations digital efforts, but manages the brands end to end e-commerce consumer experience, ensuring that you… THE CUSTOMER are in for one enjoyable, seamless and ultimately talk-able shopping experience.
At only 23 years of age, Brogan has interned at a plethora of high end labels, and worked for some of the biggest names in the fashion biz including Bassike and MLM. Her tenacity for her role, and her obsession for delivering constant, quality traffic is infectious (seriously, we want your brain Brogan!) We are elated that this stunning, fierce and hardworking #girlboss has allowed us to dig deep into her #careerstory for you.
Strap yourself in for one inspirational ride, but one word of advice? Try not to be blinded by the lust worthy P.E Nation goods, or Brogan’s discernible eye for style – it’s her trajectory, and personality that’s the shining star of this story.
Hey Brogan, we are SO pumped for this interview, can you start by telling us about where you grew up, and how your experience shaped the person you are, and the career that you are in today?
I grew up on the Central Coast, which is about an hour and a half north of Sydney. I always had a strong interest in fashion, but having next to no exposure to the industry on the coast made it hard to discover and identify exactly what I wanted to do. If anything, growing up on the coast motivated me to set higher goals, and made me realise that if I wanted to be in the fashion, I had to work hard for it and really put myself out there. I was super young for my year at school, and finished my HSC when I was 16 years old. It never crossed my mind to take a gap year after school, partly because I was just too eager to get started and I felt that taking a year off was just wasting time I could be using to gain experience.
Where did you go to High School and how was that experience for you?
I jumped a bit between high schools, but ended up at St Peter’s Catholic College at Tuggerah for Year 11 and 12. I had a lot of fun in High School and loved creative subjects like Art and Design, and Tech. All of the courses I was looking at doing when I finished school, relied more so on a creative portfolio so that look a bit of stress off my ATAR. I was that guy starting the essay the night before it was due, and quoting Wikipedia articles instead of actually reading the book – definitely mastered the art of bluffing haha! Although I was super laid back with my studies (which I promise hasn’t carried over into my career!!) I still managed to do well and had developed a decent creative portfolio and the ATAR I needed.
Did your high school play an important role in helping you choose your further education and future career?
No not at all. I figured if I told my Careers Advisor I wanted to get into fashion she’d just tell me I should have chosen textiles as an elective. I hated sewing and saw Design and Tech as a better way to learn the fundamentals of design. Careers in fashion were never really discussed as an option, and not really common on the coast at the time.
Did you complete any internships or work experience placements in high school? Tell us about that experience.
Not in high school, if there were opportunities available at the time then I definitely would have gone for them. When I started travelling to Sydney for uni, I reached out to a few labels and started interning as soon as I could. It opened my eyes to the industry (and shattered any naive idea I had of fashion as a career being glamorous in any way) but more importantly, these opportunities, taught me lessons that uni never could – such as self-confidence and initiative.
I highly recommend interning as soon as possible to learn the ropes – sponge from everybody around you, work as if you’re getting paid and show up! You are learning invaluable skills you will need later on. But more importantly, know your worth, use initiative and be confident. Authenticity shines through.
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 Branded Fashion Design at Billy Blue College of Design. This course is tough, but teaches industry specific skills that you actually need and use. Billy Blue ensures everything is at an industry standard, and the Branded Fashion Degree fine-tunes your skills in graphics, technical illustration, garment construction and communication so you are ready to hit the ground running when you graduate.
Although I still thought I wanted to be a clothing designer, I found myself loving the digital and branding aspect of the course, and was more interested in how to brand and market clothing rather than design it. I was halfway through my course and only 18 years old so I made the snap decision to defer and move to Melbourne, with the plan to move back and finish after a year – which I did.
I ended up creating a leather line for my final collection, and was approached by a few boutiques through social media that were interested in buying the collection. I was just too young (and broke) to start my own business without 100% knowing my shit, so I packed up the leathers and started looking for a job. You only have one shot to get it right, and it just wasn’t the right time for me.
Unreal, what a crazy journey. Tell us about your career journey so far. Who you have worked for, and explain any highlights.
While I was finishing uni, I worked in retail with Bassike at their Paddington Boutique. This gave me an understanding and an appreciation for ‘high end’ Australian fashion, and really helped me understand the retail marketplace, which in turn, helped me in my future roles. This in itself was a bit of a career highlight for me – going from working at a fish and chip shop on the beach, to years later working for one of my favourite brands – that was huge for a little coastie like me!
After graduating from Uni, I landed a role as E-commerce Coordinator with Sydney Label MLM. It was here I realised how much I loved the ever-changing and evolving world of Digital and E-commerce. This is also the moment I realised that I wanted to pursue a career in these fields.
I am now the Digital Coordinator at P.E Nation, working within an incredible team with the best in the biz. We launched in March this year, and to be apart of something from the start and to see it’s rapid growth is amazing. The culture and brand identity that the girls have created is like nothing else, and it’s SO exciting to be bringing something completely new to the Australian fashion landscape.
Yep, we LOVE P.E (actually we are borderline obsessive compulsive with the brand) How did you apply and land the job?
I wanted a change so I left my role at MLM, and at the time was planning to do a bit of freelancing and consulting. I basically had my options open. The timing was crazy, but I got an email from the girls at P.E about a week after. I met with them and they needed someone to hit the ground running with the upcoming launch, and said I had been recommended for the role. I started a week later, and it’s been full steam ahead ever since!
I feel incredibly lucky, and never would have thought that I’d be poached for a role – I remember walking out of the interview with Pip Edwards (Co-Founder and mega #girlboss) and thinking “Did that just happen? Holy shit!”
Wow, luck was totally on your side Brogan! What is the hardest part of your current job?
Working in a small team, naturally I have a very multi-faceted role with a lot to juggle. I see this as a good thing though – to have a lot of responsibility at such a young age is the best way to learn and grow. Learning to prioritise tasks, manage my time and work under pressure are all huge parts of the job, and I’m still working on this everyday. My work ethic is something I’ve always prided myself on, and at times I put a lot of pressure on myself – If I’m not stressed, I feel like I’m not working hard enough.
What does a day a typical business day look like for you in your current job?
My days are planned in relation to our marketing calendar and any specific projects, events or seasonal launches we have coming up. You can say that things are constantly changing. I analyse sell-through and report on sales, traffic and engagement, which then determines how I execute the digital marketing and social media for the week. I design and create all the digital content across the website and social media platforms, as well as the design and roll-out of our EDMs. The end game is to increase conversions, build engagement and develop a strong brand personality that resonates with our customers.
On any given day I will be sourcing and designing brand-specific content and graphics, uploading and editing content accordingly, managing and re-merching the website, writing copy, styling and retouching E-commerce imagery, liaising with web developers, reporting, assisting with PR and press, making sure customers are looked after and orders are running smoothly… basically lots of emails, photoshop, meetings and coffee.
What an ah-mazing and diverse role! Who has been your hero, or greatest inspiration growing up and why?
Growing up I never really had a hero, except of course my parents. They believed in me and pushed me to achieve my goals, teaching me the value of hard work from a young age (Hence working at the Fish & Chip Shop). Nowadays, my greatest inspirations are those I work with – Pip Edwards, Claire Tregoning and Kelly Muller. These women are not only the most talented and driven people I know, but also the most genuine and down to earth legends that I have the pleasure of learning from every day. Their belief in me, and the trust that they put in my ideas and my work, is something that means a lot to me.
What advice would you give girls who are interested in your current career?
If you want it, go for it!!! Study a related course at uni or tafe, and intern to gain experience in areas you’re interested in. Make sure you’re in it for the right reasons and focus on what’s important – hard work, integrity and KINDNESS! Go above and beyond what is expected of you and grab every opportunity that comes your way. Digital is definitely the way forward…
Brogan, can you list your most valuable resources that you turn to constantly for inspiration in your profession?
- Websites: manrepeller.com, hey-woman.com, russh.com. I spend a lot more time on the internet than I care to admit, constantly sourcing new ideas and inspiration – and look to brands like Raf Simons, Gentle Monster, Acne Studios, Palace and Vetements for fresh inspo.
- Name an Instagram Account or Snapchat that you can’t go a day without checking: @p.e.nation, duh! @knighttcat, @sportyandrich – there is too many to name!
- Books: I don’t read! How un-cool of me.