I first had the pleasure of meeting Dawn when we visited Atlanta earlier this year.
As the Senior Visual Manager for the Southeast region, Atlanta is her territory, and her knowledge of the area came in very handy during some of the events we had going on. She also recently helped out with our Birmingham shoot – keep an eye out for her in a fun music video coming soon! Her FP Me profile is a fun one to browse through, and you can tell from pictures that she keeps adventure and nature close to her side. Get to know a little bit more about FP Dawn and her role here at Free People!
Where are you from? How did where you grew up shape the person that you are today?
I was born in Asheville, NC, but moved to Alabama when I was a child. I grew up out in the country in a town called Plantersville. We had one little store, one caution light, a school, and a lot of dirt roads. I think growing up in the country, remote from so many things, fueled my innate desire to travel and chase new and interesting experiences, but it also inspired my love for nature and being outdoors.
How did you first make your way to Free People? What is your current title?
I made my way to FP by stalking the website for open positions…just kidding…kind of. At the time, I didn’t have local access to a FP store. I browsed the new arrivals online and every few weeks would click on the open positions link with the hopes of seeing my city of Birmingham on the new store opening list. When one day I finally did. I quickly put together an updated resume and had my application and resume for Store Manager submitted in less than an hour. I knew in my heart it was my job and am pretty sure I told the person who first interviewed me the same thing. I was recently promoted to Senior Visual Manager over the Southeast district and am looking forward to continuing to grow with FP!
Can you give us what an average job day might look like?
Hmmmm…an average day…I feel like every day is so different, except Mondays. Mondays are my office time. The rest of the week my time is spent either in my home store, Birmingham, or another southeastern store – usually Atlanta. I spend my days merchandising (I like to think of it as styling), helping teams roll out display, training, reviewing store photos and managing the social media for the Birmingham location…oh yeah, and the occasional FP Me photo shoot :).
How would you describe your personal style?
My personal style changes on the day to day and is constantly evolving, but overall I feel like I am a Lou/Meadow with occasional Ginger tendencies. I like to pair something that has a tougher, more masculine element, like a pair of distressed denim cutoffs or skinny moto jeans with something that is more feminine. Right now, with 90 degree weather, that usually means a sleeveless knit top that is a bit bare with a lacy or strappy bra showing…but tomorrow’s a different day;). Although I feel like my style evolves, one thing that is always constant is my love for denim. Whether it’s a pair of cutoffs, which I wear almost year round, high-rise skinnies, destroyed boyfriends or overalls (which I have way too many pairs of), if it’s denim I love it.
You’ve been on a couple of our recent FP Me shoots. Can you tell us a little bit about your experience on those trips?
FP Me photo shoots are such a whirlwind with a full day of styling, hopping to different locations, meeting new and interesting FP Me girls, working with the FP bloggers and creative team and somehow managing to squeeze in a delicious lunch. I have participated in 2 FP Me photo shoots, with the most recent being the Birmingham shoot a couple of weeks ago, and have to say they really are one of my favorite things that FP is currently doing. I hope that all passionate FP Me users will have an opportunity to participate in one at some point!
What do you find most rewarding about the shoots?
The fact that we are making a girl’s day! Whether it’s a loyal customer/FP Me user or an employee, the FP Me photoshoots really make these girls feel special, myself included:)
Do you have any tips when it comes to taking pictures for your FP Me account?
– Take a lot if you are actually posing! Chances are if you take 30, you’ll come out with one you really like (and if you still don’t, you can always crop out your head!).
– Don’t forget when you are out and about! You may only get 1 or 2, but some of the best shots are candid shots from when you’re at the farmers’ market, on vacation, or at a music festival.
– Create visual interest! Shapes and angles are visually interesting. Keep moving as you’re posing to create different angles with your body. When I’m editing photos, before I even look at individual photos, I look at all the photos together on my iPhone camera roll from afar to see if any one photo stands out or catches my eye with a unique shape.
– Consider your background. Does it complement your outfit? If it’s a wall, do the colors enhance, or distract from your look?
– Nature is almost always an excellent background.
– Always use natural light.
Where do you find inspiration?
Inspiration is everywhere, you just have to want to see it!! I find it all around me in nature; seashells, flowers, rainbows, music, art, vivid colors, unique patterns, style from the ’60s and ’70s, non-fiction books, other people…oh yeah, and Pinterest;)
Get the look: Retro Print Swing Tunic
Do you have a favorite moment, or trip you took, from this past summer?
Two weekends ago at Gratifly Festival, laying in a hammock on a hillside, looking up at all the trees with their pretty green leaves. Listening to live music playing beneath me, high on all the positive energy. With a tent for a house and a river for a bath, thinking about life and how this is the way it should be. Well, at least for a weekend:).
Get the look: Plaid Print Back Buttondown
What are 5 free people must haves on your fall wishlist?
Denim: The Brooklyn High Rise Skinnies are my current faves.
Flannels: The We The Free Roadtrip Flannel from the August catalog is on my to-buy list!
Graphic tees: Always!! The We The Free I Love Rock and Roll Graphic Tee is perfect.
A leather jacket: The Cleobella Fringe Dreams Jacket!! I can’t even!!…Although it may remain in my dreams, I will still love it forever there.
A pair of bad-ass boots: The Secret Forest Ankle Boot is a great everyday boot that will go with everything and I love the distressing.
What does being ‘Free’ mean to you?
Being “Free” means being able to be exactly who you are, without letting external factors like society or opinions from others change or alter that essence of you that is uniquely yours.
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