A CONVERSATION WITH CASSI MICHALIK

creative brand consultant in fashion and beauty, based in Paris

by Haley Wells (BFA 2017)

HALEY WELLS: What is your career like as a creative brand consultant?  How do you work with brands?

Cassi Michalik: I have been working with (mostly) American fashion and beauty brands for the last decade or so. Currently I am freelance but I previously worked as the Senior Culture Editor for a major online trend forecasting company. It was during that time that I met my first freelance client, via a friendly contact, and got my first project.

Because I am an American living in Paris, I have found a niche that has worked well for me, which is basically that I have a deep understanding not only of the industry, but also of the English language and American work style. This is an important attribute for clients looking to streamline their processes and it also adds a certain level of trust and comfort to the work.

My day-to-day varies greatly as a freelancer but probably my major role is that I help brands (CEOs, ELTs, Designers, Product Development teams, etc.) become acquainted with the Paris market, which is extremely important in the fields of fashion and beauty. This happens in a number of ways, either via organizing and accompanying them on buying trips, or by creating local product scans, reports on admired retailers, and other assessments of the local French market.

HALEY WELLS: How did you get to your current role from previous jobs, internships or connections?

Cassi Michalik: A mix! My friendly contact that hooked me up with my first client was actually my old boss when I was an intern at Harper's Bazaar, during my first stint in Paris, just after college. He was a friend and occasional colleague of hers and the rest is history. I am not afraid of hard work and I'm extremely open and friendly and those qualities have really helped me to continually make new connections along the way.

HALEY WELLS: How does your web of personal/business connections make your day-to-day job possible?  Who do you work closely with?

Cassi Michalik: My web of connections is vital to my work and the attainment of new clients. I'm constantly 'leaning in' and trying to remain open to new potential projects and possibilities.

I work closely with a large range of people for short periods of time, even if the work itself is ongoing. But my colleagues are a large mix of clients from myriad businesses and sources.
On a day to day basis, however, I otherwise work on my own from home unless I am traveling or physically with clients in Paris.


HALEY WELLS: Do you have any advice for people trying to get into fashion or creatives trying to support
themselves?

Cassi Michalik: Be open and curious. Work hard and try to ignore the ego when possible. Read, read, read every day. Learn about other fields and subjects that interest you to be an interesting person.
 

FLEXIBLE ART WORLDS 2017 CLASS: Melody Bilbo,  BFA 2017 / Jiafangyao He, MDes 2017 / 

Yu Jie, BFA 2017 / Sunah Shin, BFA 2019 / Jeremy Sublewski, BFA 2019 / 

Haley Wells, BFA 2017

 

Asha Veal Brisebois, Lecturer in SAIC Department of Arts Administration and Policy

© 2017 FLEXIBLE ART WORLDS, Department of Arts Admin and Policy, School of the Art Institute of Chicago. 

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