How She Got There: Shayla Cox, Jewelry Designer

Name: Shayla Cox
Job Title and Description: Jewelry Designer/Visual Stylist
College/Major: FIT, international fashion merchandising management
Twitter Handle: @shaylacoxnyc

Her Campus: What does your current job entail? Is there such a thing as a typical day?
Shayla Cox: My days and weeks vary. I could be experimenting with clay and glazes, coming up with a concept for a look book, contacting potential buyers, or sourcing new materials/companies.

HC: What was your first entry-level job in your field and how did you get it?
SC: My first job out of college was with Ralph Lauren’s executive training program. They came to FIT to do interviews. I went through a few rounds and became one of the final thirteen. I did my best to research the company, look brand appropriate, and generally told them what they liked to hear.

HC: What is one thing you wish you knew about your industry when you first started out that you know now?
SC: I think the most important thing is to be goal oriented and move forward, but allow life to open up to you and be flexible. You never know for sure where you are going to end up or what opportunities will be presented to you. Always do your best work, and everyone will seek you out.

HC: Who is one person who changed your professional life for the better?
SC: My good friend and stylist, Pamela Shepard, is the Creative Director of Shayla Cox Jewels. Over the years we have become a great team and we’re constantly learning from one another.

HC: What words of wisdom do you find most valuable?
SC: I posted on my Tumblr a while ago: “Be led by love, create your own curriculum, and put much care into choosing company.” These words pretty much sum up what has aided me during a critical shift in my life. I think they are pretty good ground rules.

HC: What is one mistake you made along the way and what did you learn from it?
SC: I have definitely put myself in less than favorable situations, whether it was quitting a job and not having another to go to, or choosing to work somewhere because I liked one person on the team. You could say they were mistakes, but all of those experiences shaped me. Maybe the biggest lesson though is learning how to listen to myself. I came out of school thinking that I had to have a corporate job; the safe 9am-5pm gig with a respectable company, but I soon learned it just wasn’t for me. I got lost in thinking that this is what I’m supposed to do and soon found myself dissatisfied with my day-to-day. However, I learned so much from those experiences, so I know it wasn’t a waste.

HC: What is the best part of your job?
SC: I get to be creative — it’s an extension of me. I love seeing a vision through from start to finish. Having something tangible to hold in my hand and being able to say, “I designed and made this.

HC: What do you look for when considering hiring someone?
SC: My company is still very small. He or she needs to be positive, have great energy, and be excited about the brand.

HC: What advice would you give to a 20-something with similar aspirations?
SC: Do what you love, and do it now.

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Gennifer is the Branded Content Specialist for Her Campus Media. In her role, she manages all sponsored content across platforms including editorial, social, and newsletters. As one of HC's first-ever writers, she previously wrote about career, college life, and more as a national writer during her time at Hofstra University. She also helped launch the How She Got There section, where she interviewed inspiring women in various industries. She lives in New York City.

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