How She Got There: Jill Perilman, Co-Founder & Design Director of Liverpool

Name: Jill Perilman
Job Title and Description: Co-Founder & Design Director of Liverpool
College Name/Major: Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising/Fashion Design
Website: liverpooljeans.com
Twitter Handle: @liverpooljeanco
Instagram Handle: @liverpooljeans

What does your current job entail? Is there such a thing as a typical day?

JP: I currently work as a design director with Liverpool, and there is no such thing as a typical day. I work with my design team to create the collection each season and spend a lot of time researching and finding new fabrications for the line. Once I find fabrics I like, I create a style in my size and I “test-wear” them to ensure I like how they feel and perform. If they pass, I’m confident other women will love them as much as I do. My husband Ron (president of Liverpool) does the same for the men’s collection. I'm also involved in all fittings every day and “cross-fit” on various sizes to ensure our fits reach a variety of shapes and figures. I also work with our e-commerce department going over PR ideas, such as photo shoots and video ideas.  

What is the best part of your job?

JP: The best part of my job is when we get positive feedback about the collection. When we hear the buyers and consumers love what we are doing it makes all the hard work worth it. I also enjoy reading all the positive reviews online, it’s fun to hear that what we are doing as a brand makes our customers happy.

What was your first entry-level job in your field and how did you get it?

JP: I graduated from FIDM the year of a recession. There were not a lot of jobs on the market, but I was determined and applied to every ad that appeared in Apparel News. I was offered a job as an assistant designer for a junior denim/surf company. After only six months, they needed to lay people off and I was given two weeks notice. That news did not stop me from continuing to work hard and stay late, even if it was for a few more days. When it came time for me to leave, the owner told me he was impressed with my work ethic and offered me another position at the company.

What words of wisdom do you find most valuable?

JP: The most valuable thing I’ve learned in my career is to know when to not force an idea. There has to be a natural progression to design and creating something. If something isn’t working, it’s best to let it go and start on something new. I can be stubborn, so I’ve had to learn that the hard way.

What is one mistake you made along the way and what did you learn from it?

JP: Discover what you love to do and look for job positions that you are passionate about. The biggest mistakes I made were at the beginning of my career when I would take a job just to have a job. Granted there was a recession and jobs were hard to come by, but it’s important to seek out companies you are passionate about - vision, mission, product - in order to lay a foundation for your career.

What has been the most surreal moment of your career thus far?

JP: I would have to say now, designing for Liverpool and evolving the brand to what it is today. The design team is given a lot of autonomy to create clothing that we want to wear.  It’s also been surreal for me when a magazine wants to interview me for an article. I don’t think I will ever get used to that.

What do you look for when considering hiring someone?

JP: I am very impressed when a candidate I'm interviewing interviews me as well. It’s telling when I am asked questions like, “what are your expectations for this position in the first three months” or “how can I exceed those expectations.” It’s a two-way street – I have to think this person will be of value to the company and the person has to think we are worth working for.

What advice would you give to a 20-something with similar aspirations?

JP: There is immense value in internships, try and secure as many as you can.  Also networking. Never underestimate the relationships you create and how they may play out in the future. And also, that if you do find your ‘dream’ job, don’t take it for granted, but instead leverage the experience to learn and grow, it will only make you more valuable.

What's the one thing that's stood out to you the most in a resume?

JP: Be as relevant for the job you are applying for as possible. It’s like doing a keyword match and only having the most qualified resumes come to the top. This requires energy researching the job requirements and company, reshaping your resume to meet their needs and then applying. It could mean getting the interview or not.