September 11, 2018
The classic stylings of one of the
original fashion bloggers, Blair Eadie, embrace maximalism (think bright colors, bold patterns, and lots of accessories), an incredible color palette, and a bold lip at all times. You probably know her from her blog, Atlantic-Pacific
, or maybe you’ve seen her in close quarters with some of the most iconic brands around (like Gucci, Nordstrom and Target, just to name a few). But what you might not know is that Blair started her career in fashion at Gap Inc. as a merchandiser for men’s socks and underwear at Old Navy (wait, what?). She spent the next five years working within the Gap Inc. portfolio of brands, and eventually decided to blog full-time, and before she knew it, she had over 1 million followers on Instagram alone.
But it’s fair to say that her career in fashion started at Gap Inc. We sat down with her to get the scoop on how her start with us led her to where she is today and how blogging has changed since she got in the game.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
This is the hardest question for me! I never really had a clear vision of what I wanted to do. I even studied political science at the University of Florida (UF), so that shows you how confused I was! I also didn’t understand that my ultimate passion – fashion – could be a career. That’s what’s so interesting to me. I’ve met so many people in the industry that had a crystal-clear vision of what they wanted to do, and it worked out for them. That just wasn’t my path. The moral of the story is, at any point in your career you can pivot and focus on something else that you didn’t know was even a possibility. That was one of the biggest takeaways I got from my time at Gap Inc. If I had an interest or was curious about something, they would give me those opportunities to move around and learn a new skill. I was allowed to pursue things that sparked my interest and find my way. It was very eye opening for me that within such a large company, they supported careers of flexibility and change.
Tell us more about your first experience in fashion: the Gap Inc. Rotational Management Program and your time at Gap Inc.
I had a friend at UF go through the RMP program at Gap Inc. and recommend it to me based on my love of fashion. I was fortunate to get into the program, and it was so foundational for me to gain insight on the industry from so many different angles. I started July 31st
, 2007 (I remember the date so vividly). As I mentioned before, I never had a vision of what I wanted to do, but through the program, it became clear to me that I loved merchandising. When the program was over, I was fortunate enough to get a job in merchandising for Old Navy in the men’s division, and I loved it. I was working on basic socks and underwear, which was an interesting fit for me, being a woman. During my first week, we were in a fitting with men trying on the underwear and they would ask me, “So how does this look?” It was so awkward! I was in men’s for a year and then ended up moving to women’s dresses and outerwear, which I loved even more.
What’s one of the most memorable projects you worked on during your time at Gap Inc.?
I got to the point where I was ready for a new opportunity, and fortunately, Old Navy had set its sights on something new, too. We wanted to see how we could streamline our processes and get things done faster. At the time, we were at a 32-week pipeline of getting clothes from design to the store, and they wanted to figure out how to get to a 12-week pipeline. (Not an easy feat!)
To achieve this, everyone (regardless of level) was empowered to make decisions. That experience taught me to trust my instincts. I look back on that and know there are so few other companies that would have given employees so much creative freedom and empowerment. That experience gave me a set of entrepreneurial skills, which really helped me when I became a full-time blogger.
Speaking of the blog, how did it come about?
I started Atlantic-Pacific as a hobby in 2010 when I was at Gap Inc. I continued to run it when I moved to New York and worked for Tory Burch. Digital continued to grow, companies started spending more money on influencer partnerships, and Instagram was blowing up, so I knew I wanted to continue the blog. Both brands supported my blog and allowed me to partner with other companies and even began to view me as a resource for understanding the influencer perspective as they started to get into those spaces.
It got to the point, though, where blogging became much more experiential. My partners expected me to take a brand and create an emotional moment with it, or travel to another country to attend an event. It was very important to me to meet my partners’ expectations, so I decided to dedicate myself 100% to blogging, and I’ve been doing that for two years now. I knew there would be a fork in the road, and I had hit it.
How did you know it was the right time to close the door on your merchandising career and blog full-time?
I’m super fortunate that throughout my career, I’ve gained insight into the multiple sides of fashion. I have a good sense of the business side from Gap and Tory, and I understand the digital and influencer side from my own blog. I knew it was time to shift my energy towards blogging full-time because I started to see the power the Internet gave each individual voice. For example, when I was at Old Navy in 2007, we put together mood boards of inspirations for the seasons, and we used vintage samples, tear sheets, and Vogue inspirational look books. Next thing you know, the board was filled with images we had pulled from the Internet of personal style blogs and street style. It was kind of crazy that a global company like Old Navy would start to design and produce clothing based off a look an 18-year-old blogger put together. It started to become clear to me that the Internet had created a platform for different fashion voices to be heard, and those who were talented and passionate were getting noticed and amplified by brands. I never said to myself, “You know what would be cool? If I posted pictures of myself on the Internet.” But what I did say was, “Wouldn’t be cool if I could add my voice to a growing conversation?”
What does a typical day look like for you?
It’s not as glamorous as it might seem … I spend a lot of time negotiating contracts, sending invoices, drafting emails, and editing photos on my computer. I always joke with other bloggers that the more beautiful an Instagram post is, the harder you had to work to create it! I’m constantly working with people in different time zones or traveling myself. It’s nonstop. In fact, it took me a long time to not feel guilty about taking time off because I feel obligated to create content for my readers. I also need to be ready for anything that might come up. I could get a contract six months in advance for a partnership, or I might be asked on Tuesday to go to Hong Kong by Thursday.
What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?
Own your own success. Some circumstances are tough, and you might be on a team working with people who do things differently or have a manager that you don’t see eye to eye with. But after a certain point, you cannot blame those external factors for not getting promoted or not getting the raise you wanted. Feel free to approach your boss, ask questions, and remain curious. At the end of the day, your decisions and your achievements are up to you.
Lastly, be authentic – it goes a long way. People can tell when you’re not being real with them, especially on the Internet! When minimalism was trending, I stuck to my personal style and what people know me for. It’s always been important for me to feel like I can show up to the office or on my own blog and be myself and know that people respect me for it.
What’s your perspective on how social media has changed the fashion industry?
Back in the day, you only had access to whichever brands showed up in departments stores or had convenient storefronts. The Internet allowed people to discover new brands and find their own style and made the fashion industry very democratic. Ironically, that makes my job a bit harder because my readers expect me to find new brands and new trends before anyone else. The discovery period is hard because you feel like you’ve seen it all already.
For a while, I also felt like the space was getting crowded. Now I’m always asking myself, “How do I differentiate myself?” I even got to the point where I asked myself, “Am I interesting anymore?” What I always come back to is my mission: ensuring, whether you shop the items on my blog or not, you’re gaining something of value when you’re there.
With inspiration being a key part of your job, what brands are peaking your interest at the moment?
I’m really into Ganni
and Saks Potts
How do you maintain your own voice when doing partnerships with the likes of CoverGirl and American Express?
It starts very early in the negotiation phase. If something doesn’t work for me from an authenticity perspective, I won’t do it. With every partnership, there are things I want and need and the partner has to have those, too. I always need to ensure that my voice and the styling align 100% with Atlantic-Pacific.
You recently disclosed in your Instagram stories that you don’t see yourself blogging in 10 years. What do you see yourself doing instead?
I’ve always stayed true to my passions and things I know I can do well. Blogging has evolved so much in the last few years, some have hired employees to join their team to help them create content and others have started sharing much of their personal lives. That isn’t something I’m comfortable with or interested in, which got me thinking, “What’s next?” The truth is, I love working on product, styling and creative. I’m not sure I want to be in front of the camera in ten years. I hopefully will be working in the fashion industry and make a return to product or consulting. The possibilities are so endless at this point! My focus is to stay on the creative side of fashion, and where that leads me, I’m completely open. The one thing I do know is when and if
I leave blogging, I want it to be on a good note and for me to feel good about the brand I built. When I left the merchandising, I was so happy with everything I had done, and it’s important to me to feel that way about this phase in my career as well.
Blair’s incredible fashion story obviously doesn’t stop here. Her passion and authenticity have made her one of the top fashion bloggers in the world – she’s even coming out with a new apparel and shoes collection soon. In a lot of ways, it all started with her experience at Old Navy. Like Blair, you might not know exactly how to reach your goals or have a clear vision of what you want to do, but the experience gained by working at a portfolio company can be invaluable. We’re happy we were a part of Blair’s journey and proud to call her a friend and alum of Gap Inc.
Interested in building a career with us? Check out our open roles here