In the social media driven age we live in, we’d be lying if we said we didn't spend a majority of our day scrolling through Instagram, editing and posting pictures, and looking for the coolest new accounts to follow. Now, imagine if running a social media account could actually be your full-time job? Introducing Jennifer Heal, the social media and digital marketing manager for Whole Foods Market. Sounds like a dream job, right? Well, it kind of is. Jen gets to spend her days working in the beautiful Whole Foods stores, and on various off-site locations planning out and shooting content.
Having gotten her start in the industry with none other than Betsey Johnson herself, Jen has a colorful, feminie, and eclectic style, that is #goals. Her own Instagram account @jenniferheal, is serious eye candy (both literally and figuratively), loaded with one-of-a-kind foodie pictures and colorful backdrops we can't take our eyes off of. So how did this Brooklyn babe get her foot in the door? Read below as Jen shares her tips and tricks for Making it in Manhattan.
Growing up, did you always have an interest in the fashion?
Yes but for me it was more of a lifestyle. Everything from what I wore, to how I decorated my bedroom, to the notebooks and pens I used in school, had to have a certain aesthetic. Growing up, my family always knew that bright, happy colors were the key to making me smile! ☺
What was your first internship out of college, and how did it impact your career?
In college, I interned at Betsey Johnson in the Public Relations department. I knew I wanted to work there and was willing to work as hard as I could to make that happen. I did everything I could to prove myself from small tasks like running errands and picking up coffee, to taking on bigger projects putting together organizational processes and strategies for the team. I eventually moved from intern to retail employee at Betsey’s 60th street boutique for about 3 months. When a job opened as receptionist in the showroom, I jumped at the opportunity, even though it would mean working during the day and going to school at night. After graduation, I got hired into the PR department as Betsey’s first Social Media Manager, which is essentially what launched my career in the digital realm. My experience at Betsey Johnson really taught me that with hard work, dedication and motivation, you can make anything happen!
If you could go back and tell yourself one thing before starting your career what would it be?
Don’t sweat the small stuff! Starting a job or an internship (especially in fashion) can be intimidating, but just remember, your boss and even your boss’s boss all started out like you. If they are having a bad day and take it out on you, don’t let it get to you….be strong, respectful and remember to always stay positive!
What did you wear to your first interview?
I remember it vividly. I was interviewing for the internship at Betsey Johnson and while I wanted to appear professional, I still wanted to add some fashionable flair. I wore an army green sheath dress with cord detailing at the shoulders and chunky, black suede thigh high boots. The boots hit exactly where the dress ended giving the look a polished sophistication. My accessories were all about fun featuring a patterned floral headband and a gold Moschino poodle necklace. Petra, the PR Manager for Betsey at the time who interviewed me (and now a close friend), commented on how she loved the necklace….#WINNING!
What is the best advice someone has ever given you?
One of my mentors always told me not only to dress for the job you want, but also, to act for the job you want! For example, do you have a mentor or someone you look up to at work? Try mimicking their behaviors when it comes to speaking with leadership, email communication or even on client calls. This is crucial for career growth as it allows you to take the parts of people you admire most and add their methods to your “tool belt”. With enough practice, you will find yourself utilizing these skills in everyday work life, allowing you to grow into the leader you want to be.
After working in fashion, what led you to make the change to Whole Foods?
After being in the fashion and beauty industry for about 5 years, I moved into food to flex my career muscles and expand my resume. I wanted to be known for my expertise in the digital realm and I knew that by taking a leap into a different industry, I would not only learn a ton about social media, but also about myself.
As the social media and digital marketing manager for Whole Foods, how would you describe a typical day?
The beauty of my job is there really is no “typical day”…it’s one of the reasons why I love it! One day I could be in meetings at our regional offices and the next, I could be at McCarren Park shooting a stop motion video. That said, being in stores – whether that’s shopping for a photo shoot or visiting with team members - is very important to the company. You really can’t manage Whole Foods Market’s social media (or any retail location for that matter) without a solid understanding of how the business operates and the general day to day. Since a big part of my role is helping to manage and guide our Marketing Managers, I often times meet with them in stores to understand the community or in-store events they are planning so we can strategize ways to get those messages out on social.
What are your best tips for standing out on social media?
• First and foremost, be yourself! Don’t post photos because you think other people are going to like them…post because YOU like them. Share content that makes YOU happy.
• Second, have a voice! Standing out on social media means expressing your thoughts and what makes you unique. This is your chance to share a little slice of your life with people so try and be as genuine as possible.
• And finally, stay on “brand”! Once you’ve found your niche, try not to stray far from it.
• If you do all this, others will want to follow and experience your social media journey.
We LOVE your colorful sense of style, and your collection of vintage pieces is seriously #GOALS, where are some of your favorite places to shop for one-of-a-kind vintage pieces?
• Dobbin Street Co-op: the best for boho and colorful home and fashion pieces….think 60s and 70s.
• The Break: if you’re looking for an affordable mix of 70s, 80s and 90s with a pastel vibe, visit this dreamy spot in Greenpoint.
• Dusty Rose Vintage: this warehouse is teaming with vintage fashion goodies at amazing prices but you need to be prepared to dig!
• Amarcord Vintage: Got my last year’s birthday dress here…it’s filled with colorful dresses and even some vintage chanel!
• L Train Vintage: Killer for denim and vintage tees.
• Thriftwares: Literally something for everyone here from minimal to super avant-garde.
Where are some of your favorite Insta worthy places to capture a good shot?
• I am all about a good graffiti wall so here are my top favorites:
o This colorful floor in Williamsburg right across from Roebling Tea Room
o The pool at McCarren Hotel has an adorable vibe
o Love the #Colorwave wall in Bushwick
o Nolita is always filled with colorful and fun walls like this and this
o This spot is in Williamsburg right on the corner of Wythe and North 3rd.
With social media constantly changing, what advice would you give to someone hoping to follow in your footsteps?
For anyone interested in working as a social media marketer, it’s important to stay on top of what’s trending in the digital sphere. Early on, I subscribed to all the top niche social media and digital marketing sites – these are often times where social marketing news drops first and by subscribing, I ensure I never miss a beat. Every morning on my way to work, I sift through headlines ensuring I am on the up and up when it comes to important or new digital trends.
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