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Advice / Career Paths / Career Change

I Started My Career in Fashion But Now I Work in Marketing

Caitlin Lyttle
Caitlin Lyttle

Caitlin Lyttle—Marketing Manager at Financial Gym—fell in love with fashion in high school. So, she earned a degree from a fashion-focused business college and, shortly after, started working for Ralph Lauren.

For a little over a year, she managed the distribution of men’s knits and inventory for each factory store. Then, she joined the LOFT Outlet merchandise team, where she analyzed the sales volume and store capacities to plan inventory levels for all the stores.

But, after four years in the fashion world, Lyttle began to question if she was in the right field.

“I wanted more face time with other people,” she explains. “But, instead, I was spending hours in Excel or staring at my calculator. I realized it’d take years for me to get to a management role with more human-to-human interaction than data analysis. And, honestly, I just wasn’t willing to wait that long to be happier.”

Around that same time, Lyttle attended a networking event that featured Financial Gym.

“I felt it’d be a great fit,” Lyttle shares. “So, I asked their head of HR, Kim, if we could chat. I pitched myself as their community manager, a role that didn’t exist in the company yet. I love being a client and felt there was an opportunity to create a stronger community. Kim brought our conversation back to the founder and CEO, and, a week later, they offered me a role on the marketing team.”

While the position they offered her wasn’t the one she’d proposed—rather, it was a vacant marketing manager position—Lyttle was able to make the role her own.

“I took this position with the understanding that I could build community engagement while taking on marketing efforts, too,” she shares. “I joined knowing I’d be able to oversee those two areas, so I ended up being able to incorporate the vision I’d pitched to them.”

To learn more about Lyttle’s story, keep reading.

What Are Your Main Responsibilities as a Marketing Manager?

I do everything from managing our website to press outreach. Anyone who’s worked at a startup knows you wear many different hats. So, in addition, I manage all our social media platforms, content for our “Financially Free” blog, and the creation of our weekly newsletter.

We also hold Wine & Learn Wednesdays, where we discuss how to improve our financial lives over a series of personal finance topics and, of course, a glass of wine (or two). I create and execute these events. Also, we have a ton of partnerships that I manage, whether that’s through partner events or Instagram giveaways.

What’s Your Favorite Part About Your Job?

Interacting with the community! I love speaking to anyone who just walks through our doors or gives us a call. I love hearing our clients talk about a raise they received after working through salary negotiations with their financial trainer, or how they started saving 30% of their paycheck.

What’s Your Favorite Piece of Career Advice to Give?

Don’t be afraid to apply to or take the job you feel you’re too unqualified for. I didn’t have any experience in retail planning before starting at Ralph Lauren, and the same goes for my current job. If you wait to apply or ask for a job until you’re “ready,” you’ll miss out on a lot of great learning and growth opportunities.

What’s Your Favorite Piece of Financial Advice to Give?

Set up automatic payments to your savings accounts for each time you get paid. In other words, pay your future self first! At the Financial Gym, we advise our clients to save at least 15% of their gross monthly income and put it toward either an emergency fund or a major purchase goal, such as buying a home or saving for a wedding.

Once you set up automatic payments, you’ll be amazed at how quickly your savings will grow. And setting up those payments is really easy—I promise!