How come it seems that there is more labor in a 9-5 eight hour job than there is in posting photos of your life while developing your own brand?
As the rise of creative work progresses upon our economy, there seems to be desirous doubts of the career as real labor. As artists, singers, dancers, are recognized for their hard earned talent, those who stray off the line of performers or artists are seen possess a less hardworking job. In the post-Fordist era economy, there was a push in working for the self and being the entrepreneur that everyone strives to be. The labor market structure of being innovative and creative also become on the rise but then still, why is not respected as a career in finance or law?
Mercedes Gonzalez, also known as Style it With Trix is a 20 year old, New York based fashion blogger. She is tall, skinny, blonde and pretty, (you might be thinking: so typical of a fashion blogger) but her labor is not recognized through title. Mercedes’ photos come out flawless as she regularly posts about her daily outfits and what she wears to different occasions. She puts together amazing outfits and allows her viewers to shop them accordingly. However, what’s not in these photos is the 24/7 commitment she has in developing and maintain her brand.
As digital media occupies almost all aspects of the economy currently, people like Mercedes have found a way to be innovative by using the online platform and creating a brand for herself. Not everyone is as comfortable rising to the occasion and taken this road as a career. Stein states in his article of Labor, Entrepreneurialism and the Creative Economy in neoliberal times that creative works require long hours (longer than a typical 40-hour week), high competitiveness, no job security and definitely no benefits provided by an employer. With the high risk career that these bloggers have there’s actually more of a push to work harder and produce content because in the fashion industry, it is so easy to become boring. “Having it all” may come with the glam but it also come with literally have it all.
Something particularly different about Mercedes that she was creative in stand out amongst the millions of others who try to infiltrate the blogging career. Her innovative tactic has allowed her to quickly rise to 145,000 followers. She generated this kind of audience base in just under two years. Being so young when she started, Mercedes was smart enough to distinguish herself from other tall, pretty, blonde bloggers. Her brand is directly associated with her pet chihuahua. Ever post she curates on her page from her logo comes nothing less than Trix, her sidekick. With the commitment of being a fashion blogger and the responsibilities that follow along, Mercedes goes beyond to actually do the work for two individuals. Not only does she dress herself perfectly, she is able to style her pup right alongside with her.
The labor of working with yourself and developing a brand for yourself is hard enough. This come with marketing yourself as a brand to your audience and potential partnership companies, writing and editing all the blogs, being innovative with setting and ideas, and the list goes on. Mercedes finds herself in the midst of all these tasks as well as shooting in the right area, posing the right way, editing photos to get the best outcome. These all accounts of labor in this type of industry, however, imagine doing it to with an animal. Posing becomes harder as you have to accommodate for the pet and you need to always keep it fresh and diversify with how the pup is being posed. Mercedes does an incredible job of always making sure that Trix looks like her little twin but also to get her to stay and also look as good as she does in her photos.
“Being creative means the self-monitoring of career pathways, pursuing risky and individualistic entrepreneurial endeavors, and cultivating the image of an individual creative practitioner as a marketable brand.(610, Stein) Mercedes, a full-time college student who also maintains her fashion blog does just that. She take risks in her entrepreneurial career and cultivates amazing content that represents her brand. In an interview with News 12, she opens up and says that the industry and market is so saturated that she needed a way to stand out, hence bringing her chihuahua side kick into the game with her. Now that’s what I call creative.