It’s always so exciting to know that a brown girl is working a fascinating brand, especially in an industry where diversity is scarce. But when we do find out that there’s one of “us” behind the scenes, giddiness and excitement ensues. For Tiffany Jones, working at the female-founded, billion-dollar company Spanx has been nothing short of a blessing, opening doors for her that she’d never imagined.
For us, it’s a sure sign that womanhood and diversity really do play key roles in the progression of our bond as minority women. Jones took some time out of her busy schedule to share her life at the company that forever changed the way women looked in their clothes.
EBONY: Spanx is such a large company with many roles to fill. Can you tell us what is your role at Spanx?
Tiffany Jones: I am a technical design coordinator for the product development department at Spanx. My main duties are casting local fit models to ensure our products—across all categories, from activewear to bras—offer women of all shapes and sizes comfortable results. I’m also responsible for executing development and fit for shapewear.
EBONY: How did you land your amazing job at the company?
TJ: I learned of the opening of my current position through our company website, www.spanx.com, under the careers section. Finding a corporate job in the fashion industry outside of New York and Los Angeles can be difficult. As a new resident in Atlanta (about three months), I was eagerly searching for fashion opportunities outside of the retail realm. Being a previous sales person for Nordstrom, I was well aware of the power of Spanx, but did not know they were headquartered in Atlanta.
Through research, I learned their headquarters were very close to where I lived. I constantly searched the website until I found an opening that I believed matched my qualifications. My BFA in fashion design from Virginia Commonwealth University and New York internships provided me with the experience I needed for the job. I submitted my résumé and cover letter, continuing to follow up until I received an interview. When expressing interest in a company, I believe persistence is the key.
EBONY: Was working in this aspect of fashion in the plans at all, or was this an opportunity that arrived that you just couldn’t pass up?
TJ: Looking back, I always made clothes for my dolls as a child, but did not realize my career interest until my junior year in high school, when college application time was right around the corner. Choosing a college or university that has strong programs in your specific area of interest is very important. I knew if I wanted to concentrate in art, I was going to need to choose a strictly arts school or one with a strong arts program.
Although I love all types of art, I chose fashion for its ever-evolving nature. The fashion industry is constantly striving towards innovation, which for me provides never-ending interest. It’s an industry that will always be around.
EBONY: Spanx is run by one of the most creative women of our generation. What’s it like being a part of this huge company that is run by a woman?
TJ: It’s very empowering. Sara Blakely, our founder, is such an amazing and inspiring person. Working for someone who has such a love and passion for philanthropy truly gives me a sense that I am a part of the mission to empower women all over the world. I’ve been honored with the opportunity to participate in the company’s inaugural philanthropy committee, allowing me to work with Sara in continuing to grow the Sara Blakely Foundation. Serving on this committee is a great reminder that we are all here for a reason, and it is our responsibility to help others.
EBONY: Can you give me a day in the life of working for Spanx, or is every day a bit different than the one before?
TJ: A day in the life at Spanx is always exciting. It’s my job to make sure the products are performing to our high standards before they go to market, so my day usually starts by answering questions from manufacturers on styles in development. Fittings are an everyday occurrence, but I’m always working with a new product or collection, which keeps me on my toes. I can work with up to six fit models a day to perfect a shapewear style and then head to a photo shoot to offer technical support.
EBONY: What is the biggest mistake you think women make in owning their own businesses?
TJ: I think that not choosing to remain positive and forward-thinking is detrimental in any endeavor.
EBONY: What lessons in work and career as a young woman can you share that you’ve learned working at Spanx?
TJ: Women really do rule. Take charge and responsibility for your own destiny. Whether it is completing an important task to meet a deadline or starting your own company, we are all responsible for our actions and the results of our own efforts.