Job Fair Success

Job fairs can be a great place to make connections with employers. . .but only if you know how to do it well. If you’d like to improve your job-fair know-how, please join us for a free seminar Monday, January 29th, from 10AM – 2PM. Career Center staff will discuss what to expect at job fairs, how to prepare, how to make a good first impression, and how to avoid common mistakes.

You can register online, or by calling the Career Center at 225-231-3733.

This seminar is a great chance to prepare for the upcoming Job Fair on February 1st at BRCC, from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, hosted by EmployBR and Capital Area Re-Entry Coalition. Attending the Career Center’s seminar will make you a VIP for the fair!

Business Person of the Month: Andrea Eastin of Fair Fit Studios

Fair Fit Studios

401 Longwood Court, Unit C

Baton Rouge, LA 70806

The range of group classes, private lessons, video tutorials, and online articles that is Fair Fit Studio was born in Andrea Eastin’s midcity home four years ago, but Eastin herself has been part of the handmade fashion world for much longer. After achieving a bachelor’s degree in Painting and Drawing from the University of Iowa and attending workshops in dye and surface design at the Penland School of Craft, Eastin attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago for a Master of Fiber and Material Studies degree. There, she also taught a beginner-to-advanced curriculum of four classes in sewing, with an emphasis on clothing construction and fashion. She set up a fashion line in New Orleans until the disaster of Hurricane Katrina forced her and so many others out of the city, but later moved back to complete what felt like unfinished business. “I came back to New Orleans and I got really involved with the fashion scene there that was growing because of the post-Katrina influx of new people and new initiatives,” Eastin said.

IMG_2007
Fair Fit Studios class space and workroom.

Though fashion and clothing design remained (and continue to be) one of Eastin’s passions, it was difficult to meet the production demands of clothing stores that were interested in carrying her lines. “I knew I was in a model that I did not have the resources or the capacity to make successful from where I was,” she said. “I had to just totally start over. Sometimes being able to totally start over can bring something really amazing into your life, because you’re not repeating something you know how to do.” A marriage (to local hairdresser and creative director Paul Eastin), a move to Baton Rouge, and a “stop-doing” year to give herself a chance to recharge were just what was needed to let the idea of Fair Fit Studios percolate. The move especially helped to shape the business: Where New Orleans is known for its grandiose celebrations and regular festivals, all of which require a different custom-made costume or gown and each of which places severe constraints on the natural ebb and flow of clientele, Eastin found that “here people are really looking for ways that they can grow their children’s interests. With the private lessons for teenagers and children that I do, that’s often parents that know their child loves fashion, or wants to know how to sew, and they don’t have anybody that can teach them. And so the parents really try to figure out how this can be their kid’s thing.” Private lessons may be anything from a young child designing and sewing her own Christmas dress with Eastin’s careful supervision, to a teenager building a portfolio to apply to advanced courses of study with the benefit of Eastin’s vast technical skill.

The name “Fair Fit” comes from Eastin’s academic background and personal philosophy towards fashion and clothing design – it was originally the title of her thesis at the Art Institute. In this case, “fair” means both “adequate” and “just,” and plays off rising concerns about where clothing is made and how it is paid for. “It was a form of grading, meaning sizing, that I created so that it had some play – could be customized. I named it off of my clothing line because I think it’s more fair to teach a person the skills … it’s more fair if you have the autonomy to be able to make it yourself and to make your own decisions, it’s more democratic that way, than having to find somebody to do it for you, or having to rely on what already exists to make the choice for you. It’s not fair that we don’t have these skills anymore,” she said. The Fair Fit dress and pattern will soon be available online, and Eastin will teach classes on her sizing system.

The Fair Fit pattern pieces.
The Fair Fit pattern pieces. The pattern is designed so that each piece can be swapped out for one of a different size, creating an individualized fit.
The Fair Fit dress.
The Fair Fit dress.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many of the emails Fair Fit Studios receives are centered around the problem of fit and how rarely something off-the-rack is a perfect match, either physically or aesthetically. “The hard thing is, you have a unique perspective, and they’re not trying to appeal to that. So then you can either do it yourself, or you can pay someone to do it for you, which, I don’t know if you really want to go down that route,” Eastin laughed. “There’s no way to make a dress that makes everybody happy. But there’s a reason why they don’t fit right: because it costs too much money for them to fit right.” Even professional sewers struggle with learning how to design and construct clothing in a way that excites their client base, and as Eastin said, that’s because “if I go about making the way you want it for your body, you’re still going to be unhappy, because it’s not your perspective, it’s still my perspective. So if you just teach people the skill, that’s the closest to fair in fashion that I have gotten.”

Even creatively focused small businesses need growth, and to accomplish this, Fair Fit recently began offering online classes in beginners sewing and basic patterns. Eastin also dedicates more time to the blog, writing a combination of articles on everything from upcoming in-person classes to the how-tos of pattern piecing to philosophy of design. “I like to feel like I’m enterprising, just always thinking of how can we offer more. But I’m still one person,” she said. Eastin is thus committed to steady, reliable growth of 17% per quarter (a number derived based on the advice of a business coach). “It’s more about what’s that one next achievable step that’s towards growth,” she said, than about doubling profit or output as quickly as possible – sustainability in the long term over more dramatic results more quickly. “Same as with sewing, creating a business is not really that different from creating an art project. It has a circuitry. It has a series of steps. It has a way that it reaches other people, and there is an exchange. You shouldn’t go, ‘oh! But the money isn’t important to me.’ Of course it is, right? But you just make sure you’re not trying to put expectations on it that are the same as what a marketing business would grow, or a tire business.”

For aspiring entrepreneurs, the library can be an invaluable resource – Eastin has used everything from online audiobooks to listen to while she works on sewing projects, to spaces outside of her home that make it easier to concentrate on business writing, to advertising upcoming classes, to classic sewing instruction books for deeper research. “I really believe that a lot of the great references are there. A lot of people believe that you should really learn sewing on YouTube these days, but there’s such good information in the classics. Those books from the 50s, 60s, and 70s are amazing. That’s how I learned,” she said. (The fashion conscious can also use online resources like Women’s Wear Daily and the Vogue Archives to check out styles of the day as far back as the 1800s.)

Join the Fair Fit Studios emailing list to learn about upcoming classes, both in-house and online, and for more information about every aspect of fashion design. You can also follow Fair Fit’s Facebook page.

EDA University Center Workforce Training Topics

The EDA University Center at Southern University will be hosting the following workforce development courses at the Main Library on Goodwood:

  • MS Access (Database): Introduction (2 and half hours)
    This ILT Series course covers the basic skills and concepts students need to use Microsoft Access 2013 productively and efficiently. After an introduction to the Access 2013 environment, students will learn how to plan databases and create tables. Then they will learn to organize fields and records, and to work with data entry rules. They will learn how to create basic queries, and how to work with forms and reports.
  • MS Access (Data base): Intermediate (2 and half hours)
    This ILT Series course builds on the skills and concepts taught in Access 2010: Basic. Students will learn how to normalize data, manage table relationships, and enforce referential integrity; work with Lookup fields and subdatasheets; create join queries, calculated fields, and summary values; add objects to forms and create advanced form types; print reports and labels; create and modify charts; and use PivotTables and PivotCharts.
  • QuickBooks
    This training will be greatly rewarding for individuals/ business owners who want to pay bills, invoice customers, create receipts, and reconcile checking accounts in one accounting book. In addition, the participants will learn how to manage accounts payable and receivable and assets, control inventory, and forecast future sales and generate reports.

Please contact Sung C. No, Ph.D., W.E. Tucker Endowed Professor of the EDA University Center at Baton Rouge, to register for class.
Tel: 225.771-5954
Cell: 225-773-8917

The schedule can be seen below:BTR Main Library Communication 2

Get a Great Job

We’ve all had a little time to settle into the year, but there’s no reason not to look around for ways to make 2016 your best year yet by getting a new job!

This doesn’t have to be you! You could be April after she gets her awesome new job in DC instead!

The Career Center has a lot of great resources to help you in your job hunt – they’re even having an awesome seminar on “Mastering the Job Interview” tomorrow morning from 10-11:30 AM at the Main Library. You can register by calling them at 225-231-3733.

career-center

In addition to brushing up on your Microsoft Office skills in one of our introductory computer classes, you can also take a class specifically targeted towards improving your resume! There are two next week:

  • Tuesday, Feb. 23, Carver Branch, 10 AM-12 PM
  • Thursday, Feb. 25, Bluebonnet Regional, 10 AM-12 PM

And if you want to take the Leslie Knope route, be sure to sign up for the seminar on “Federal Government Jobs in Louisiana” happening on March 18th! You can learn all about what doing something for your country can do for you.

This could be you, too! Except with less sarcasm!

Build your Business at the Library

From getting inspired at our Maker Faire, to learning how to make something of your own at one of our awesome craft programs, to turning that new skill into a business that will actually make you money – what the heck can’t you do at the library?!

(Well, you can’t buy things – because it’s all free.)

The library has a lot of really great resources to help you get a job, start a business, tell people about your business, make your business grow, hold important business meetings, and retire to a nice island somewhere.

Start your career today.

If you’re looking for a job, the Career Center is the place for you. The librarians there can help you with every step of the job search from figuring out what you might want to do through actually interviewing for the job that’s right for you (we’ve got Skype!). Read our September blog post for more information, or check out their website by clicking on the banner above.

All this and more. (It's not pretty, but DANG is it good.)
All this and more.

Want to be your own boss? After we help you get some start-up funding with our grant resources, the Gale Small Business Resource Center is basically your one-stop shop for all the forms you’ll need, including sample business plans you can use as a jumping-off point AND a database of up-to-the-minute articles on the most pressing issues small businesses face today.

Do you just really like books? So do we! In addition to information on the electronic resources listed here (and many more), we’ve got an infoguide on Business in the Library that has lists of books on all subjects business-related, including a whole section on how and why to use social media to make your goods or services go viral.

And when all that’s done and you’re ready to kick back, we’ve still got you covered: check out our travel resources for everything from guidebooks to language lessons.

It’s a good life.

Maybe think of us a little, when you make your first million. But even if you don’t we’re always glad to help you however we can.