Despite graduating from UC Berkeley in 2009 with plans to attend law school, 24-year-old Mara Ferreira now runs the successful fashion blog M Loves M and works full-time as a stylist and buyer for online retailer Ruche. Learn how the young LA-based style maven turned her site and passion into a highly sought-after career.
Full Name: Mara Ferreira
Current title/company: Buyer and Stylist for Ruche (shopruche.com)
Educational background: Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in Peace and Conflict Studies from UC Berkeley
What was your first job out of college and how did you land that position?
My first job out of college was for a law firm that I had interned for during the summers. I was planning on going to law school and becoming a public interest lawyer but after working there for about six months I realized I just wasn’t passionate about it and decided to look towards my other interests. I started working for a magazine, doing some editorial work and styling, and that’s what made me realize I liked working in a creative environment, especially around clothes!
How did you land a job as a buyer and stylist for Ruche?
Ruche had been one of my blog sponsors and when they found out I was looking for a job they reached out to me to see if I’d be interested in working for them. It was supposed to be for a copywriting position but within a couple weeks I was helping to style the early fall lookbook. It’s grown from there and I’m just blessed to have this amazing opportunity. I love working with such wonderful and creative people and planning these incredible features and lookbooks to share on our site.
Tell us a little bit about your job and daily responsibilities.
Some of my daily responsibilities include emailing suppliers, looking through linesheets, ordering items for the site, restocking items that have been selling well, creative meetings, planning features and lookbooks, and of course buying and styling for them. There’s a lot to do which means it’s never boring!
What advice do you have for girls looking for a career in the fashion industry?
I’d suggest gaining experience wherever you can, even by working in a retail store. You learn a lot about products, inventory, styles that move, and those that don’t. Also, it’s good to constantly stay in-the-know by reading blogs, magazines, and trend forecasting reports. There are a lot of internships that are available through different companies and sometimes starting there can lead to a paid job in the future.
What are the biggest challenges of working as a buyer and stylist? What are the greatest rewards?
The biggest challenge is managing my time! There is often so much to do that it can get a little overwhelming but prioritizing (and staying calm!) helps. The greatest reward is hearing from a customer that they loved an item and got a bunch of compliments. I also love when something amazing happens to them in a Ruche item, like a job promotion, a proposal, or a special celebration. It makes me feel like we were part of a precious moment for them. I love our Ruche girls!
Best moment of your career so far?
My professional career: Getting to work with such incredible photographers and also to see some of my inspirations come to life. Things I dreamt up in my head becoming real is the coolest thing ever!
My personal career: Winning the Tacori and Bloomingdales Styling Competition. That was a major accomplishment since I participated with some incredible bloggers. I also loved hosting an event for Banana Republic at the Grove in LA!
How did you get into blogging and when did you start?
I started blogging in 2009 as a way to stay close with my long distance boyfriend (now my husband!). It was a creative outlet while I was working for the law firm and I can’t believe how it’s grown over the past couple of years.
What advice do you have for girls looking to expand their blogs?
My best advice is to be the real you. Write about what interests you, what you’re passionate about. If you don’t feel up to writing a post, don’t. Explore your interests and share them on the blog, whether it’s baking, crafting, traveling, or whatever. Good photo quality helps, as well as a nice layout! Also reach out to other bloggers in your local area and see if you can coordinate a meet up. It’s so much fun to meet other bloggers, and it’s a great way to get to know other people with similar interests as you.
What are your favorite and least favorite things about blogging?
My favorite thing about blogging is being able to have a creative outlet and also the ability to be a part of an incredible community. I’m so grateful to have made some wonderful friends through the blogging community. I also have the most supportive readers who are incredibly encouraging and kind. My least favorite thing about blogging is sometimes feeling the need to post when I have nothing to talk about, or just don’t have the interest. In those situations I normally don’t post and just wait until the next day. Blogging is also very time consuming and it sometimes takes me away from time that I could be with Matthew. Working a full time job on top of blogging can be tough! I’m working on managing my time better though and setting aside specified blogging time and family time.
What five items should every girl have in her closet?
- a pretty dress
- a pair of comfy jeans
- a pencil skirt
- a scarf that can be worn in every season
- an amazing pair of heels—I’m a big shoe girl!
What are your favorite sources for budget-friendly items?
ShopRuche.com. Ruche has so many affordable items that are still beautiful and feminine. I also love thrift stores because I have this crazy luck that will spark up, and I’ll find an amazing piece ($6 Ralph Lauren jacket, $30 Philip Lim Dress, $5 J.Crew Skirt—brand new!).