Emily Ramshaw: Former Bumble Canadian Lead, Fashionista, Fenom
We’ve all fantasized about what it would be like to lead the life of one of our favourite television characters. For example, the catalyst for my entire career path was 100% inspired by Olivia Pope (I plan on eventually living a life where I can shout, “it’s handled!!” and have everyone around me stare into the abyss really ominously).
For Emily Ramshaw, it was Carrie Bradshaw.
Emily dreamt about being a glamorous fashion writer in the big city where she was surrounded by theatre, arts, and beauty – all things she loved from a young age.
She admits that she finished university with little to no knowledge of what it took to be a professional, but with a ton of drive and determination to create a life for herself within the fashion industry that she obsessed over. So, after graduating, she began interning at Flare Magazine in Toronto, where she worked in the Fashion Closet (think LC and Whitney in Season 1 of The Hills). Recognizing that writing was her greatest strength though, she made it known to her supervisors and editors at the magazine that she wanted to start writing, and jumped at any opportunity to create written content for the magazine and website.
“Because of my serious determination and curiosity about the industry, I was given a lot of opportunities and I kind of learned on the fly,” she says. At just 22, Emily was working as the Assistant News Editor at Flare, travelling the world to cover international fashion weeks and interviewing legends like Stella McCartney.
But what do Sex and the City, The Devil Wears Prada, and Breakfast at Tiffany’s all have in common? Haute couture, glamourous women, and New York City, of course.
Emily moved to NYC and worked as a Senior Editor at Coveteur, an online publication that covers all things fashion and beauty in the 21st century. She was living her dream; writing two to three articles each day about the industry that she loved amidst the hustle that is the New York fashion scene. She describes the experience as both exciting and exhausting, and recalls the importance of social networking (irl) within the impossibly fast pace of Manhattan.
“There was always some social element at the end of the day... It was where I learned the value of networking – the value of asking someone to get a drink with you even if you’ve only emailed with them before, or even if it’s completely cold call,” she explains. In a bustling city and industry as saturated as fashion, the people you build relationships with are integral to both your personal and professional growth.
So, what was it like to pull back the curtain and jump right into her dream life?
“At first it very much fulfilled the fantasy,” Emily says, “but I also think I started to understand how closed the industry was at that time.” Ultimately, it took achieving her goals to realize that fashion publishing wasn’t actually what she wanted to do after all.
Not only did she make the move home, but she also took a professional leap as well, leaving Coveteur to begin freelance writing on her own.
“This was something that I was deciding because it was the best decision for me, and it was really empowering to do that, and it ended up working out.”
However, an integral part of her entrance into the freelancing market rested upon her existing peer network in fashion and writing. Emily began writing for various companies and people who she had encountered in her previous jobs, including Coveteur, and she eventually found herself doing work as a consultant, giving advice on branding, marketing and social media.
Realizing she didn’t have to be pigeonholed in fashion writing forever, she found ways to use the many talents that she had acquired as a journalist in different ways while working on her own terms and with herself as her boss.
Thinking of trying out freelance work? Emily’s advice is this: don’t undervalue yourself. Your time is money and so is your experience level. If you’ve got a particular skill set that’s coveted, share it with others. Sell yourself. Get paid for it.
Bumble eventually popped up on Emily’s radar and became a client of hers as a result of the network that she had built both independently and within the companies she had worked with previously. She started working part time as their Canadian Lead, and it eventually grew into a full-time job that saw her leading an entire team for the whole country.
Finding her footing wasn’t necessarily easy, but transitioning back into the corporate world let Emily utilize the experiences she had accumulated over the course of her entire career and hone them into a role where she knew she would have impact.
“I could use all the skills that I’ve developed over years of working, also feeling confident that I was delivering a real result for a company that mattered.”
The current job market is daunting to many, but its diversity and evolution also makes it incredibly exciting. “There are opportunities and they will not take the forms that you expect them to,” Emily explains. As a fashion intern turned editor turned freelancer turned Lead of Bumble Canada, she has accumulated a wealth of experience and landed a job for herself that probably didn’t even exist back when she first started dreaming of Birkin bags and red bottom shoes.
Since we’ll never know what Carrie is up to now (thanks Kim Cattrall), I’ll indulge you all in a little fan fiction (don’t worry, not the freaky kind). I like to think Carrie Bradshaw has followed in Emily’s footsteps - working with empowering women-led corporations to make various industries more inclusive while always making sure her employees have the shoes they need to feel good about themselves.
She also would have left Big ages ago.
Emily Ramshaw is proof that if you work hard, you might just become successful enough to get the life you’ve always dreamed of, and then have the option to move on from it when you’re ready for something new.
Watch her five chapters in the video above.
Written by: Hannah Geiser