June 26, 2015

Pratt Alumni Spotlight: Julie Mollo

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am Julie Mollo, I am 27. I’m from Massachusetts and I am a Brooklyn-based fashion designer and stylist. I specialize in doing fun, flirty rock & roll clothes and I love designing for musicians and seeing the designs on stage.

Could you walk me through a day in the life of Julie Mollo?
Every day is different, I wake up early and spend the first two hours of my day on social media and e-mail. Because I run everything, I don’t have a social media or business person.
Sometimes I’m styling a video so I’m running around to studios and coordinating with different show rooms or I’m working on custom stuff and sewing for all different clients. Other times I’m running around midtown sourcing fabrics and running to my manufacturer to get  everything together.
Everyday is different but they’re long and I work seven days a week, probably 7AM to 9 or 10PM on an average day, some days are longer and some days I get to take off.

How long ago did you start your business?
I started my business while I was still at Pratt, I was 20 and started dressing Katy Perry. I was a junior. Katy started wearing my designs and after she did the Today Show and VMA’s she made a blog post about me and sent thousands of girls to my website. I was forced to create a business while I was juggling my Pratt fashion classes and making custom clothing such as rompers and party dresses for girls all over the world. It was fun and crazy but that’s how it started. So seven years later I’m putting the pieces together.
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What is one fun fact that helps you succeed?
I found Katy Perry on Myspace. And that’s what made me succeed overall, but you have to be fearless and crazy. If you are those two things you can do anything.

How do you think your experience at Pratt helped shape you as the artist/creative professional that you are now?
My aesthetic has always been the same but at Pratt the students have their own thing going on, and a lot of students were into high-fashion. I was always doing my own thing which was fun and  flirty. Everyone useD to laugh it off and I learned to defend my design--I got better at that and I’m so glad that I did because it’s easy to fall into a certain design.
It was a good school. I think having New York City and the connections that we made at school was good. Everybody at the dorms even--I’m still using those connections and references, but they were my friends back then and we’re working professionals now. It’s a really cool home-base to have.

What were some of the challenges you faced at Pratt and how did you overcome them?
Probably when I was starting my business, that was challenging. It was nuts! I never did work in the studios since I had a studio set up in my dorm room. I had a single in Willoughby and I’d work all night. I’d take as many orders as I could because I wanted the money to get me through school. I didn’t do anything else but work. It was rare that I was going out in college, I was not a party girl. There was no time for that.

What is some advice you want to share with current Pratt students?
You have to understand your aesthetic, defend it, keep going and believe that what you’re supposed to do is what you’re supposed to do. And if you want to do that you have to do it. Don’t question it, you have to believe it and work your ass off for it because it’s not luck, it’s a lot of work. If you work hard enough you’ll succeed. Don’t be afraid to make connections-reach out to anybody, you have to be gutsy. No one else is gonna do it for you, nobody will help you in this city, you have to do it yourself.

Did you have any internships while at Pratt?
I got lucky when I was working with Katy, I was making so much outside the classroom that my advisor was, like, “We’ll just write some of this off”.
Working for myself was considered an internship credit at one point. I also interned at Betsey Johnson for the summer of 2009, the whole summer I interned there. I worked 40 hours a week for free and when I’d get out of my internship I’d make custom clothes for musicians. That was right before senior year, it was crazy.
The industry was such a turn off for me that it made me decide that I don’t want to work for anybody else so that’s what I’m going to do. It’s gross out there!
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Katrina Eugenia Photography
Anything else you’d want to share? 
I just released a new line of my reversible clothing and had a big launch party to celebrate that, so it’s going well. But you never feel like ‘I made it’, you’re always working. I still work freelance jobs, or style gigs here and there to make it all work. It’s a hustle.
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Katrina Eugenia Photography
To get the latest on Julie Mollo’s fashion line be sure to check out her website!


Written by: Jazz Seijii

Images by: Katrina Eugenia and other Associated Press

June 5, 2015

Radio Talk with Nico Teitel

The Career Ambassadors first witnessed Nico Teitel’s vibrant personality when she attended one of our Gotham Tours where we visited Titmouse. Teitel is a Junior 2D Animation major and volleyball player. This semester I got the chance to talk to Teitel about her experience working on campus as a General Manager of the Radio Station and a worker in the Department of Digital Arts Resource Center (DDA Resource Center).


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Teitel is on the left


The process of finding a job is always different, and Teitel’s experience shows the importance of  networking. “During my freshman year, I found the radio station to be an interesting part of Pratt life, especially since I am all about finding bizarre music and getting it out there. All of the radio station’s current staff were seniors and were graduating so when little old sophomore me decided to ask about the position, they were happy to hire me. As for the Resource Center, I was friends with all the employees. So when one of my close friends was given the chance to pick and choose who she wanted to hire, I was one of her selections. I worked at the monitor desk, and eventually I was promoted.”


Teitel has a number of responsibilities at both jobs. At the radio station, she is a co-executive branch with the Technology Manager. This managerial position requires her to communicate with advisors, maintain daily communication as well as run the staff meetings. At the DDA Resource Center, she is the librarian for equipment. DDA students come to the desk and check out equipment, and she has to keep record of who brings back the equipment and who doesn’t.


Working at both Pratt Radio Station as well as the DDA center has helped Teitel both in her school work and her life. “The great thing [about working on campus] is your boss and fellow employees always understand that school will come first. In my experience working on campus, I have never had a manager that said otherwise. And working at the radio station has improved my audio in my animations, and working at the Resource Center taught me how to stay organized and work under a supervisor. One of the things I like about being a manager at the radio station is that it has given me the ability to be a strong leader, and that is really important in the animation field where every job is a team effort.”


In her work experience, Teitel is most proud of her contribution to the radio station. “When the former leaders of the Pratt Radio graduated, they left us a broken machine and really didn’t show us how to fix it. Getting the station back on air was a high point itself, and now, even though it is still super temperamental, the machine at least works a little bit better.”


And her advice to students is food for thought. “You really have to think about everything you need to do all the time. The moment you stop thinking about your other responsibilities is the moment something falls through the cracks. I find writing things down really beneficial. Also, it is okay to ask for help. Everyone has something to bring to the table and Pratt has a structure that is meant to solve campus problems.”


Check out Teitel’s work at nicoteitel.tumblr.com. To learn more about Pratt students and successful alumni, as well as see what awesome events we have going on, follow the Career Ambassadors on Twitter (@PrattSuccess) and find us on Facebook (Pratt Success)!


Written by: Bree Balsamo

Image provided by: Nicole Teitel

May 28, 2015

Meijun Cai: School, On-Campus Job, Internship, Sports and Success

It is well known that Pratt Institute offers intensive academic programs, and students know all too well that keeping up with the homework load is a full time job. Add in an internship, an on-campus job and sports, and it seems impossible to get everything done short of adding more hours in the day. Amazingly enough, Meijun Cai - a recent ComD graduate interested in Advertising & Art Direction - has found a way to accomplish such a feat.


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Originally from Kingston, Jamaica, Meijun currently works as a Resident Advisor, holds an internship at Cooke Wax Partnership (a start-up branding agency) and plays on the Men’s Volleyball team. Meijun is one of the most relaxed students I have ever met. When walking around campus, anyone can find him with a smile on his face as he chats with friends. When I asked how he remains so calm, Meijun said ”Working puts me in a position where I am forced to be disciplined and aware of my time. I have no choice but to be more organized and do less procrastinating. I am able to stay sane and manage my time by having weekly and daily to do lists as well as an entire wall dedicated to mapping out my classes and the tasks for each class. This keeps me organized and less stressed out.”


Interning at Cooke Wax Partnership is an invaluable experience for Meijun, whose eventual goal is to create his own advertising agency with a team of Pratt alumni. Meijun found his current internship through Pratt Pro, Pratt’s job and internship board. He was first attracted by the job description, and when he began to research the company, he felt that its small size and experienced staff could teach him how to achieve his goals. Cooke Wax Partnership didn’t disappoint. As an intern, Meijun has his hands in everything. Not only does he assist senior designers and production teams, but he is also asked to do research and concept development, deck creations, comping ideas and preparation of presentations. These responsibilities have given him experience that classroom teaching couldn’t provide. Meijun sees the first-hand production of videos and prints, as well as being involved in developing strategies for branding and talking to clients like IMAX.


Even with this awesome internship Meijun doesn’t dismiss his on-campus job or classes. Due to his position as a Resident Advisor, Meijun is aware of the constant activity going on at Pratt and he interacts with large groups of people on a regular basis. “I believe that in the art world everything is interrelated. Learning through experience, within my major or not, is always beneficial because it opens my mind and gives me a different perspective on whatever you take on whether in class or life.”


The courses he has taken over his four years here gave him knowledge and proficiency in software programs, a better design sense and the ability to come up with creative solutions -- all of which are necessary skills that he needed for success at his internship. When I asked what achievement he was the most proud of, it was no surprise that he answered “Being able to balance everything and graduate with highest honors.”


While many would find balancing two jobs, school and sports overwhelming, Meijun offered some simple but effective advice. “Time management, just do it. Less talking, less complaining and more work, time and effort.”


Check out Meijun’s work on his website. To find out more about successful Pratt students and alumni, as well as see what awesome events we have going on, follow the Career Ambassadors on Twitter (@PrattSuccess) and find us on Facebook (Pratt Success)!


Written by Bree Balsamo

Image Provided By: Meijun Cai