Don’t Hide Your Hustle: Deanna, Associate Designer

Welcome to Don’t Hide Your Hustle, a new series on Finding Delight that explores the myriad of ways to make a living in 2017. I’m asking folks to share how they hustle over the course of one work-day (which usually extends far beyond a 9 – 5 situation).

Today, I present you with Deanna’s story. She is a super talented artist working in the fashion industry in New York City. Deanna is a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology and her first book illustrations were recently published in The International Fashionista’s Lookbook Diary. Let’s check out her hustle!

Hi! My name is Deanna and I’m a fashion designer and illustrator. I work full time as a designer for a brand in NYC. On weekends and during the evenings I work as an Illustrator and take on side projects and commissions. It’s not always easy but you’ve got to make time for the things you love. Follow along for a day in my life from early 2017…

6:00 am – My second alarm goes off and it’s game time. I rush to have breakfast and do the essentials. There isn’t time for much else. My lunch and bag are set from the night before.

7:15 am – I rush to the bus stop. There’s this great app that tells me how many minutes away from the stop my bus is. Somehow I am always just on the verge of missing it. I have to sprint 4 out of 5 days a week—not the most ideal thing to do with a full stomach of breakfast. I usually make it. I’ve honed my bus-chasing skills over the years. It’s a pretty long commute so I can catch a nap occasionally. Otherwise I answer emails and set up my illustration Instagram posts for the day. I’m also trying to grow my Pinterest so I send a few pins to a Facebook Pinterest group I’m a part of.

9:00 am – The work day starts. I check my emails and get started right away. I finish up some technical sketches and confirm details with the pattern-maker.

11:00 am – I’ve finished up all the technical work I had to do so I can finally get started on the fun stuff! We’re starting our SS18 line today and the creative director has left me a folder of images she wants to use for our inspiration board. The board takes up a good chunk of a whole wall!

12:00 pm – I’m still sorting the images and grouping them by trend category. There must be around 100 images cut out. Now it’s time to pin them up on the wall. I need a small stepladder to reach the top. As I’m ¾ of the way through with the images it becomes apparent that there’s no way I’m fitting them all on this board. I double back and try to condense things. I still haven’t gotten the knitwear up or any of the fabrics.

2:30 pm – Time for lunch. It’s freezing in NY so I eat my packed lunch in an indoor seating area around Bryant Park. I sift through my emails and set up my Instagram post. (I get most of my illustrations commissions through Instagram so it’s important for me to keep it updated.) Afterwards, I’ve still got enough time left to shop in Kinokuniya for a last minute birthday present. On my walk back I realize the Calvin Klein runway show location is on my block. Darn! I can’t see inside. They’ve got the windows covered. There are a few girls who look suspiciously like models standing outside smoking but the show isn’t for a few more days so who knows!

3:30 pm – Back inside. Instead of continuing with the inspiration wall I’m instructed to finish off a tech pack on the computer. I’ve already completed the sketch of the jacket so I work on the details. I add in the lining construction information, too. I don’t mind the change. It’s pretty quiet and I find it easy to concentrate.

5:00 pm – I’m getting hungry again. I have some carrots with me. Talk about breaking the silence. I look through WGSN and check out some of the runway shows on Vogue. I’m working on the Spring/Summer line but there are some amazing references in the Fall shows that are going on right now. I take notes and start to sketch some concepts roughly. I also take a moment to put my Instagram post through.

6:00 pm – It’s time to clock out but I hang around for 15 minutes to finish up and talk with a co-worker. Then it’s off to the bus stop. Passing through Times Square during rush hour is not fun. There’s a huge line for my bus but I manage to get a seat. I reply to Instagram comments, a few emails that came up, check Pinterest a bit and then fall asleep.

7:40 pm- The walk home is COLD. I call my mom to make it go faster.

7:50 pm- I’m home. Time to make dinner, a vegetable and chicken stir-fry (again), eat and shower. This part of the day always seems to go so fast.

9:00 pm – After I’ve been home a bit I boot up my laptop. There are a few bills to pay. Then I’ve got some art to finish off in Photoshop. I usually start my sketches by hand and then digitize them for a cleaner finish. Today I’m working on a fashion illustration for a friend. I recently finished up a big commission that took several weeks so I finally have a small break to do a personal piece.

11:00 pm – I watch a quick show with my husband and then start making my lunch and setting up my bag for tomorrow.

11:50 pm – I brush my teeth and finally make it to bed. I’ll hear the morning alarm again all too soon!

(Illustration by Deanna Kei.)

Thanks so much for sharing your hustle, Deanna! Do you guys have any questions for her? Do any of you work in the fashion industry, too?  

P.S. Are you a hustler willing to share your story? Let’s chat! I would love to know how you’re making money while following your dreams in 2017. Shoot me an email — Thanks!


12 thoughts on “Don’t Hide Your Hustle: Deanna, Associate Designer

  1. Oh wow. Her life in NYC seems super nice and inspiring but it has to be hard to do all that with only 6 hours of sleep. It’s good to chase your dreams but it’s also good to take some time for relaxing. Maybe she does that during weekends? 🙂

  2. Wow sounds like a busy, but productive day. So interesting to see how others spend their working day, my day is not quite like that (I work in admin), but the days still fly by.

  3. wow! hectic day! but i must say that your shced and my sched are pretty much the same, tightly packed but very productive. Though I dont start my day at 6… i start mine at 8! ahhahah!

  4. I love this series! I recently went to a job interview and was actually afraid to tell them about my side hustle – I feared they wouldn’t hire me with another real passion. She sounds like such a hard working lady!

  5. I loved this post! Your day of fashion and NYC public transportation sounds like a Devil Wears Prada scene. 🙂 How fun and inspiring to work on what you love.

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