In Episode 22 of Career Memos, I chatted with Rashi Birla, the VP of Brand and Creative at Prose, an innovative hair and wellness brand where you can customize and create your own hair care formula. If you’re familiar with Prose, you know how truly awesome their branding is, so it’s such an honor to have brought Rashi onto the show.
Before Prose, Rashi was a talented designer who dabbled in prop styling and floral design before deciding to run her own small business for a couple of years. One of her first clients was Payal Kadakia, now the founder and chairman of ClassPass!
I loved how Rashi shared a behind the scenes look at what it means to be in a creative role in the fast-paced tech industry. Listen to Episode 22 now on The Career Memos Podcast available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and Stitcher.
In the early days of your career, sometimes you have to “fake it before you make it.”
Snagging a role for a prominent startup in the tech industry might feel really intimidating. We won’t always know what we’re doing. Tech culture is a “culture” and Rashi recalls moments where she didn’t always know what was being talked about. But if you have the drive and desire to be there, and you have the skill and talent to back it up, there should be no reason to feel intimidated.
In the early days, Rashi worked as a Junior Designer for Sapient, a large digital agency with a global presence. She worked on brands like Disney Cruise Lines, Dove Chocolate, and Benefit Cosmetics. Because they were so large, she had the opportunity to transfer to New York City and work for them even longer.
Eventually, she felt bored and knew she needed something new to reignite her passion for design. This led to prop styling, floral design, and freelance design for small businesses. This eventually led to an early opportunity designing the splash page for the founder of ClassPass!
An inside scoop on what a VP of Brand and Creative actually does.
Over two and a half years ago, Rashi started her journey at Prose as a Creative Director. At the time, Prose was only a team of 20-30 people and she was hired to oversee brand marketing and build out the creative team.
I was curious to learn what her new role as a VP of Brand and Creative entails, especially at a direct to consumer brand like Prose.
On the brand side, Rashi is constantly thinking about how Prose is being positioned in the marketplace. And this can mean everything from how Prose’s brand comes to life from a strategic perspective in terms of who they partner with, to how the digital experience feels and what their core values are.
On the creative side, tremendous resources are poured into marketing. They focus their energy on emails, paid advertising, events, packaging, you name it!
Rashi ended up hiring someone she worked with at ClassPass to lead Product Design at Prose, and it goes to show just how important your relationships are. Your career will be long and sometimes you’ll have an opportunity to work with the same person again. In Rashi’s case, she trusted this person’s work inherently, and wanted to recreate the same magic again.
Not everyone is going to love the work that you do.
Rashi recalls a profound story from her past where a Creative Director she was working with at Sapient mentioned that she wasn’t a good designer and he wanted her off his team. Soul crushing, right?
Those words really stuck with Rashi over the years and even caused some tears, but it hasn’t stopped her from finding her niche and discovering what she’s amazing at, which is creative leadership and really seeing a vision for a brand and how it all fits together.
If you find yourself in a similar position, it could be easy to let hurtful words stop you from moving forward in your career and pursuing your dreams, but Rashi didn’t let that happen. She didn’t tell herself, “Oh, I’m not a very good designer.” She knew she wasn’t the best designer in the world – there are others who are better at their craft than she is, but the bottom line is, you can still stay in the field you’re working in and focus on your strengths. Things don’t have to be so binary.
“Relationships have helped me get to where I am today, so I’m trying to pay it forward and do the same for other people.”