I’ve said it before but my Women at Work interview series is one of my favourites… the interviews which feature real woman doing real work always inspire me, whether the women is someone well known or not I always find there is a gem or two from reading their story. The idea behind the series was to inspire and encourage women, young and old, to realise that there is the perfect career out there for them and that anyone can make it happen… I find it so interesting to read all about the paths these powerful women have taken to make their job work for them.
Today I’m thrilled to be sharing my online space with a true #PioneerbyNature, Jackie Burger. Formerly the editor of Elle magazine, Jackie is now the Salonnière and Editor-At-Large of Salon 58.
For a better idea of what Salon 58 is here is Jackie’s description in her own words…
The idea for Salon 58 was born during a visit to Mademoiselle Chanel’s Parisian salon at 31 Rue Cambon. As I sat on her beige sofa, I was enthralled by the beautifully curated space, simply appreciating the moment, and intuitively knew that I wanted to share this experience. In the spirit of France’s salonnières, Salon 58 therefore invites people on a journey of shared experiences in space, to be entertained and informed in an atmosphere of camaraderie.
Read on to find out more about Jackie Burger and the path she has taken to creating a life and career that she loves!
Please tell me a little bit about yourself and what you currently do?
I am a creative following my passions, being guided by a value system of authenticity and sustainability.
I am extremely blessed to be the owner and founder of my own business intiative, Salon 58, launched earlier this year. The concept of Salon 58 celebrates many values that I endorse, such as providing a platform for showcasing local talent and design that goes beyond fashion. It is a platform which encourages the true art of conversation – exchanging ideas and knowledge and embraces the principle of collaboration. It is an innovative sharing economy based on a value exchange of skills, creativity and partnerships. As Salonnière and Editor-At-Large of Salon 58, I wanted to create a value-based business idea that embraces principles of collaboration, creativity, community, conversation and nurturing, operating in the industry that I treasure and to share my wealth of experience and commitment to the industry.
When did you know this is what you wanted to do?
I have always embraced the cyclical and very necessary personal and business premise of reinvention which is very evident in my career path. Salon 58 is the culmination of my dreams, ambitions and years of experience and skills honed in the fashion retail and publishing industries. It was an idea that came to fruition recently after spending time with a business coach to articulate possibilities aligned to my vision and abilities.
What did you study – was it in this field or something different?
I studied at the University of Stellenbosch post matric and graduated with an Honours degree in Sociology. I followed my intuition and used my post-matric education as an opportunity to expand not only my knowledge but also a platform to grow my life experiences and cultivate the attitude of an eternal scholar. My qualification was a key to unlock my point of view and empower my future.
What was your first job in the industry, and what path has your career taken since?
It started with a position in fashion retail in my early twenties. In my PR capacity, I began cultivating business relationships with the media to use selected product in editorial content. I made it my business to understand each publication’s brand profile to pre-edit appropriate editorial samples. I also initiated special “working wardrobe” sessions with our customers to give them a more informative engagement with styling and fashion trends. I moved through the ranks and concluded my retail cycle as the brand manager in charge of all marketing and communication aspects of all the brands housed under the Foschini umbrella.
My next opportunity was in publishing, as a consulting fashion editor for Fairlady Magazine. Part of my role was to bring commerce to the fashion portfolio, which was achieved with the roll-out of seasonal fashion and beauty supplements; to create a differentiable fashion narrative for the reader by focusing on a balance between inspirational and functional fashion content; and to reinvent the (Fairlady) SA Fashion Awards, which was one of the most prestigious events at the time and a truly phenomenal platform recognising and rewarding established and new design talent in South Africa. Next followed the appointment as ELLE SA Fashion Director, and less than two years later the position as Editor which I held for just over seven years before staring my journey as Salonnière and Editor-At-Large of Salon 58.
What have been the highlights of Salon 58 thus far?
There are many obvious and tangible highlights, but what stands out for me is my own conviction about my business venture growing stronger every day and witnessing the manifestation of that self-belief yielding aligned and lateral business opportunities.
What’s the best part of your job?
Collaborating with fellow creatives who underwrite the very essence of a collaborative and sharing business practice.
What is the most challenging aspect of your work?
Cultivating a diffentiable business model and philosophy which operates from a place of authenticity and self-expression. We deploy values such as curation and/or editing, which challenge a point of view and require insight into the marketplace, the audience we cater to and the manner in which we choose to render content today. The latter is so much more than a written or visual message. It is a shared experience that tells a story and cultivates a trusted relationship.
What is your typical day, or maybe week if days are very different?
I have yet to experience anything “typical.” Every moment brings a new challenge, opportunity or obstacle to overcome. It is the cutting edge of runnning a venture that resides in an organic and fluid philosophy. It is exhilarating, overwhelming and exhausting, but it is also teaching me resillience, patience and most importantly when to say no!
What are the “secrets” to your success?
The best advice I’ve ever received is to pay attention to my intuition – it is the power of self-manifestation. Knowing one’s strengths and weaknesses; surrounding oneself with people you can truly trust; work hard and smart, and always remembering your dream all lead to success.
What do you do for fun in your down time?
I love nature, jazz and have a dedicated spiritual practice, which includes meditation, yoga and journal writing. There is not enough time to read my library of books and magazines. Nothing beats the simplicity of good tastes: Pinot Noir, artisanal breads, handcrafted dark chocolate and freshly picked Karoo figs. I collect vintage pieces, both clothing and décor items, and can get lost in expansive gardens.
What do you still want to achieve?
I try to focus on the now and to trust the process of my intuition guiding me to the next cycle. I do dream about publishing a book one day…just putting it out there!
WOW I hope you’re feeling inspired after reading this interview. I surely am!
If you would like to chat to this #PioneerbyNature you might like to pop over to Twitter on 13 October at 12:30pm to join the live chat with Jackie organised by @KiehlsSA.
And if you would like to be featured in this series or know someone who should be then please drop me an email!!
Contact Details for Jackie Burger