Growing up, Samaya would only see traditional jobs in teaching, medicine or nursing as the only options for a career. Holding the quote “do what you love and your job won’t feel like work” close to her heart, she decided to pursue her passion for fashion and dive deep into a new territory of creative careers.
Over her university days, Samaya not only learned a lot about the industry, networking or gaining work experience. But she also learned to embrace her identity and feel empowered in Fashion – where she wants to make a difference, no matter how small.
As she grows in her latest role as a Buyers Assistant, she doesn’t forget to bring her knowledge, commitment, and most importantly, her personality and smile to the job!
We caught up with Samaya to learn more about her work and journey to studying with Holmes Institute Fashion.
Tell us a bit about yourself!
My name is Samaya Kaddour, I am currently a Buyers Assistant for Kmart Australia! If you asked me 3 years ago where I saw myself it definitely would not be where I am now.
I always grew up only seeing traditional jobs like teaching, medicine, nursing etc as the only options for a career. Once I completed my VCE and was accepted to do a pathway into Teaching at another university, I remember sitting down and thinking this is NOT what I love and definitely not what I want to do for the rest of my life.
I remember being told “do what you love and your job won’t feel like work,” which made me think “what are my hobbies?” and the only thing I could think of was shopping.
What are my favourite movies? Clueless, Legally Blonde, Sex in the City, Confessions of a Shopaholic. As I see a pattern in my answers, I became kind of worried. How can I work in fashion? Are there any jobs I can get into? What do I need to work in the industry?
This led me to look into my passion for fashion and diving deep into new non-traditional careers. That’s when I found The Masters Institute of Creative Education. I came in for a one-on-one with one of the lecturers and really understood the different career paths each certificate or degree would open up for me. That’s when I knew the Bachelor of Fashion Business was the right one for me.
How did your role as an assistant buyer at Kmart come about?
The moment I submitted my last assessment for uni I started to apply for roles and put myself out there in the fashion industry. At the time, I was already working at Levi’s as a casual stylist / visual merchandiser and at Kmart as a day casual. But I wanted something where I can utilise my new skills and apply the knowledge I got from my degree.
I started off my job search within Levi’s but there were no job openings or promotion opportunities, so I started looking elsewhere. I did very well in my interviews when I applied at JD sports, H&M and Zara for Visual Merchandiser (VM) positions and at Target for a BA role. I made it to the end of each job interview and was offered VM positions for all 3 companies but unfortunately I was rejected from the BA role.
The fact that I got very upset over losing the BA role made me realise that VM is probably not the role for me. I knew I wouldn’t be happy in those positions and I continued believing that I would find something I really want. Thankfully, the companies were amazing and told me to reach out in case I change my mind.
Fast forward two months there was no progress, which was disheartening. I was emotionally and mentally exhausted. It was December and I was dealing with my fifth Christmas season as a retail assistant which I was not happy about. I remember thinking “why am I waiting and working two retail jobs when a BA position is what I want.”
I decided to give in my two weeks at Levi’s and continued working with one job. In my spare time, I’d be active on LinkedIn and Seek. I kept sharing posts about my journey, explaining why I left Levi’s and making it clear that I made the decision to focus my time on finding my dream job.
I turned on notifications for BA positions and that’s when I saw Kmart was actively recruiting. Taking my chances, I applied for the role through LinkedIn. I did consider asking for help through my managers but in the end I wanted to do it on my own.
The next day I received the call for my interview! and the rest was history 😍
What does an Assistant Buyer role entail?
It’s a lot of admin which is no surprise, learning about the role during uni helped me prepare for a job like this.
Although it’s a lot of admin it’s amazing to see the work that goes on behind a product. Communication between different departments and stakeholders is also a massive part of the role. This is my favourite part because you get to understand how departments intertwine together, and understand how to do your job to the best of your capabilities all while networking.
Something that surprised me is how every single role in the head office is appreciated and makes a massive difference. It’s nice to know you have had an impact on a product within a business or helped the process of it coming together.
One thing I’ve learnt from my previous and current jobs is to smile at everyone and make connections. You never know who you’re smiling at! I said Hi to the CEO of Kmart last week and introduced myself to his EA in the elevator without even realising.
Be you always, network and ask questions.
What are your favourite parts about the role?
My favourite part of the role is being behind the product. I’ve been on the selling floors as a retail assistant for almost six years. To be behind the product for once makes me happy.
I’m looking forward to hopefully making a change in the industry. As a Lebanese Muslim, I’ve always had a passion for diversity. To be in the industry now I’m looking forward to pushing diversity anyway I can.
Tell us about the experiences you get while studying!
Holmes Institute Fashion was just amazing. The experience you get by just being in a classroom with a lecturer who is currently in the industry is just WOW !!! Also hearing stories that have happened and how to deal with them made the learning process so much easier.
Not only are the lecturers the best, they provide us with special guest speakers who are in the industry. For example, Effie Kats! We got to speak to her and hear her fashion industry journey which was great.
In my first year before lockdown hit we were offered to work at Melbourne Fashion week or offered internships. The support you receive from T.M. in regards to experience, networking and learning in the industry in real time is just amazing.
What were the most valuable learning moments during your study at TM?
My most valuable learning moments were in the classroom. Writing on paper, taking notes and listening to my lecturer. Watching them talk and listening was engaging, educating and the best way I learnt.
My lecturer Tamara always said to write things down. I had a book in every classroom and jotted down everything. Thoughts, notes, ideas! I still do it now, especially in my new role. It not only helps you with day-to-day tasks but also shows that you are applying yourself fully into your role.
What are your ultimate career goals?
I dream about having my own business one day. But right now my career goals are to make a difference.
I want to be the person that introduces diversity for the minority. I want to unify cultures, religions, races, and genders. That’s my career goal. I don’t care how small of an impact I make, just as long as I’m making one.
Do you have any advice for anyone who aspires to study or work in Fashion Business?
Be yourself. One thing I learnt while studying and in fact the most important thing I learnt was to embrace who I am.
After 3 years at T.M. I proudly acknowledge myself, my culture and religion. I feel stronger in my identity and love how it was fashion that made me feel empowered. I guess that’s probably why my favourite movies are Legally Blonde and Confessions of a Shopaholic! 😉
Start your career in Fashion and take your first step with Holmes Institute Fashion!