Recently named to Forbes’s “30 Under 30 – Marketing & Advertising” list, Brandon Smithwrick received a bachelor’s degree in Fashion Merchandising from LIM in 2018. After starting his career with marketing roles at GREATS and Ralph Lauren, Brandon made the transition to the tech industry, and is currently Head of Content for the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter.  

Please briefly describe what you do as Head of Content for Kickstarter. 
I set the strategic vision for how content will support Kickstarter's goals. This content includes our blog, social media, web pages, partnerships, podcasts, and any other content ventures.  

How did your LIM education help prepare you for your career? Were there any particular courses that were especially valuable? 
LIM helped me to secure my very first internship, which ultimately led to my first job that lasted for four years and marked the beginning of my career. Although I majored in merchandising, I ended up working in marketing. However, I believe that my management class played a crucial role in shaping the way I think.

What internships did you do while you were at LIM?
During my time at LIM, I had the opportunity to work as a Buying Intern at Atrium for a period of 8 months. Atrium was the store that housed KITH, a brand that eventually gained so much recognition that it absorbed Atrium.

What did you like best about going to college in Manhattan? 
I didn't feel "sheltered" as a college student; I felt the New York hustle 24/7. At one time, I was a full-time online student, interning full-time, and working a retail job while commuting back and forth daily from New Jersey, and it shaped my work ethic. Looking back, I can’t say I’d recommend someone else do all that, but I truly loved being in Manhattan.  

You were involved in LIM’s BRAG (Black Retail Action Group) chapter. How was it beneficial for your education and career? 
BRAG was great because oftentimes at LIM, we’d go from class to class and then to our internships, so there wasn’t that much time to network or connect with one another. I'm still connected to some BRAG members to this day and it's great that it gives you the ability to enter the industry with a community.  

How did you make the transition from studying Fashion Merchandising and working for a fashion company to doing content marketing for a tech platform? What are some of the transferable skills?
I think being in marketing, social media specifically, versus merchandising made the transition into tech a bit easier. At Ralph Lauren, I did Social Media Strategy for Polo, and it taught me a huge amount of knowledge that Squarespace admired. In fashion, we think about editorial very similarly to the tech industry, and I was able to present my ideas in an editorialized way, which helped me immensely. My transferable skills for my career path include strategy development, campaign experience, social media management, and leadership. However, I found it challenging to go from marketing a product to marketing a service, and there was a learning curve.  

What advice would you give to someone who’s thinking about pursuing a career in content marketing? 
A good place to start is with social media marketing or email marketing. These two areas are always in demand and offer a good starting point for beginners. As you gain experience in social media or email marketing, you can then explore other aspects of content marketing, such as content creation, SEO, and analytics. These areas will help you take on more responsibilities and advance your career in the field.