University of Puget Sound - English, Rhetoric and Culture
Regis University, Colorado - Master’s Degree in Education With an Emphasis on Classroom Design
When Anna Bugge first heard of styling, her reaction was, “I can’t believe this is a job.” You might feel the same way when you read about Anna’s work.
A wardrobe and prop stylist, Anna helps companies develop their concept and brand during a photo shoot. She researches trends, searches for the perfect props and plans the clothing, accessories and general “look” of each model for the shoot. Then, she travels to the shoot site to make sure the garments are photo-ready and arranges them on the model as the photographs get taken. The job, she says, is a combination of high style taste, organization and listening to client’s needs. Anna works for brand giants like Chevrolet, as well as several major outdoor brands like Smartwool, Marmot, Cabela’s, Sorel, Outside Magazine and more.
When she’s not working, Anna enjoys life in the mountains of Colorado with her soon-to-be husband and dog. She loves travel and the simplicity of combing through magazines with a giant cup of coffee on weekend mornings. Check out her style blog and website for some serious eye candy!
At the end of the day, you are there to make the client happy.
How did you discover your current job?
Living in NYC post-college, I discovered the world of styling when I met Michelle Rotman, an amazing product stylist for clients such as Oprah magazine. At first I thought, I can't believe this is a job. My own road to styling has been quite organic. After receiving my master’s degree, I was totally prepared to start a career in teaching, believing that being a stylist was more of a dream. But then with my experience assisting, clients started to call, and eventually I decided to just go for it full time.
What is your typical day like? What types of things do you do in your job?
No day is too typical in my world. My day can include anything from pre-shopping a job by researching trends on the Internet to combing through thrift shops for the perfect worn-in tees or lugging wardrobe totes around exotic locations. My job also involves an amazing amount of organization. When I am traveling for photo shoots, I pack for up to seven talent with MANY options for each person. I find that the most successful stylists not only have a high taste level, but they listen very closely to their clients needs and retain organization throughout the entire project.
What is the most rewarding part of your job? The most challenging?
The most rewarding part of my job is when my clients are happy, and getting to that point can sometimes be the most challenging part of my job. Basically, as a stylist, I am there to make everyone look great and bring across the client's message through wardrobe and props.
It also is wonderful to have the sense of freedom and accomplishment that owning my own business brings, but it can also be very challenging as there is no one to look to but yourself for the big decisions!
What is the biggest personal sacrifice you have to make because of your job?
The amount of travel can sometimes be a bit taxing, but I love taking in new places.
What is one lesson you've learned in your job that sticks with you?
Not to have too much of an ego and to believe in yourself and in your abilities. But at the end of the day, you are there to make the client happy. So, even if you like the green T-shirt, if they are in love with the blue, just go with it. That being said, you have to put your stamp on it, so it also is about presenting cohesive wardrobe concepts in a way the client will understand and ideally appreciate -- after all that is why you are there!
What do you feel is the biggest challenge for women today, particularly females in your industry?
Balancing it all. I am not at the family stage yet in my life, but work is such a large part of my every day, I can only imagine how hard it would be to balance a family on top of it. That being said, I know there are challenges, but I am constantly inspired by the women around me and what they achieve both personally and professionally. I tend to focus on the possibilities rather than the challenges.
Who are your role models?
In life, my mother is my role model. She is a hard working, intellectual, amazing woman who I respect immensely. In fashion, Sarah Jessica Parker for her quirky look and staying relevant for so long. Kate Hudson for her bohemian momma feel. Diane von Furstenberg for rebuilding her empire to something better than ever. And anyone who dares to try new things -- after all, that's how trends start.
What are some of the rules you live by?
Always start from a place of trust and positive energy in your personal and business relationships.
What advice do you have for women who want to be in your industry?
Don't be scared of assisting and getting your feet wet. If you have what it takes, you will move up fast.
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
I would love to create my own accessories line that incorporates my love of travel and cultures from around the world, while also supporting the cultures I respect and admire so much. I have not decided exactly what this will look like yet -- if it will be totes, bedding, fashion pieces or something else -- but I am fairly certain it will appear, because my mind and energy keep going back to it.
-Interview by Keriann Strickland