South By Sea holds a special place in my heart due to the amazing opportunities it has given me at a fairly young age. My journey with South By Sea started in the fall of 2013.
My first memory of South By Sea, formerly known as Shirts for Greeks, was right before my chapter’s Centennial celebration. As the t-shirt chair for my chapter, Phi Mu at the University of Missouri, I was looking into all of the Greek custom apparel companies out there to see where would be the best place to order merchandise for this very important and monumental event. During this process I was contacted by Carson Dreggors, our National Sales Manager, to be a campus manager for Shirts for Greeks. She was at a Phi Mu event and met a sister from my chapter and she had recommended me to Carson. I had never heard of this company and looked further into it. Carson was so enthusiastic, welcoming, and helpful, I just knew I had to give this company a shot. Even though being a campus manager for Shirts for Greeks at the time was not something I could take on as I was in the beginning of my Senior year, I decided to get some proofs going for our Centennial celebration. I never even considered ordering elsewhere after going through this ordering process with South By Sea. The proofs were flawless and I received them in less than 24 hours. The customer service was beyond any service I had received elsewhere. I started to think to myself “Why did I waste so much time and money working with those other Greek custom apparel companies out there?” Give South By Sea a chance and you will never want to work with anyone else; you will be hooked.
Winter break of my Senior year involved me working a temporary retail position and looking for something else to fill my time as I always like being busy. I had reached out to Carson again and told her my interest in being the campus manager for Mizzou, but she had sadly already filled the position. Instead of Carson saying “you missed your chance”, she extended the offer to me to represent a few Missouri Universities that did not have a campus rep present at the time. I took on the role of being the Saint Louis University, Northwest Missouri State, and Missouri State campus managers as I had a few friends that went to each school and didn’t think it would be hard to get business on those campuses. I took on the role for the rest of my college career, and my biggest memory of the campus manager position was shipping out dozens of Phi Mu baseball tees in my college apartment with the help of my roommates. And to think now we have our very own individual shipping facility!
Even though my role as a campus manager was only a semester long, I knew I wanted to be working for the company full time. The people I had worked with (shout out to my amazing account manager, Bianca!) and the company’s designs, turnaround time and service was something I wanted to be a bigger part of. I remember talking to my mom on my sorority’s mom’s weekend in May 2014 and telling her how there was a full time account manager position open in Edmonds, WA. She thought I was crazy and I didn’t apply since I had a full time position straight out of college.
Fast forward two months and the position had still not been fulfilled. This was my chance; I had to apply. I didn’t tell anyone I applied and I emailed my resume and cover letter to the company. I heard back pretty quickly, and I remember Victoria, our Director of Operations, saying “You do know this position would require you to relocate to Edmonds, WA, right?” I wanted to take this leap of faith and try something new. I had always lived in Missouri, I was in my early 20s fresh out of college, why not take on a new beginning like this. I Skype interviewed with a few members of the Shirts for Greeks team and then had a phone call with our owner, Eric. I found out I got the position a day before my 22nd birthday and had two weeks to pick up and move my entire life across the country! Pretty scary, but so exciting at the same time! I said my goodbyes to my family and friends back in St. Louis, MO and piled all of my belongings in my Honda Civic with my mom in the front seat besides m. We started the four day journey out to the Pacific Northwest. I had never even visited Seattle before and here I was moving my entire life there!
Long story short, I got situated in Seattle and absolutely loved my position as an account manager with Shirt for Greeks/South By Sea (we rebranded about 6 months after I started). It was so awesome getting to know all of my coworkers, who I now call close friends and my family away from home! I never thought I would be part of something so amazing and truly enjoy coming to work every single day. I don’t even realize hours have passed because I love what I do and it doesn’t even feel like work to me.
My favorite part about being an account manager was getting to work with so many college students so close in age to myself! Seeing the business from both sides is so important and really helped me excel in my position. I had been a customer and then I was helping the customer get the exact product they were wanting by the date they needed and within the budget they had to work with. I knew that going above and beyond with customer service would really set our company apart from the rest, and that is the main thing South By Sea prides ourselves on. We will do whatever it takes to build and maintain that relationship with our customers to keep them wanting to come back and do business with us for every single event they need apparel for!
Working with all of our campus managers was another highlight of being an account manager, which ultimately led me to the position I currently have, which is Director of Campus Relations. I was asked to take on this role in December 2015, and it has allowed me to work closer with our campus managers and the chapter reps that are on over 300 college campuses across the country. To see our team grow so much since I started in August 2014 has been so amazing. We have over 300 campus managers and over 1200 chapter reps on their teams. I help with the onboarding of the chapter reps, manage the Facebook pages we have for our managers and reps, help recruit and interview at new college campuses, and work alongside our sales team. I also help out with many other tasks around the office, whatever that may be. I love working on all sides of the business (except I am not a graphic designer!!!), and like being helpful wherever is needed. Every day is different at South By Sea and I enjoy tackling any challenge that is thrown my way. I really enjoy logistics, problem solving, sales, and training and mentoring new hires. My goal down the road is to recruit more campus managers to work full time with South By Sea after they graduate, so they can have just as amazing of an experience as I have had so far.
Another huge highlight of my job is working side by side (mostly through FaceTime) with the gal that introduced me to Shirts for Greeks to begin with, Carson!!! Never would I have thought that the person that reached out to me in the fall of 2013 would be my closest co-worker and “work wife” (even though we work 3,000 miles apart!) just shortly after. I owe it all to her!!! Maybe someday we will be able to work in person together!!!
Overall, I would never take back these past two years for anything and have no regrets at all with moving across the country to work for South By Sea!!! It has been such an experience so far and I cannot wait to see where we are as a company in one, two... five years from now!!! I hope to continue to grow alongside the company and get to work with more great people along the way!