Working for Martha Stewart
Emily Slaughter ('05) is living her dream, working in New York City for Martha Stewart Living.
Her future is bright — but it didn't always look that way.
In May 2005, an internship stood between her and her merchandising degree from UNT. She'd finished her course work but couldn't walk the stage until she had some real-world work experience on her resume.
After months of reading the classified ads in an e-subscription to Furnishing News and Furniture Today, she saw that a bedding company on the East Coast was looking for a design assistant. When Slaughter inquired, the man who responded said his company didn't hire interns but he had a few contacts at Martha Stewart and Ralph Lauren who might.
"I was knocked off my feet," Slaughter says. "I never expected someone I didn't know to be so nice."
Someone had helped him get started so he was "paying it forward," Slaughter notes.
She landed that summer internship at Martha Stewart, working in product development for Stewart's Everyday Kmart line.
"I loved it!" Slaughter recalls. "The people I worked with were so amazing and so nice.
"They didn't treat me like an intern and say ‘Go get coffee.' They treated me like one of their own and included me in everything."
In August 2005, Slaughter got her degree from UNT. On Labor Day weekend, she moved to New York City — without a job.
She did have a few leads and a tiny $2,500-a-month apartment she shared with three other people. She only paid $550 because she didn't have a bedroom.
She slept "upstairs" in a makeshift loft that was too small to stand in. She pounded the pavement in search of work and wound up taking a $10-an-hour retail job just to make ends meet.
But she continued looking for something better. Her persistence paid off when she was hired as an editorial assistant for Martha Stewart Living magazine in January 2006.
Slaughter routinely worked 10- to 11-hour days, initially assisting three different editors. She did everything from getting props together for photo shoots to handling expense reports and scheduling.
In May, one of her editors, decorating guru Kevin Sharkey, got a promotion and claimed Slaughter as his own.
"I have had many assistants and Emily is by far the best," says Sharkey, who is senior vice president/decorating editorial director.
Slaughter's advice to graduating UNT students: "If there's something you really want and feel like it's in you, don't give up. No matter what life throws at you, there's always a way."
— Linda Stewart Bal