- In May, fashion designer and Alice + Olivia founder Stacey Bendet launched Creatively, a job and networking app for artists.
- Bendet launched the app because she felt that artists need a centralized platform to upload visual resumes and employers need an easier time finding creative talent.
- In an interview with Business Insider, she explains how she launched her business amid a pandemic and what makes Creatively stand apart from other job apps.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
There’s a new job service app in town.
Creatively is the brainchild of designer Stacey Bendet, who founded the women’s clothing brand Alice + Olivia. Though inspired by LinkedIn, Bendet’s aim is for the new app to serve the visual artists who are left out of LinkedIn’s traditionally corporate gaze.
Bendet developed Creatively after realizing that there wasn’t a collective job database, like LinkedIn, that allowed artists to upload their often-visual portfolios and resumes. This made it harder for employers to find and hire talent.
“The idea to build something like this has been in my head for a long time,” Bendet told Business Insider. “I felt like this was something that just didn’t exist in the world, but needed to.”
Creatively gives artists the opportunity to showcase their work, find jobs, and interact with other creatives like themselves. Photographers can be listed alongside architects, and videographers alongside fashion designers — multiple artists can now be tagged in projects that were created with more than one person.
It’s LinkedIn with a fine-arts degree, essentially.
“We want to be the professional network for all creative communities,” Bendet said.
“Right now, we have this rare opportunity to live and work from anywhere”
In early 2019, Bendet met with a group of app developers, many of whom were already working on a separate project for Alice + Olivia.
The group of developers initially had plans to open their own development firm, agreeing to take Creatively on as its first project. But eventually, as the Creatively project began to expand, Bendet hired the group to work in-house.
After creating the app, Bendet and her team began outreach, which she says at first happened by “word of mouth.” She also made sure to partner with some of the top schools for creative professionals, including the Academy of Art University, NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Parsons School of Design, and the Pratt Institute, so that students could upload their visual portfolios to the site before officially hitting the job market.
In light of COVID-19 and its disastrous impact on the job market, Bendet and her team “pivoted the whole concept” of Creatively’s launch to help students. “We were like ‘okay, there might not be job opportunities for them yet, but they can find freelance work.’ And we can bring awareness to the class of 2020,” she told Business Insider.
The platform then began outreach to other companies, hoping that one of them would end up hosting their job postings on the app so Creatively users could start applying for jobs. The official launch of the platform’s job servicing feature was on July 28, and Bendet says Creatively can already count HBO and Kim Kardashian’s SKIMS among the companies listing available positions for hire.
The original plan was to launch the platform in June, but then the pandemic hit and unemployment swept through the nation. Instead, Bendet launched the initial Creatively platform in May, so that artists could take advantage of what the platform had to offer in terms of networking and portfolio showcasing. Right now, Creatively is free for anyone — both companies and creatives — to use, but Bendet says she plans to eventually charge companies for posting on its platform.
And, Bendet says, even with many companies imposing a hiring freeze, many artists are used to working on a freelance basis, with plenty of companies still hiring for freelance work — which, aside from possibly opening the door to full-time employment in the future, is also a signifier of where the modern workforce is already headed.
“The modern millennial workforce isn’t like ‘Hey, I’m going to buy a house and live in one place for 30 years and work the same job for 20 of those 30 years,'” she said. “Technology has made us more mobile, and this is a new way of connecting people with opportunities. Right now we have this rare opportunity to live and work from anywhere.”
It wasn’t easy for Bendet to launch a company during a pandemic, but the relationship she developed with schools accelerated the opportunity to reach people.
This is why Creatively is actively seeking to expand its job catalog, in the hopes of raising more awareness about the job opportunities presented on the platform. It’s been good news so far, Bendet says, that people from all over the world have started to upload their visual resumes and interact with other creatives like themselves.
But LinkedIn has a two-decade lead, and Bendet knows Creatively still has a long way to go.
“What Etsy is to small goods, we will be to talent,” she said. “We’re not a platform for the famous Hollywood directors; we’re the platform for all the people who go into making that production around them.”
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