ModCloth Staffer Anna Loves Improv, Double Denim… and 1D

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Sure, you’ve seen snapshots of our employees on our blog and Instagram, but have you ever wondered what makes them tick? Today, we’re kicking off a new series focusing on the fab ModEmployees that make ModCloth the amazing place that it is.
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If you’ve ever read a ModCloth product description, clicked on an ad for our site, or pinned a Nail Klub post from this here blog, you’ve likely seen Copy Strategist Anna’s work. Based in our Pittsburgh office, Anna lends her talents to all the inspiring emails, newsletters, and advertisements for ModCloth that you see across the web. A Pittsburgh native, what isn’t immediately obvious about this talented writer and 1D fan is that she’s also a talented improv upstart in the Pittsburgh scene. Read on to learn more about Anna, and be sure to let us know who at ModCloth you’d like to meet next:

Tell us about what you do as a Copy Strategist here at ModCloth.
My job is all about solving little puzzles. For example, someone at work might come up to me and say, “We have a cool new campaign that’s coming up that’s all about such-and-such for summer, and there’s a big shipping promotion that will go along with it.” It’s my job to take all those big ideas and squeeze them into super small spaces: A campaign name, a Facebook ad, the subject line of an email. I love milking words for all they’re worth. When you find a way to effectively express a huge concept in, like, three little words — ugh, it’s just so satisfying.

Go back to day one on the job. What’s your first ModCloth memory?
It was a bit of a blur — I started at ModCloth on the Customer Care team, which at that time had, like, five people on it, so you had to be ready to come in and hit the ground running. My friend and fellow co-worker Sarah told me a good story, though: Apparently, when I first started, she and my pal Nicole were sizing me up — as you do with new folks on the job — anyway, one day I guess I came in wearing some serious jean on jean action, at which point they looked at each other and agreed, yep, this girl’s okay. For all of you at home — a denim tuxedo will never fail to make an impression.

Let’s talk about your desk accessories. What’s your favorite thing on your desk?
Somewhere beyond the stacks of discarded Post-Its and empty La Croix seltzer cans, I have a framed copy of the photo of Michael Scott and Ed Truck that Michael keeps on his desk in “The Office.” There’s also a bobblehead of Geno “I Am Score” Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins — it’s the one where he’s wearing a suit and holding all of his awards.

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Have you always been a writer? What was your career path like?
When I was in elementary school, I wrote a book called Around the World with Mrs. Tiggie-Wiggle about my stuffed animal mouse traveling to different countries. It was accompanied by carefully staged photos of her doing things like playing golf in Scotland and taking a boat ride past Niagara Falls (a.k.a. riding a Tupperware container across my bathtub). The work was printed and bound at Kinkos. Full color (#humblebrag).

So, yes, I’ve always been a fan of writing or, more specifically, being creative with words. I was an English major in college, and I feel like so many English majors feel limited in what their next steps can be. It’s always, like, “oh, so you’re going to teach?” or “oh, so you’re going to be a journalist/write a book/be a starving artist?” I attended a publishing intensive after college, did some internships at different periodicals (shout-out BUST Magazine!), and played around with starting a blog. But it wasn’t until I got to ModCloth that I really found my wheelhouse. After being in Care for about a year, a position opened up on the Merch Writing team – they’re the folks who create the names and stories for each product. I jumped at the opportunity and landed the job, which I held until just this spring, when I moved over to the Copy Strategy team. Long story short, I didn’t take a direct path to get where I am today — I never had a name for the job I wanted, like “Astronaut” or “Veterinarian.” But through all that exploration, I learned a ton about what I really wanted to do.

Any sage advice to pass along to aspiring writers-to-be?
I’ve done a few talks at colleges recently, and I think the thing that excites me most is the “eureka” look on kids’ faces when I make this point: Think about all the places you see written words in a given day — all the billboards, articles, websites, tweets, video game menus, etc. I guarantee you that 90% of those words were created by someone who was paid to create them. “Writing” doesn’t stop at books and poems and newspapers. The opportunities are endless if you’re creative enough to recognize them.

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When you’re not penning inspiring copy for ModCloth, where can we find you? We’ve heard rumors that you’re quite the comedienne.
Oh geez. Here we go. Okay, so when I was little, my uncle ran a “Comedy Sportz” club in Green Bay, Wisconsin. So over the summer, instead of going to sleep-away camp, I would go to Green Bay and do improv. I’ve kept up with it on and off over the past decade or so, and within the last year, it’s been very much on again. I’m part of two house teams at “Arcade Comedy Theater” in Pittsburgh, which means almost every weekend, I’m doing an improv show with some of the most delightful and talented people I’ve ever met.

Any stand-out or funny memories you care to share about your earlier experiences on stage?
One time my college team went to an Ohio-area improv competition. My team was from a super small school, and we were up against folks from much larger universities who took things way more seriously. Our set starts, and we did a few games per usual, but decided we should finish with a bang, so we played “Cats,” a game we had made up about a week earlier. “Cats” works like this: You get an audience volunteer, then you ask for a million suggestions — “Can I have the name of your favorite vacation spot?” “Can I have an article of clothing?” “Can I have a profession held by one of your family members?” — we make a real big deal of it, then we finally start the scene … and the scene is the audience member standing there while six grown adults wander around like cats on the stage for three full minutes. That’s it. We won the Spirit award.

We hear you’re a big One Direction fan, what’s your favorite song?
First of all, I see y’all out there rolling your eyes, shaking your heads and whatever. Listen, I’m a smart, intelligent young woman. I sang along at a Zombies concert. I loved the Tribe Called Quest movie. I’m seeing Morrissey this summer. I have taste. But hey. Sometimes you want a great glass of wine. Sometimes you want a Ho-Ho. 1D is my delicious Ho-Ho.

Now then. I will say that I don’t like “That’s What Makes You Beautiful,” because I think it discourages confidence. But “Kiss You” is the jam. It’s got that “na-na” part? You hear the na-nas, you’re going to sing the na-nas.

 

About Julie O.

A lover of all things vintage and vintage-inspired, Julie bought her first 1950s frock in the fifth grade. Since then, Julie has become a self-described connoisseur of vintage and thrift shopping, which she shares on her blog, Orchid Grey. When she’s not scouring the racks for the perfect vintage skirt, this native New Englander can be found deftly navigating the slopes of a ski mountain, taking road-trips to the beach, and exploring new places with a vintage camera in her hand.

2 Responses to ModCloth Staffer Anna Loves Improv, Double Denim… and 1D

  1. D'Arcy Fallon 04/19/2014 at 11:04 am #

    Anna Reilly is the bees’ knees. She has always been a force to be reckoned with, someone people would pay attention to because of her palpable energy, chutzpah, and odd (mod) humor. Was she always a clothes horse? Yes, if a clothes horse means someone who has her own sense of style and the confidence to pull of wearing anything, because she knows who she is. ModCloth is lucky to have in the indefatigable Ms. Reilly in its employ!

  2. Mod_Marne 04/21/2014 at 9:45 am #

    PS- Anna was definitely singing along to 1D (as well as Faith No More) during this shoot! :P Great interview, lovely!!

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