HOUSTON — Everybody has a dream job. It’s the thing that gnaws at the mind every day, but too often it never moves beyond being a dream. At only 19, Jordan Carter decided to change that.
Now 22, Carter finds herself with a business to call her own as a fashion entrepreneur. Showing off those accomplishments, she recently presented her third annual Millennial Merch Fashion Show to showcase some of her work.
“Back in 2017, I was going through a rough patch trying to figure out what I wanted to do, who I wanted to be, kind of like a rebranding moment,” Carter said. “I was just surviving and not living my life to the fullest.”
After taking a marketing job immediately after graduating from Brazoswood High School, Carter found her passion was in sales.
“I started working in a sales and marketing position for a home builder and I realized the sales and marketing knowledge that I gained, I was able to put it toward something that I loved, which was fashion,” Carter said.
Instead of taking more aesthetic roles, Carter wanted to be the heart of the business, not the model.
“I wanted to dive straight into full production, instead of modeling or designing,” Carter said. “I just wanted to fully produce because I know I have the knowledge to do so.”
That’s when the fashion show came into being. According to the show’s website, Carter organized the shows as a platform for millennial entrepreneurs from fashion, hairstyling, makeup and food to show off their work in a night of music, shopping and networking.
Carter now works alongside her friends who helped her achieve her dream, many of whom are from Brazoria County.
“I’ve known (Jordan) for probably 10 years, but we’ve become friends in the past six months,” said Maricela Phillips, an Angleton High School graduate.
Phillips did makeup for the fashion show but said she wasn’t in it for the paycheck.
“It really feels effortless, supporting her. It doesn’t feel like a hassle and I really enjoy it,” Phillips said. “I volunteered, I told her if she needs help, I’ll definitely help.”
Another makeup artist, Caitlin Manning, found the fashion show to be exciting as well as supportive.
“I really love it. It’s fun, it’s crazy, it’s always a different style of makeup, and everything is always really organized,” Manning said.
Carter said she has found support from all over South Texas, including from large designers and personal friends.
“I have a really amazing team now,” she said. “It took me a while to build my team, but I have some amazing people who care about this as much as I do. The first person would be my mother, the second person would be my significant other. I have friends and a lot of family. My family has their hand in it so much and it really means a lot to me.”
Model and friend Alyssa Toston attended Brazoswood High School with Carter, and their friendship continued beyond graduation.
“I’ve seen her in the best times in her life and the worst times in her life,” Toston said. “This is stuff we dream about doing. We’re really breaking barriers and doing things people said we couldn’t do.”
Toston said she enjoyed being able to see her friend’s dreams take off.
“My favorite part of the show is watching my best friend, all her thoughts come to life, everything has been accomplished,” Toston said. “Everything we worked for, everything we’ve been doing, that’s my favorite thing, just watching it happen, watching us execute everything, we’ve been waiting so long for this.”
Carter made it a priority to showcase all body types and skin tones as models for her show.
“A lot of castings require models to be 5-foot-10 and size 2, but I don’t do that because I want everyone in the crowd to see someone that looks like them,” Carter said.
The average size of a woman in America isn’t always represented in media, and that’s something Carter is aware of when putting these shows together.
“Let’s be realistic — everybody wears clothes, so why not have everyone represent their size,” Carter said. “It’s kind of unrealistic to me to have size 2 models because everyone’s not a size 2 but everybody wears clothes.”
Because she started from scratch, Carter knows her climb to the top was borne out of hard work rather than having everything handed to her.
“As people of color, we are held to a very high standard,” Carter said. “We have to try twice as hard oftentimes because we’ve been discredited. We’ve come from triumph, so we have to try twice as hard to get to the starting point that other people are at.”
Although there are many benefits to owning her own company, Carter found one benefit that outweighed the rest: the possibility of early retirement.
“I think that’s what I’m aiming for,” she said.