in , ,

Dad Calls Out Wife For Not Hiring Designer Stepdaughter At Her Fashion Company Due To Skill Level

fashion design
seksan Mongkhonkhamsao/Getty Images

Nepotism and so-called nepo babies have been in the news a lot.

Especially when the poster children for nepotism—who’ve never held a job not handed to them by their parents for the last three generations—keep accusing everyone else of it on social media and mainstream news media.

Most people who don’t have a guaranteed job via birth aren’t big fans of this form of favoritism. If they needed to be qualified for their job, they think nepo babies should be too.

But what if a business owner says no to handing a family member a job they aren’t qualified for? Will they get support for their decision or criticism?

A woman turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback after her stepdaughter failed to measure up in her company’s application process.

Nervous_Cheesecake692 asked:

“AITA for refusing to help my step daughter with her fashion career despite owning a fashion company?”

The original poster (OP) explained:

“My stepdaughter Mia—she’s 23 now—and has been dreaming of working in the fashion world since she was young. I was married to her father when she was 15.”

“She took many courses to work on herself and I might say she’s good at picking fabrics and colors, however, she isn’t good at designing. She’s a good stylist… but not a good designer.”

“The problem with her designs. They are either very bland/been done before or so over the top they aren’t practical and can’t even be manufactured.”

“I started my business like 16 years ago.”

“It was very small and low budget, but I was lucky enough to expand it to where it is now. Still not the biggest company out there, but big enough in my region.”

“Part of my expansion plan was to hire other young designers, so my team and I are quite selective of who gets the job and who doesn’t because the designs are products we sell, so it has to be good and passed by the judgment board.”

“Which also means I’m not the sole judge who gets to choose while I most definitely can I prefer to hear what others have and decided with them.”

“My husband asked me to have Mia as a designer in my company. From the very start I knew Mia wasn’t a good designer, but I told my husband to have her apply for the job and submit her papers for me and the team to look at them and examine her skills.”

“I think he was kinda surprised I said ‘apply for it’ instead of an immediate ‘yes,’ but he still told Mia, who sent a thank you text for helping her.”

“I don’t know what exactly my husband told her so she would send a thank you text, but I replied saying that I’ll be waiting for her along with the judges to examine her work constructively and wished her luck.”

“I honestly don’t know to this day if my husband lied to her or if she sent such a text to guilt trip me. I have no clue.”

“Anyway, her day came and no one saw her stuff on par with our criteria, so she was sent an email that she wasn’t accepted. I have like 20 designers from 2K+ applications.”

“Let’s just say Hell got loose from here.”

“My husband told me how this is nonsense and unfair that I didn’t accept her. I told him I’m not the sole decider—I have a system in place full of judges, but he wanted me to bend the system for Mia.”

“Getting rejected shouldn’t be an embarrassment, and she has to learn that. It helps young designers build a vision for themselves, what companies want, and what is considered good.”

“If I did that, my credibility in front of my employees would sink, and I’d lose them eventually. Plus, if Mia got in, her fellow designers won’t respect her because she’d only get in for being my relative, not for her skills that are far behind her fellow designers.”

“I wanted her to get her shot. Everyone deserves a shot, especially since there are other judges, so maybe she does not impress me, but they like her and enlighten me that there is something about her that I’m not seeing.”

“I don’t tell someone who wants to apply for my company not to apply.”

“We don’t do interns. We only hire designers, and they come with their own teams. We also have sales and marketing departments, but that’s not what she wants to learn.”

“It is a huge risk for me ethically and financially to include Mia. My husband proceeded to tell me the list of courses and work Mia has done to achieve her dream.”

“I told him I understand, but she still hasn’t got the skills to meet our criteria. She could apply somewhere else and get accepted.”

“You’re part of the family in things that include family. My business is my business—it is not a family business. I made it and expanded it by myself.”

“My own child works as an assistant for a designer in a competitor’s company.”

“If they or Mia job-shadowed me, they would not be seeing fashion design. They would be seeing marketing and sales. That’s not their dream.”

“I do not believe in getting connections with a lack of skills. Plus she is not the one who reached out to me, my husband did it for her.”

“Did she ask for mentoring? Help? My opinion?”

“No, she asked for a job in my business by having her father talk to me—not even asking me herself. isn’t the correct thing to ask me for guidance before demanding a job?”

“She’s 23. She can talk to me if she wants to. But she sent her father.”

“Mia later sent me a long text of how I failed her and she doesn’t wanna see or hear of me anymore.”

“I think her receiving constructive criticism from the judges and getting rejected is enough sign she needs guidance, but she threw a tantrum.”

“I do not go for nepotism.”

“Her request was unreasonable. She wanted to get a job over better designers. She didn’t ask for help, she didn’t ask for mentoring, she asked to be given a job as a designer.”

The OP added:

“Update to answer frequent questions:”

“1-Can she be a stylist/assistant designer? Yes, if she applied she can, however, designers get to choose their staff and team, not me. So it is up to the designer to let go of their current stylist or not or add an extra stylist.”

“2-She didn’t reach out to me; her father did, so logically, I talked to her father, and when she went to me directly, I told her she would be examined constructively, so it didn’t skyrocket her expectations.”

“3-Can she be an intern or an amateur designer? No, because we only hire established designers (not students).”

“4-Which is the most important, Mia didn’t request help, didn’t request mentoring and didn’t request opinions—she requested a job at my business.”

“5-Since she wanted business I gave her just that. A very professional set up. I expected she’d fail, I wasn’t 100% sure as I already stated there are judges.”

“I believe that going through the process of professionalism, either getting accepted or rejected, is an experience and process everyone should have.”

“6-Yes, I can hire anyone and overstep all my judges. I choose not to because I abide my own standards and morals.”

“So while I technically can, bending my set of rules will mark my downfall and hurt my integrity in the industry and with myself.”

The OP summed up their situation. 

“I didn’t accept my stepdaughter Mia in my company. Being a fashion designer has been her dream for so long, and she wanted me to give her an opportunity.”

Redditors weighed in by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors decided the OP was not the a**hole (NTA).

“NTA. Your husband is delusional. Yes, Mia took courses, she’s put in work, but her designs aren’t a good fit for your company.”

“And how many people graduate from fashion institutes every year? How many of them get a job as a designer right out of the gate? Or ever?”

“It’s like designing Alfred Dunner-type clothing but trying to get a job designing for Ann Taylor. It’s not going to happen. Her designs might fit somewhere else, but not everyone will be interested.” ~ Electrical-Aioli6045

“NTA. Your husband needs to understand that just because she is your stepdaughter, it doesn’t mean she will be hired automatically. Good job for showing integrity to your team.” ~ Negative-Aide-8806

“NTA—your business, your rules. Some people are happy to hire family, but you have a standard, and she didn’t meet it.”

“She also sounds very entitled. Imagine expecting a job on the basis of knowing the owner, and upon those expectations not being met, lashing out. Sheesh.” ~ OneEyedMilkman87

“NTA. It’s okay that she isn’t a good fit with your company, maybe she will be a great fit with another one.”

“No one would ever flinch if we heard that Vera Bradley didn’t get accepted to work for Louis Vuitton. She has a completely separate esthetic and it works for her clientele.”

“Stepdaughter needs to learn her life skills. Dealing with rejection is one of them.” ~ Notwastingtimeiswear

“Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the fashion industry really cutthroat with rejections left and right around every corner when you submit something?”

“Getting rejected must definitely sting,  but it’s a lesson she needed if she’s serious about this field. NTA.” ~ lalapocalypse

“NTA. I went to fashion school and work for a luxury brand now, and I’d wager more than half the people in my graduating class either don’t have a steady job in the field or aren’t working in fashion at all.

“I went through some terrible jobs working for horrible people before I landed a decent one.”

“If this is how she reacts at the first rejection, she isn’t cut out for the fashion industry.” ~ maybenomaybe

Encouraging your child’s dreams is one thing.

Handing them opportunities they aren’t qualified for is another.

Written by Amelia Mavis Christnot

Amelia Christnot is an Oglala Lakota, Kanien'kehá:ka Haudenosaunee and Metís Navy brat who settled in the wilds of Northern Maine. A member of the Indigenous Journalists Association, she considers herself another proud Maineiac.