Jasmine Garnsworthy was working as a writer in Australia before embarking on her international business adventure.
Having grown up dreaming of living in New York City, she finally took the plunge in 2016 — and the move opened up a whole host of unexpected opportunities.
“The people are more open, enthusiastic, motivated, and engaged here than anywhere else in the world,” Jasmine said.
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“It’s this collective attitude that’s encouraged me to take professional risks and start my own company.”
That company is The Buff, an online skincare startup offering organic and customisable face and body oils, delivered to your door in a monogrammed bottle.
While Jasmine was determined to challenge herself, both personally and professionally, relocating to the US didn’t come easy.
“The process of applying for my first visa was quite expensive and very lengthy,” Jasmine explained.
“I used an immigration lawyer at Fragomen to compile my application and that involved a ton of paperwork and some preparation for my interview at the US consulate in Sydney.”
Once the visa finally came through, Jasmine and her partner travelled to New York and spent the first month establishing themselves in a new city. Jasmine continued working as an editor before setting the foundations of her startup.
“I was extremely lucky to move to New York with a job offer — don’t consider this the norm! It takes most people a few months on the ground to find paid work and then you must fly back to Australia for your visa application, which can take a few weeks the first time.
“The only way you’re going to survive it is if you have money saved and commit to living frugally during your first few months in the city.”
For Jasmine and her partner, those first few months involved setting up bank accounts, phone plans, and navigating the dubious world of Craigslist to find somewhere to live while they built credit history to sign a proper lease.
But nothing could prepare her for the real difficulty of the move — a New York winter!
“I moved at the beginning of December so was schooled pretty quickly in the virtues of a puffer coat and thermals!”
In terms of culture shocks, Jasmine also noticed some subtle differences in working life compared to Australia.
“In my experience employees in New York are expected to be constantly on the clock and available, but this attitude is pretty consistent across the global digital media industry so wasn’t a shock,” Jasmine said.
“However, I’m also seeing a push in NYC, particularly among startups, to compete for talent by offering flexibility at work while also investing in team-building and culture in a radical way that Australian companies just don’t seem to be doing yet.”
Ultimately, Jasmine’s move to New York taught her how small the world really is — and that anything, anywhere is possible with an open attitude to opportunities and a little advance planning.