Creative Directions

Penn State College of Communications alumni Jason Stuckey and Chris Petrick are living the dream as they find creative ways to boost online fashion retailer JustFab.

The Penn State College of Communications major in film-video provides students with a thorough understanding of all aspects of film and video processes. But when Class of 2007 alumni Jason Stuckey and Chris Petrick moved to Los Angeles after graduation, they never expected to find their niche in marketing and advertising. 

Jason Stuckey (left) and Chris Petrick of JustFab.

Penn State Alumni Jason Stuckey and Chris Petrick

Penn State College of Communications alumni Jason Stuckey and Chris Petrick graduated from the program in Film-Video in 2007. Now, they work in online fashion retailer JustFab's in-house advertising and marketing unit.

Image: Penn State

Stuckey is the head of production at JustFab, a billion-dollar premier fashion company. He oversees all in-house commercial productions and photo shoots and manages budgets. Petrick, the video creative director, directs and writes scripts for the commercials. 

Together, they power JustFab's in-house advertising and marketing department. "This is where we balance each other out. Chris drives excellent creativity, and I strive for excellent process," said Stuckey. 

To reduce operational costs, companies like JustFab have recently developed their own in-house advertising and marketing teams instead of outsourcing the jobs to advertising agencies. "It's also better because Chris and I have firsthand knowledge on the company and how it runs, so we are better equipped to produce commercials and advertisements that are in line with the company's image," said Stuckey.

"We're always shooting three to five commercials with 45 worldwide iterations at one time."—Chris Petrick

Their combined skills and talents have been a boon to JustFab, which in four years has grown to become the largest online subscription fashion retailer. The company has an estimated worth of $1 billion. 

With the company's meteoric growth comes greater workloads for Stuckey and Petrick. "It's a real challenge," said Petrick. "We have these big projects all the time. We're always shooting three to five commercials with 45 worldwide iterations at one time." 

Though both Stuckey and Petrick were Class of 2007 film-video majors in the College of Communications, they didn't know each other until the end of their junior year. After graduation they decided to move to Los Angeles to pursue careers in the film and video industry. 

"It's not always about the money, but about the best people who believe in what you and the company are doing."—Jason Stuckey

Although jobs with a fashion retailer may seem like a far cry from studio sets, Stuckey and Petrick enjoy their jobs. They joined JustFab as the web video bubble rose. "Web video at JustFab led to advertising, which I am also interested in. But at the end of it, I am still happy I get to use my creative side to make things," said Petrick.

Working at JustFab has been an empowering experience for the pair. While other companies professed to be experts in web video startup, JustFab allowed Petrick and Stuckey to explore various creative directions. 

"The previous companies I worked for never strayed away from rigidity. People came in and claimed to know all about web video. They didn't embrace change and then failed miserably. Whereas [JustFab's founders] didn't claim to know web video, left us to explore, and invested money in our ideas," said Stuckey. "They never quit on us, and we never quit on them. We worked together to push things forward, and that's where they got it right."

Their combined hard work, creativity, and determination has certainly paid off. Since its humble beginnings in 2010 with just five core employees, JustFab has grown to more than 1,000 employees. The company has 36 million members worldwide and brand offices all around the European Union. 

"Every week, a JustFab product ends up in a publication like People magazine," said Stuckey.

"[Success] is about recognizing opportunities and taking advantage of them. The rest will take care of itself."—Chris Petrick

As heads of their respective departments, Stuckey and Petrick supervise a number of employees, and they strive to give their employees the same creative freedom the company founders afforded to them. They also motivate staff members by focusing on what's truly important: the people themselves.

"I tell my staff, 'Don't worry about sales.' Instead we look at the goals and missions of what we're producing. It's not always about the money but about the best people who believe in what you and the company are doing," said Stuckey. 

Employees are constantly challenged to push their limits under Stuckey's and Petrick's leadership, and whenever the duo encounters a weak idea, they are not quick to shut it down. 

"What sold me [on the Penn State College of Communications] was how connected the students were with their professors and instructors."—Jason Stuckey

"I don't believe in doing that because our CEOs didn't do that," said Stuckey. Instead, they challenge their staff to polish and expand on their ideas. "It all comes down to giving your staff the freedom to be creative," said Petrick. 

Despite a shared major and career paths, Petrick's and Stuckey's decisions to attend Penn State were polar opposites.

Petrick hails from a Penn State family, and for him, there was no other option. "I always expected to go to Penn State, it was always in the cards for me," he said. He chose to study film-video because he had a strong interest in the subject and enjoyed exploring and making his own creative projects. 

Students do hands-on work for a film-video project.

College of Communications Film-Video Major

The Penn State College of Communications' Film-Video major helps students to develop a thorough understanding of all aspects of the film and video processes, including studio and on-location production. 

Image: Penn State

Stuckey came from North Carolina, and even though he found many great schools in his home state, he wanted nothing to do with them. "My family believed in higher education, but I was a pretty rebellious kid who didn't listen," said Stuckey. He made the decision to attend college and Penn State after a campus visit. 

"I came to the College of Communications on a whim. What sold me was how connected the students were with their professors and instructors. I saw students at the back of the presentation room waiting to catch a movie with their professor," said Stuckey. Penn State's alumni network also played a role in Stuckey's decision to enroll. 

Despite their accomplishments, neither has a definitive formula for success. They believe their success comes from working hard, having faith in themselves, and believing in what they set out to do. 

"It's about recognizing opportunities and taking advantage of them. The rest will take care of itself," said Petrick. At the heart of it all, they believe finding people they can trust is the most important thing. "We wouldn't be where we are if I wasn't working with Jason," said Petrick. 

About the Author, Joel Wee

Joel Wee is a Penn State College of Communications student pursuing a major in Print Journalism and working as an intern for the college's Office of External Relations.