ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT: Blake Burnett (Merchandise Marketing)

blake-burnettBorn and raised in North Texas, Blake Burnett graduated from Wade College in 2015 with his degree concentration in Merchandise Marketing. “Attending Wade taught me everything I would need to know and more. I have applied what I have learned in many situations in my career.” Today, you’ll find him handling procurement for the Store Brand Environmental Design & Construction team at Fossil Group, Inc.

With the company being home to design and distribution of fashion lifestyle and accessory products, including a diverse portfolio of internationally-recognized brands, it’s no wonder why Burnett enjoys Fossil’s culture.  “Even though my work load can be quite taxing, the work environment and culture is laidback and makes each workday much more pleasant. I am constantly staying organized by creating a daily list of tasks and priorities to accomplish.” Burnett assists Project Management and Real Estate teams to complete the project closeout process. He regularly communicates with suppliers, as well as internal and external construction partners to ensure dates and deadlines for all store related projects. In addition, Burnett works with Procurement, Finance and external partners to track accurate project spends. “I also attend roughly 6-8 meetings in a week and balance my work schedule accordingly to insure the best time management.”

What advice do you have for students/graduates beginning their careers in your profession?

Don’t be discouraged when you don’t get the job the first time. I failed several times before I achieved my goals. To be successful, you must be persistent. This is something that can’t be taught. It is something you must do all on your own.

What opportunities, decisions, and events have shaped your professional life?

I was originally hired as a Temp for Fossil Group, Inc., so as for opportunities, this would be a good type of position to start in.  I made sure to prove my worth and was consistent in my work ethic and commitments. My decision to constantly show value is why I am still here at Fossil. Since I have dyslexia, I have always been thought of as someone with a learning disability. I was told it would be harder for me to succeed academically and professionally (which it was). That gave me the extra push to prove that I can do whatever I put my mind to, and my “learning disability” wasn’t going to hold me back.

What accomplishments are you most proud of?

I am most proud of being able to provide a safe and secure life for my son because of where I am now. Also, being thrown in the lion’s den from the start and coming out on top. I was able to accomplish what I have today regardless of my dyslexia.

Motto that you live by:

Slow down before you speed up. Stay educated. Know your stuff. Always stay on your game and continue to educate yourself because you never stop learning.

Anything else you’d like to share? 

Wade College was a great stepping stone for me. Attending Wade really gave me the insight and direction to be where I am today. So, thanks!!

ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT: Tommy Brooks III (AA-FD ’14) Designs His Career Path To Success

TBrooksIII2016-05-23-11-54-14Tommy L. Brooks III, AA-Fashion Design ’14, initially interned with Dallas-based fashion designers such as Abi Ferrin to gain his footing in the industry. Working with Abi Ferrin helped shape his professional life. “Seeing the business side of the clothing line helped me to gain an understanding in trying to start my own line.”

Today, Brooks is the Quality Control / Lead for Dallas designer Tish Cox and her high-end fashion line. “I inspect the quality of garments for the TISH COX brand, knowing fabric science, pressing, and steaming. He is also as the Assistant Designer for Dallas Lighthouse Sportswear division. “I design concepts for Dallas Lighthouse Sportswear, along with sewing, measuring specs for garments, and training.”

Describe a typical work day:

After determining which deadline dates are priority, I provide the seamstresses with the work needed for the day. As they are working, I check for quality, time, and OSHA Compliance. If there are mishaps with fabric or machines, I communicate with the Manager and employees, and receive an acceptable plan of action.

What do you enjoy most about your career?

 Handling the various fabrics, and hustle and bustle of it all.

How did education at Wade College help prepare you for your career?

Fabric Science or Textiles is EXTREMELY helpful. You must know what fabric you are dealing with and what it can do.

What advice do you have for students/graduates beginning their careers in your profession?

 Always be courteous and on-time. A strong, dependable work ethic is key! Be confident in the education you receive from Wade College. It is very beneficial.

What accomplishments are you most proud of?

I started my own company / brand by the name of Ruisseaux. As of February 2016, I am officially the CEO of Ruisseaux Apparel Inc. I had a small debut line July of 2016.

Motto that you live by:

Do not attach your name to just anything.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Keep your word. Let your “yes” be “yes” and your “no” be “no”.

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Alumni Spotlight: Dee Skinner, Fashion Design

Dee SkinnerMeet Dee, Wade College Fashion Design Alumni and Designer/Merchandise Coordinator at Treska, Inc. headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas.

 Describe a typical work day:

It is never the same which I absolutely love about my job. Every day is different such as designing prints and textiles for our jewelry, creating mood and trend boards for our collections, grading patterns, creating silhouettes for our jewelry, designing jewelry i.e. (picking out beads, cording, dying beads and cording, different wrapping and weaving techniques). Also, I style, shoot, and edit our merchandise images for our website and manage our social media accounts. I work all the Market Shows, too. During my first week working at Treska, I sat in a meeting pitching my designs and artwork to the Head Buyer at a major corporation. It was mind blowing! I work closely with everyone and all departments from the CEO, CFO, sales, production, design, and warehouse. I’m a “Jill of All Trades” and work is never boring.

 What do you enjoy most about your career?

The thing I enjoy most about my job is that I’m not confined to just one role/responsibility. I’m not boxed in and I get to truly be creative with each role. I also enjoy the fact that I’m a part of the entire production cycle “from concept to market to consumer.”     

 How did your education at Wade College help prepare you for your career?

My education at Wade helped me to prepare for my career in many ways such as course related curricular, volunteer opportunities which paved the way for more opportunities, and interview preparation.

What advice do you have for students/graduates beginning their careers in your profession?

Never give up! Landing your “dream job” in the industry is a hard task as you are competing against several other qualified candidates, but perseverance is key.

What opportunities, decisions, and events have shaped your professional life? 

While attending Wade, I volunteered for EVERYTHING. I saw each volunteer opportunity as an experience, a potential “job interview”, a learning experience, and an opportunity to build my resume.

What accomplishments are you most proud of?

Landing my dream job. All the blood, sweat, tears, and late nights made it all worth it in the end. I know this is just the beginning and I am very optimistic for the bright future ahead of me.

Motto that you live by:

Keep praying. Keep planning. Keep pushing.

Always dream big and work hard for them to become your reality because one day they will!

 

Alumni Spotlight: Isi Gonzalez, Graphic Design

Wade College Alumni, Graphic Design 2013Meet Isi, Wade College Graphic Design Alumni who works with Digital Imaging for Fossil Group headquartered in Richardson, Texas.

Describe a typical work day:

I coordinate photo studio activities all throughout the process for brands such as Fossil, Burberry, Tory Burch, Michael Kors, Armani, DKNY, Diesel, Adidas, Skagen. I create and update visual guides, handle imagery quality control to be the final source of imagery for the company worldwide, production, and retouching support for the team. I maintain close contact with all brands that Fossil Group serves. Also, I have worked on really exciting projects and launches such as the most recent Tory Burch watch launch where I had the chance to see her literally 10 feet away from me!

Why did you choose Wade College?

Wade was the best option as far as the professors’ teaching methods, how well connected the school is to the industry, infinite intern and volunteer opportunities, support from professors and peers to continue working towards your degree, and best of all, the incredible support to be ready for the real world!

How did education at Wade College help prepare you for your career?

From the smallest thing such as be in class on time, to how to carry yourself and be yourself at the same time, the concentration towards building a portfolio, and the support to start in the industry with volunteering, Wade helped me jump start my career.

What advice do you have for students beginning their careers in your profession?

Educate yourself. You’re already in school, but that it’s not enough. Get involved in local industry associations such as DSVC, go to seminars, conferences, volunteer, and enter design contests. Explore your creativity in and out of the classroom. Try and fail, but keep trying. Explore every single branch of your industry before committing to one.

What accomplishments are you most proud of?

In general, being where I am with a Bachelor’s in marketing, an Associate’s in graphic design, working on my Master’s, working for Fossil, freelancing, and being part of this awesome industry!

Quote that you live by:

There is so many!!! In general, “My life is constantly under construction, there is always something to improve.” But one of the ones that drive me everyday is: “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when know better, do better” by Maya Angelou and “When you feel like quitting, think about why you started.”

Alumni Spotlight: Billy Crawford, BA-Merchandise Management

Billy CrawfordBilly Crawford, 2013 BA-Merchandise Management Alumni and Merchandise Assistant of Pier 1 Imports Inc. headquartered in Fort Worth, TX, shares his experiences as a student at Wade College and about his career in the industry.

What are your primary responsibilities as a Merchandise Assistant?
I create SKUs, processing all purchase orders to vendors, executing all purchase order changes including cost, payment terms, ship dates, ship ports, cancellations, and consolidations. I initiate all new order forms and applying all tax codes and applicable surcharges. I assist Buyers with samples including product validation for e-commerce and gathering competitive market research on other retailers

Describe a typical work day.
A typical day at the office can vary. Many days will involve writing new order forms for new product that has been decided to purchase. Re-buys also come through daily on SKUs that we carry year-round or on their low inventory. I assist 3 Buyers, 2 Merchandise Planners, and 2 Allocation Analysts over 5 different departments including rugs, bedding, throws, window treatments, and shower linens. One day may include a compliance meeting about flammability reports for bedding versus the next day we have a meeting on areas of opportunity for a solid program for outdoor rugs. There is daily involvement and communication with overseas vendors about purchase orders or characteristics about products.

What do you enjoy most about your career?
The thing that I enjoy most about my career thus far is the constant involvement with different types of work in the office. I work many different people and departments. I have worked with legal, product compliance, buying, planning and allocations, and marketing/e-commerce. It has showed me all the different occupations that really exist out there and helps you narrow down what really interests you.

Why did you choose Wade College?
I chose Wade College because of the smaller campus size and the prime location in the Dallas Design District. Also, I was intrigued by how industry professionals taught many of the courses.

How did education at Wade College help prepare you for your career?
Wade College significantly helped prepared me for my career by offering courses that relate to my current occupation. Many things that were learned in these courses are brought to the workplace! Do not study just to make a letter grade, study to remember! There is also a correlation between what I was taught in the classroom and with my current job role. Many of the tasks that I complete daily were discussed in multiple courses. I understand the merchandising jargon versus someone coming in with an accounting or business degree. Wade College helped prepare me for this industry!

What advice do you have for students and recent graduates beginning their careers in your profession?
The most precious advice that I can give involves what employers are looking for. Many students, (myself at the time) focus to make straight A’s and fail to realize that is only part of the “game.” Many employers are looking for candidates that are well-rounded. They want individuals that have experience, have stories to share, have accomplishments outside of the classroom. You might be the smartest student but that doesn’t make you the sharpest crayon in the box. Last but not least, you have to network! It is crucial in order to survive in these areas of concentration.

What accomplishments are you most proud of?
My proudest accomplishment is acquiring a corporate level position in merchandising within 6 months of earning my Bachelor of Arts degree.

Who inspires you in your career?
My co-workers are definitely my inspiration. They have taught me not only to work hard, but how to be a better person and how to be optimistic in every situation. I definitely follow their leadership and I’m constantly intrigued by their perseverance.

Wade College is very proud of you, Billy Crawford!