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!


Spotlight on Employer: Fossil Group, Inc.

The iconic watch tins. The diverse portfolio of globally-recognized brands. Numerous stores worldwide, wholesale locations, and a robust e-commerce business. These are things that make Fossil Group, Inc. a highly-sought out company to work for. Headquartered locally in Richardson, Texas, this global organization is home to design and distribution of fashion lifestyle and accessory products. Fossil Group, Inc. encompasses the American vintage Fossil brand, Portfolio brands such as Burberry, Diesel, Michael Kors, and Tory Burch, as well as contemporary lifestyle brand Skagen.

More than a dozen of Wade College Merchandising & Design Alumni are contributing their skillset to the growth of Fossil Group Inc. They are gaining exciting industry experiences within various departments of Digital Imaging, Portfolio Product Development, Materials Development, Store & Environmental Design, Fossil Jewelry, Fossil Men’s Leather, and Fossil Women’s Leather. The combination of their Merchandising & Design degrees, positive attitude, professional demeanor, and willingness to embrace opportunities to learn and do new things are some of the skills and traits that many Employers like Fossil Group, Inc. desire.

Wade College Alumni at work

Wade College Grads at Work!

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!

Fashion Merchandising

Fashion Merchandising
Fashion Merchandising

Being a fashion merchandiser — isn’t that the ‘job’ that makes apparel look pretty on the mannequins in retail? Today, a merchandiser must be well versed in their own business’ protocol as well their competitors. A career in merchandising involves a concrete knowledge of the manufacturing process, and how to buy, promote, and ultimately sell fashion goods / services. Additionally, a fashion merchandiser knows great details about the textiles process, from fiber type to fabrication techniques best for any particular fabric.

The necessary skill sets required for such a rewarding, fast paced career as a fashion merchandiser may be achieved by understanding trend forecasting, having an acute analytical ability, and being able to effectively communicate. While more scientific than fortune telling, fashion merchandising jobs do have a forecasting element. In order to improve your accuracy, you’ll need a thorough knowledge of past fashion trends and an awareness of current industry developments. A good sense of style obviously helps you; however, you must also determine how things fit into a budget and whether they meet the functional needs of consumers. Other criteria may also influence your fashion merchandising decisions, so you will need to be able to analyze a complex set of issues and stand behind your choices. From negotiating with manufacturers to getting your marketing message out to customers, there is ample opportunity to exercise your powers of communication in the fashion merchandising field (Description of Fashion, n.d.).

Source: Description of Fashion Merchandising Jobs. (n.d.). All Art Schools.
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