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”.

ruiseeaux logofb_img_1469500990993

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: 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!

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.
Photo Credit: http://c1777572.r72.cf0.rackcdn.com/fashion-merchandising425.jpg

Job Fair Jump Start

March 2014 Job Fair copyLast month, Wade College welcomed to the fall 2014 trimester a large, new group of first term students, as well as our continuing students. Wade College students quickly grow accustomed to a wide variety of industry opportunities at Wade College, beginning in their very first trimester. These opportunities range from one-day volunteer opportunities at industry events to short-term and long-term internships and paid work opportunities, to permanent placement in career-related, full-time positions with notable DFW-area companies.

The start of a trimester can bring students anxiety from trying to find a job, whether it’s to help pay for school or to gain the necessary work experience to ready a resume for a full-time career in fashion, interior or graphic design. Career Services at Wade College gave students a jump-start with their job search by bringing employers on-campus through our fall 2014 job fair. Employers and their representatives included Terry Costa, Dillard’s, Michael Kors, LOFT, The Army & Airforce Exchange, The Limited, Sunglass Hut, and ZURI Furniture. Job opportunities presented included part-time jobs, full-time jobs, and internships. Students from all levels and concentrations attended, dressed for success, with polished resumes in-hand. They had the opportunity to network with employers and learn about job opportunities that they each offered. Employers were impressed with the preparedness and professionalism of our students, each making a good first impression. Many students received scheduled interviews and, to top it all, several of them landed the JOB shortly after!

Job fairs are a one-stop shop. They are part of the job search resources offered by the Career Services department for Wade College students to meet one-on-one with employers at one time and at a convenient location on-campus. All in all, it was a success, especially when students become employed in positions that not only help pay their bills, but also enable them to gain industry experience while pursuing their studies! We are fortunate to have such a stellar Career Services department with tremendous industry connections at Wade College!

Thoughts From A Former Fashion Institute of Technology Professor

Wade College students at Dallas Market Center meeting
Wade College students at Dallas Market Center meeting

I taught at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York for six years and in that time I came to discover how important an institution’s connection is with its professional industries. I taught graduating seniors who were completing internships at high profile companies like Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren or Calvin Klein. While these students were fortunate to have these opportunities, there were many students, typical of large institutions, who are left without career services opportunities. When I was recruited by Wade College , a small, private merchandising and design institution in Dallas, TX, I immediately connected with its similar philosophy of remaining connected to the institution’s industries and employment opportunities. The difference, however, is in Wade College’s size. What’s incredible is the number of job opportunities that come from the adjacent Dallas Market Center and the Design District, across the street. Unlike the Fashion Institute of Technology and similar institutions where enrollment spirals into the thousands, a boutique institution like Wade College can really service every one of its students with meaningful industry experience that often leads to gainful employment. As a native New Yorker, I did not realize, before relocating, how sizable the fashion and interior design industries are in Dallas. The Dallas Market Center is the largest collection of wholesale showrooms in the world. The Design District is among the largest collections of interior design wholesale resources in the country.  And Wade College, among the oldest creative institutions in Dallas, is literally in the middle of it all. You can’t imagine how exciting it is to be a part of this kind of demand! I take great pride in seeing my students – all of my students – engage in every fashion, interior and graphic design opportunity that comes our way.