Tip of the Day- the right classes to take for a successful future

November 30, 2011

One question I often get asked by students is..what are the best classes to take while still in school? Whether you want to be a designer, buyer, visual merchandiser, owner of a brand, etc. there are some basic steps in order to prepare for a future in the fashion industry :)

While I was at the University of Wisconsin I triple majored in Design/Merchandising/Business. I've always known I wanted to be a designer but I also knew that I couldn't just take sewing courses to get me on the right career path (lesson learned from Dj Norma my entrepreneurial smart mom...Yes I named her after one of my favorite designers Norma Kamali when I was 10 years old).

I learned the importance of business my freshman year when I took a small business entrepreneurship class and a great public speaking class. In the small business class we were put into teams and we focused on marketing and on the P&L of a golf club. It was not about fashion or fashion products but it was about a family business and how to analyze the profits and losses and the essential components that make it a "niche" business. It was a challenging project as we had to come up with different ways to market a family business- this specific business had a model but did not know how to incorporate a market for more members and was relying on existing members. I always had an "out of the box" brain but this put me to the test indeed.

As for my fear of public speaking, I think it started in high school. In college I was required to take this class for my business certificate. It was a great class to learn some helpful techniques to keep me from fainting ;) But I believe I finally conquered the fear as mentioned in an earlier post when I spoke for 2,000 people this year at Fashion140 you can see my past post here

Now it's time to take some notes!
1. Go outside of your comfort zone and take classes that challenge the other side of your brain. Even if you are a designer at heart, business classes are key.
2.Learn from your mistakes. Remember that mistakes are the key to success and trial and error gets you to the end result.
3. Extra cirricular activies are important! I was a photographer for the Badger Herald and worked in specialty stores throughout college on campus and in my summers. I also took guitar lessons and wish I still did (hope to again in 2012!)

4. Internships- It is so important to learn from the field of your interest. I believe in internships 100%. My senior year of college I spoke about how to obtain an internship to 300 students in my major. I wish I had those notes. But, what I remember saying to the classroom is that PERSISTENCE is key. I worked throughout my college years for incredible people industry leaders like; Elsa Klensch, Donna Karen and Zandra Rhodes. I am forever grateful for these experiences in broadcasting/production/runway/design/sales.

5. I made it a point to test out all areas of the industry as I was and still am so passionate about this incredible field. And each experience has applied to who I am today.

Feature in Instyle Magazine ...my NICHE business ...Boy Meets Girl!



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