Internship Update: What I Do in Fashion Merchandising

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My Role

In case you’ve missed my style challenges or IG updates, let me catch you up. I started my internship in Fort Myers, FL with Chico’s FAS on June 4th. I work in the bottoms and shorts department for White House|Black Market. To help you better understand, Chico’s FAS is like P&G (Parent Company) andWhite House|Black Market is like Bounty (Child Company/brand). This is my first corporate, “big” internship.

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Love my WHBM dress as much as my internship!

Can you believe I’ve been in Fort Myers for 6 weeks!? I certainly can’t. Time flies when you’re having fun and working hard. I’m loving life in Florida, and you’re probably thinking, “Well duh she’s living the dream just soaking up the sun.” True but it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. People aren’t wrong when they tell me I’m lucky. I’m blessed to live 20 minutes from 3 beaches, work for an amazing company, and get to go shopping (sometimes) for work. However, this is the HARDEST time of my life, education, and professional career up to this point. With that being said, it’s also the greatest time. I say all this to remind you that nothing is ever going to be perfect for you, me, or anyone and that’s OKAY!

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All the interns!

What do you even do?

The most frequently asked question of my life right now. My first thought is “what don’t I do?” But in an effort not to be rude, I typically respond with the following:

A fashion merchant’s number one rule is “know your customer.” At WHBM I’m the fashion merchandising intern in bottoms and shorts. It’s me and my teams job to work with design, allocation, planning, trend, marketing, and higher level management in order to coordinate efforts to provide her (our customer) with what she wants and needs.

How do you do your job?

I get to know my customer inside and out. I know what color she likes to wear in every season and when she vacations. I know she is a hardworking woman over 35, smart, and independent. Believe it or not it’s also important for me to know her favorite music, movies, and leisure activities.

What does an average day look like?

Every day is so different. Actually, every hour is. But let me take you through the most “typical” day/week.

  • First, I clock in and check email. Responding to anything urgent.
  • Monday I run 5+ reports for a meetings later in the day and week to assess the our bottoms’ business from the week prior to determine if any changes need to be made. I generate these reports and disperse them to the Associate Merchant, Senior Merchant, Planner, and Merchant Manager.
  • Tag current samples of bottoms and shorts being sold in store with their sales data in $, %, and so on. Once tagged I hang them on two giant walls. I separate them by styles that are selling well and those that aren’t.
  • Throughout the week I’m updating different systems that help us plan for upcoming seasons and track changes for styles. Changes that often occur included costs, purchase orders, stokes to sales, design details and more!
  • I have gone comp shopping twice. This is where I assess the competitions and also visit a WHBM BOUTIQUE to gain in store feedback.
  • I’m currently working on a HUGE SWOT analysis under the guidance of my supervisor!I will present it to my team and higher level management in Including the VP of Merchandising.

What’s the best part?

The people. I appreciate the FREE ice cream truck that visits on Wednesdays and employee discounts. However, the culture is incredibly welcoming due to the friendliness of the people I work with. For example, my first week I met Toni (VP of Merchandising) at a large meeting. Later that week she was with out brand president, David, and saw me eating lunch outside. She came right up to me, introducing me by name to David. Since the start I’ve been encouraged to voice my thoughts and opinions. But don’t worry… I know when to keep my mouth shut! Like when we are talking financials. Eventually I will be more confident in that area.

The Big Picture

In all I’m learning a lot and challenged everyday. I make a lot of mistakes, and it’s hard for me to accept that. Thankfully my team reminds me I’m still new and learning. It’s been super exciting to develop my skills and learn new ones. I’m truly feel I belong at Chico’s FAS, so fingers crossed I won’t be scrapping snow off my car in Ohio for much longer.

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Official Badge! An internship that’s more than making copies.

I know that’s a lot to take in. It’s not even everything about my internship, so stay informed by subscribing. There’s so much more to come.

My Roommate Blogs Too!

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Want another perspective on the internship? Check out Allie’s internship experience! She goes into great detail about the campus and OVERWHELMING first week. Also, she is really passionate about being environmentally friendly, and I really appreciate it. Actually, her ethical shopping habits are rubbing off on me! Read her Tips On Becoming a More Ethical Shopper.

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