Alumna Interviewed by Popular Fashion and Career Blogger
Kelsey Snyder, a 2018 alumna from the Kent State University School of Fashion’s merchandising program, was recently interviewed for the popular fashion blog Career Queen, where she discussed life after Kent State and her current role as Assistant Merchant for American Eagle Outfitters (AEO) Aerie brand.
Growing up in Erie, Pennsylvania, Snyder was always interested in fashion, creativity and entrepreneurship. She attended the Kent State University School of Fashion where she majored in fashion merchandising and entered the industry immediately after graduating in May 2018. For the last year, she has helped launch AEO’s newest sub-brand, OFFLINE by Aerie.
“I have always had an interest in fashion, but I did not have much exposure to the industry because I grew up in a very small town. After learning more about Kent State University’s merchandising program, I knew that this career path would be the perfect fit for me. After graduating from Kent State, I worked in Columbus for another retailer before pursuing my dream job at Aerie!” expressed Snyder. “I started pursuing a career at Aerie after only nine months in my first job. I was so scared to “start over” so early on in my career, but in my heart, I knew that working for Aerie was my absolute dream and working for a company that supported my personal values was 100% worth the leap!
Snyder’s dynamic role at Aerie is anything but boring, and each day presents new challenges, but it’s the challenges that she enjoys most.
“The day-to-day varies quite a bit depending on the week! As a merchant, each day you’re required to take your learnings from current business and focus on how you can affect future assortments! We learn so much about our business each day, and typically have our hands in at least 3-4 seasons at any given time!” said Snyder. “The most challenging part of my job is keeping up with the business and our customers! Things move quickly in the retail world, and we are always on our toes! Some weeks, this requires us to work a full schedule, and it is safe to say it is not your average “nine-to-five” job at the end of the day- the work is always worth it!
Like many other global fashion brands, Aerie was not immune to the COVID-19 pandemic. Snyder and her fellow employees have been working remotely since the pandemic started. They have since started back in the office sparingly a few days a week, but she praises AEO for their adaptive and forward-thinking policies that allowed the employees to have an easy transition to remote working.
“It was difficult to separate ourselves from the product when we first started working from home, as a lot our job requires us to be hands-on. Since March, we have adapted so many of our processes to better suit our needs while working from home. I am fortunate to be part of an incredibly adaptive and forward-thinking company that has given us the resources to keep moving during even the most uncertain times!”
Towards the end of the interview, Snyder offered advice for students and those looking to break into the fashion merchandising industry.
“My two biggest pieces of advice would be to always keep in contact with your network and retail connections (and never burn any bridges, the retail community is much smaller than you’d think),
and to always trust your gut and stay true to yourself!” advised Snyder. “For someone looking to pursue fashion in general, I would say get ready to hustle! It is hard work, but it is incredibly fulfilling! I have learned so much about myself in such a short period, working for Aerie has truly taught me all that I am capable of so much!”
Lauren Berger is CEO & Founder of both CareerQueen.com and InternQueen.com, reaching over 6 million. Her passion is connecting people with their dream careers. Berger has been a featured keynote at 200+ colleges, universities, leadership conferences, and entrepreneurship events. Her previous titles include the best-selling All Work, No Pay and Welcome to the Real World. Berger’s Youtube Channel has over 1.2 million views and releases new content every Wednesday. Her Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn reach over 100,000 people.
Berger’s career advice has been featured on The Today Show, KTLA, Fox & Friends, Marie Claire, WhoWhatWear, Refinery29, Entrepreneur on Fire, Bustle, CNBC, Entrepreneur, Glamour, and more. Berger not only delivers unique career advice to her audience, but also serves as a marketing agency that helps leading brands activate brand ambassadors and establish a presence with both college students and young professionals worldwide. Berger’s business has doubled in recent years and her current roster of clients includes Michael Kors, Keurig, Whole Foods, Schwinn, Duncan Hines, Estee Lauder, and over 30 other top-notch brands.