Unfortunately, today was our very last day in New York, however it was a very long day and we made the absolute best of it!
We started out by going to WRK (Work, Rest, Karma) where we met CMU alum Zac Stoner, who now works there. WRK is a company that assists with designing for brands such as Ryan Seacrest and Vince Camuto. They work to help these brands build a strong image as well. Zac was so sweet, and it was great to be able to talk to him.
After WRK, we headed to Soho for the rest of the day’s activities. We first went to Maje, which is a luxury boutique that started in Paris. They are considered a bridge category. We met with McKenzie, who is the manager of the store. She explained that the store’s target market is all women – old and young. She says that she sees a lot of mothers and daughters come in together to go shopping and they both end up finding something that they love.
After Maje, we went to Rebecca Minkoff. I am a huge fan of Rebecca, so I was super excited to see her store. Within the store, there is an interactive mirror inside the fitting room in which you can adjust the lighting to test how the garment will look in certain conditions, order a drink, and even chat with a stylist. They also showed us their new key chains that have USB cables hidden inside them so that you can charge your phone on the go. I thought they displayed a great effort of catering to their target market- the millennial woman.
We finished the day with an alumni dinner, where we got to spend some quality time with some of the awesome CMU alumni who are now living and working in NYC.
One of the most important things I learned today is how important technology is when trying to keep brick and mortar stores relevant. We all know that consumers are leaning towards online shopping and brick and mortar sales are declining, but Rebecca Minkoff is doing an outstanding job keeping her stores fresh and relevant, which is bringing in more traffic.
Another thing I learned today was the importance of internships. I do my internship next summer, but hearing the staff at WRK talk about how many internships they each did (typically around 4-5 each) really showed me that my internship next summer should not be my last, and I should continue trying to get these opportunities and meeting new people.
The last thing I learned today was how lucky I am to be at CMU, because the classes I am taking will prepare me for a career in merchandising or product development. Because I of my CAD and PLM experience, I will be prepared to take a wide variety of jobs. I never realized that students at other schools did not take these kinds of classes. It makes me very thankful that I chose CMU!