Retail Merchandising Student Profile
Name: Katie Fuller
Graduation Year: 2018
Hometown: Coon Rapids, MN
How and why did you choose your major?
Before entering college, I wanted a major that would fit well with my personality, values, and ultimate career goals. I toured many different universities in the States and decided the U of M was where I was meant to be. I have always been very intrigued with the retail and fashion industries. While still in high school I attended a major preview for retail merchandising where I was able to interact with the faculty and current students in order to get a broader understanding. I felt the atmosphere, compared to other universities, was very welcoming and showed me that the program was very up-to-date and relevant for the field.
Please give a description (in your words) of your major including the things you learn, favorite classes, and any challenges you have faced.
Retail merchandising at the U of M is comprised of two different tracks; general merchandising and fashion merchandising. I chose the fashion merchandising track which deals with the softline side of the retail industry, which is comprised of mainly retail channels and textiles. My courses are meant to teach me the consumer psychology, the construction and textiles for apparel, business/marketing strategies, management skills, and many more aspects directly related to the retail industry. A few of the classes that I have seen as the most valuable would be Visual Merchandising, Softlines Analysis, Retail Buying, Fundamentals of Management, and Fashion, Ethics, & Consumption. Abroad my favorite classes have been Made in Italy: Small Business in Florence and History of Modern Consumerism. The biggest challenge I have faced is overcoming the perceptions others give me for being a retail major.
What types of experiences outside of the classroom have you had relating to your major? (i.e. clubs, jobs, internships, volunteering, study abroad etc.)
I have had the opportunity to study abroad twice with a focus on fashion through the U of M, to teach me international business and cultural differences with fashion consumption and creation. I first studied in London & Paris for two weeks, where I met important designers and people within the fashion industry, and learned about the history of fashion. Currently for this fall semester I am studying and interning abroad in Florence, Italy. I am the current social media and business strategy intern for SuperDuper Hats and have an unofficial internship with a local vintage shop to re-market their store concept, set up events such as fashion shows and manage photoshoots. I am also a member of the National Retail Federation Student Association, where we meet monthly and have inside access to retailers and businesses. I was a Welcome Week Leader for two consecutive years as well, to learn how to perform as better leader and improve my organizational and communication skills.
In your opinion, what is one thing, or one piece of advice that other students pursuing your major should know?
My advice to prospective retail majors would be to have confidence in your major and your career goals. Try to gain a deeper understanding of the importance the retail industry has in the business world. And don't deter from your aspirations in retail because of what other's might say about the industry.