“Network, network, network!"
By the time Jen graduated in 2006 with a BS in Merchandising, she had over four years of retailing experience. Recognizing the value of experience to reach her career goals, Jen balanced a full time position at Old Navy while completing her degree. Her hard work paid off when she landed a job after graduation as the west coast business development manager for Intertek. Her job involved managing risk mitigation for major apparel companies during product development and manufacturing.
Jen left Intertek to work for True Religion, where she implemented and directed regulatory compliance and social auditing program for the brand. After two years, she was recruited by her current employer, Personal Creations/FTD. This position involves managing risk mitigation during the product development stage, and ensuring all products meet government regulations for health and safety. She also monitors factories in the company’s supply chain to be sure they follow ethical and socially responsible standards set by Personal Creations.
About her job, Jen says “Regulatory testing, product compliance, social auditing, and risk mitigation have become my true passion. It sounds cliché, but coming to work isn’t work at all because it’s what I love to do.” She enjoys her work in part because the regulatory landscape is continuously changing not only within the US but on a global scale. She explains, “I enjoy staying on top of all the newness and no two days are alike for me. Another amazing benefit is that I get to travel internationally to visit our supplier factories 3-4 times a year.”
Jen’s advice to fashion majors is to “network, network, network! If you are truly looking to move forward with a national retailer and/or brand, networking is key. Also, never be afraid to start at the bottom- if you want something you will persevere through the obstacles to follow your dreams and reach your goals. Always remember your dreams and goals are attainable- you just have to put in the work to reach them.