Maria Christina Anzalone is a product coordinator for Venus Fashion Corporation in Boca Raton, Florida. She is responsible for $40 million in label distribution protocol for the company’s dress and jumpsuit business. Maria explains that she has daily communication with overseas partners and factories in China, Turkey, India, and Germany.
Maria also participates in product fittings “to ensure the best fit for the Venus customer” and works with key inventory partners and upper management to review delivery dates of bulk goods. While performing these responsibilities she also has her eye on the future, reviewing current and future season product while negotiating the best cost to achieve Venus Fashion’s business goals.
Maria balances her career with motherhood, which she admits can be challenging. She says that working mothers in the fashion industry feel pressure because of long workdays and frequent travel. “I found myself rocking my child to sleep (in one arm) and answering emails in the other. My work-life was not balanced and my stress level was at an all time high. I had to re-evaluate my situation, which lead to me to leave the job that I had held for several years and move onto a better situation.” Today, Maria is excited to be part of a company that promotes a healthy balance. “This was truly a life lesson for me, and taught me that there are employers that do put the employee first and I should never settle for less. My employer is truly supportive and has given me a road map to achieve my growth.”
She adds that fashion is a career requiring total commitment. “If this is not your true passion in life, you will quickly find out.” Despite the demands of the industry, Maria says that she’s incredibly fulfilled when customers post positive feedback in focus groups or on social media. “It really makes it all worth it to know that we are making [our customers] happy.”
Maria’s education at The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale provided the foundation she needed—and the push from instructors to reach her full potential. “The teachers expected nothing but the best from us. If we were not giving 110%, we were only letting ourselves down in the end. The fact that our teachers were people from within the industry was really a source of encouragement.” Maria mentions that she frequently uses lessons learned in her fabric, advanced draping, and technical drawing classes.
Maria, who in 2008 earned a Bachelor of Science in Fashion Design from The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, says that graduates new to the fashion industry need to stay positive and work hard. “This industry can be very harsh at times but don’t give up. Learn from your mistakes and just keep going.” She says that fashion design is a never-ending challenge to keep customers interested. “Each season [brings] new textiles, colors, and silhouettes. It is my job to source these new findings for the everyday customer who may not understand couture. It’s my challenge to keep [the customer] interested and deliver quality fashion.”
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