Alumni Stories

Stephanie Alonso

Fashion Merchandising

Associate Buyer for Accessories at Perry Ellis International
Miami International University of Art & Design

Stephanie Alonso

Since [my education was so] career/project driven, it really helped me to get a hands-on feel for a career in the fashion industry. It not only taught theory, but application of the material, as well. Stephanie Alonso , Associate Buyer for Accessories at Perry Ellis International Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Merchandising, 2013 , Miami International University of Art & Design
Stephanie Alonso is an associate buyer for accessories at Perry Ellis International. She manages the accessories business in all Perry Ellis International stores across the country. She’s also responsible for selecting the appropriate location-specific assortment of products to drive sales. Before joining Perry Ellis as an associate buyer, she was in the company’s leadership development program.

Her typical day begins with a review of sales for the day/week prior. “I determine if there's any need to change promotions, then tend to emails from vendors and management regarding different aspects of the business,” she says. Stephanie also  reviews inventory to ensure that warehouse orders are arriving on time. Because her days are very busy, she recommends focusing on one task at a time. “It’s very easy to get overwhelmed and stressed out when there are multiple projects that need to get done. Set a timeline, and focus on one thing at a time instead of getting caught up on everything that needs to get done.”

Stephanie adds that fashion is a fast-paced industry that requires a high level of commitment. “There are always moving parts in retail and everyone on your team is very busy, so you can't wait around for someone else to do something for you. Having the confidence and initiative to reach out to the right people and figure things out as you go is extreme valuable and won't go unnoticed.”

She enjoys showing off her creativity when assembling merchandise directives, which are monthly presentations sent out to the stores. “Sometimes we have to be creative in how we use fixtures and the placement on the floor to drive sales. At the same time, [we need to] keep a comprehensive assortment flow on the floor. It's really exciting when we see a direct sales impact based on a few creative changes.” Stephanie moved into her current position after a little more than two years with the company. She’s proud of her achievement and says that “it’s great having an area of my own. I drive this business and have a lot to say. It’s challenging but fun.”

Stephanie, who in 2013 earned a Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Merchandising from Miami International University of Art & Design, says that her hands-on education prepared her well for a career in the fashion industry. “Getting my first job, the material was not foreign to me. I was familiar with the terminology and overall responsibilities of the job.” She mentions that learning must continue after graduation, in order to succeed. “I still have tons to learn and a lot of experience to gain. What's exciting about retail is being able to see what you do have a direct impact on sales—whether it be a change in presentation, inventory level, or finding a best selling style.”

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