Alumni Stories

Ciara Rios

Fashion Marketing & Management

Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Marketing
The Art Institute of Phoenix

The Art Institute of Phoenix alumni Ciara Rios

The business, visual, retail sales management, and interior design [courses that I took at school] helped me to prepare for my career at Target. Ciara Rios , Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Marketing Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Marketing & Management, 2015 , The Art Institute of Phoenix

Merchandising Lead for Target

Ciara Rios is a visual merchandising lead for Target in Denver, Colorado. She works to build sales by creating visual presentations and uses specific tactics to achieve this goal. Ciara not only coaches her team on presentation, she keeps the store looking fresh by changing mannequins frequently so customers are always seeing something new. “[I make] business sales decisions based on sport/life/weather events and ensure that our furniture section is always looking like a presentation—like it's someone's home. If an aisle sells down, I need to fill it using appropriate merchandise that tells a story and encourages the customer to buy a few things [in addition to what they’re] purchasing."

Ciara says that she stepped into a brand new position at Target—at the same time she was new to the Denver area. “It was super hard for me to adjust my life in Colorado while also learning a new company and a new job. No one quite understood what my role would be. I decided that [since this] role was new, I could create it in a way that makes the best decisions for the company. That’s just what I did.” Ciara partnered with coworkers and reached out to corporate leaders to create a task list and ensure she was adding value to the company. “By creating visual presentations based on business needs, I am coming in and changing the way that other employees see the Target brand. My goal is to use my creative techniques to grow sales.”

Ciara is used to challenges. While a student, she took six classes a week while working full time in retail management. She was also a stylist at Phoenix Fashion Week. “I know how hard it is to juggle all the responsibilities.” She recommends that current students stay focused on their goals. “If you work hard towards your degree, it will pay off in the long run. Another piece of advice I would extend is to not be afraid of change. Be open to new jobs and new cities because sometimes you can grow in the industry more if you relocate. I [moved] to Colorado in order to take the best opportunity for me and I have no regrets.”

Ciara, who in 2015 earned a Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Marketing from The Art Institute of Phoenix, says that her education helped to make her a competitive candidate for jobs in the fashion industry. Today, she is excited to be working in fashion and pleased to be associated with a company that has strong customer and employee loyalty. “After joining the Target company, I soon came to realize that many employees have been here 10 plus years. This showed me that Target is not only a great company to work for but they are very supportive of growing their employees within the company.”

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