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Kimberly A. Krummell - Timberland Company
Teresa Walsh - TSE Cashmere
Bonnie Elizabeth Boles - Dillard's
Jennifer Brown - Dillard's Store Services Inc.

Manager of Apparel Sourcing & Quality for Americas | Production Director | Infant Designer | Designer
Archive

 

Kimberly Krummell Director, Systems Compliance Asia Footwear

What activities occupy a typical day in your job?

I have relocated to Timberland's Office in China, where a majority of our footwear is produced. I oversee the execution of Quality Systems Implementation, Code of Conduct Standards and Environmental initiatives. Timberland's Representative Office is centrally located so that all factories where we produce in China are no more than a 2 hour drive away. I am in the factories weekly and lead a team of people that are in the factories on a daily basis. Currently my focus is implementing systems and challenging the way that business gets done here in Asia . We focus on working smarter, creating efficiencies, systematic approaches and sustainable solutions. We also have offices in Viet Nam and Thailand, where I visit on a regular basis.

What was your career path to get to your current position? What other positions have you held, and how long did it take you to reach this position?

 

I participated in internship programs while in college with both The Eagles Eye and [TC]². After graduating, my first position was an apparel quality field auditor for L.L. Bean. Over the course of the 5 years that I spent at L.L. Bean, I moved up the ranks to my final position there in the Sourcing Department as Senior Engineer for Outerwear. I was hired by Timberland in 2000 as the Manager for Apparel Sourcing and Quality in the Americas. I was promoted to a Sr. Mgr for the Apparel business, managing a team of developers, tech, planning and production for the woven tops and bottoms businesses. I had spent 10 years traveling in the industry and was really very interested in an opportunity to live in a foreign country. In November, 2004 I was promoted to Director and moved to China and started a new job on the Footwear side of the business.

What is your educational background? College degree?

Bachelor of Science in Apparel Management from the Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science (now known as Philadelphia University)

What courses or training best prepared you for your career or current position?

 

My education laid the foundation for my career. It gave me exposure to all aspects of the apparel/textile industry and continues to provide me with invaluable references for everyday issues that I encounter. I reference course textbooks and notes regularly. The internship program that I was chosen to participate in at [TC]² was really the culmination of all my work and afforded me the opportunity to have hands on experiences and challenged me in new ways on both a professional and personal level.

What types of courses or training do you wish you had received more of?

I can't really think of any, I feel my education was very well rounded.

What types of skills does a person need to have to do your job?

You need to be detail-oriented, proactive, and personable. Good Leadership skills are a must. It is also important to have good communication, prioritization, and follow-up skills.

Does your career path match the career goals you had upon graduation?

Upon graduation my career goals were rather limited - get a good job with a good company. After about 2 years on the job I became interested in sourcing and in broadening my horizons with international travel.

What do you see as your next position or career move?

I very much enjoy living abroad and hope to continue to do so for at least several years. I am open to the next opportunity, whether it be in footwear or back to my "roots" in apparel. I enjoy working with the factories and on the Supply Chain side of the business, which I also hope to continue.

What are the positives and negatives of your job?

Living and working in Asia is an amazing opportunity and overall a very positive experience for myself personally and professionally. The more you are able to learn about a culture and its people, the more opportunities that you have in the global society in which we live today. At the same time, living in China is not easy. Culture and language barriers can make progress slow at times and some days can be frustrating..patience is a virtue!

Do you travel as part of your job responsibilities? If so, what type of traveling do you do, and how frequently?

A majority of my travel is currently by car but I also travel to Viet Nam and Thailand (where we have offices) on a regular basis.

Is there a need to speak a second language in your position? Which language (other than English) is most useful?

I live in Zhuhai, China, not Hong Kong (in Hong Kong most people know some English and signs, restaurant menus, etc. are in English as well as Chinese). This is certainly a challenge..I am learning Mandarin and have mastered only enough so far to order food, take a taxi and say polite greetings. It is a pre-requisite for people who work in our office to speak English, but even this is to varying degrees of comprehension. Factory management typically speaks English, but not the workforce. I also speak Spanish from my days of traveling in Latin America, but that hasn't proven helpful with the taxi drivers in China!

How is teamwork important in your job and at your firm?

Teamwork/Communication is essential. Timberland is a global company with offices and distribution centers around the world that need to come together to make it all happen.

What does your workspace look like? What is the corporate culture (atmosphere/environment) at your company?

 

Timberland's Representative Office in China has about 110 people all working on executing the product (development, production, quality, etc.) where my office is located. I also have an office in my apartment, a blackberry and a global cell phone. Due to the nature of production, the time difference between where I am and where Corporate is..there are requirements for being in touch and some late night conference calls/emailing.

What advice would you give those coming into the industry or your career area?

Have an open mind, an open ear and take notes. Experience is the best preparation and comes with time and from those around you. Network, network, network. Expose yourself to opportunities to learn and make contacts.

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Teresa Walsh, Production Director, TSE Cashmere

What activities occupy a typical day in your job?

Constant e-mailing! We work with offices in California, Hong Kong, and Italy so I have a steady stream of e-mails from the various time zones. My job involves a lot of troubleshooting. Each day there are various problems that occur in production, and I need to coordinate efforts to make sure the problems are solved. One could say that I am the "nag" of the company. I am always reminding people of deadlines, as I am the one who establishes the time and action calendar for the entire company. I question people to see if their responsibilities are completed on time, and if not, I try to help them figure out the path to a faster completion. I also communicate on a daily basis with mills and factories to ensure timely deliveries.

What was your career path to get to your current position? What other positions have you held, and how long did it take you to reach this position?

Liz Claiborne-Fabric Research & Development Intern (3 months during college) Giorgio Armani Le Collezioni-Production Assistant (1 year immediately after graduation from college) Anne Klein Fabric Research & Development -(3 years) *Assistant, Promoted to Associate, Promoted to Coordinator.

What is your educational background?

College degree? BS from Philadelphia College of Textiles & Science (now Philadelphia University). Major:Fashion Apparel Management.
What courses or training best prepared you for your career or current position?

Apparel Merchandise Management took us through every step of conceptualizing, producing, and marketing an apparel product. It gave me an idea of all the specific jobs that are available. Apparel Production gave me an appreciation for the amount of detail required to produce a product. Even if you don't intend to go into the production area, it is important for you to know the time and energies behind the product you are merchandising/selling/marketing.

What types of courses or training do you wish you had received more of?

I feel that my education was very well rounded. I liked the fact that I studied a portion of each area in the fashion industry. The one thing I would have liked is to have had mandatory internships in New York. I did one on my own, but I think I would have benefited from doing maybe one or two more during the summers.

What types of skills does a person need to have to do your job?

In each job that I have had, organizational skills are the key! If you can stay organized, you will always be aware of deadlines and can anticipate problems before they occur. I also feel communication skills are important. I work closely with the other departments in my company and our outside vendors. Close communication builds trust and better working relationships.

Does your career path match the career goals you had upon graduation?

I think my career path has changed slightly from what my initial goals were. However, one must have flexibility and do what will allow him/her to grow. As far as growth and salary are concerned, I feel I am exactly where I had hoped to be.

What do you see as your next position or career move?

Honestly, I am not quite sure at this point. I can say that when the right opportunity comes along, I have always been good at recognizing it and seizing it right away. I think that I will just "know" the right next move based on my past experience and my desire to learn and grow.

What are the positives and negatives of your job?

One positive is that I am finally at a point where I delegate out a lot of work. Prior to this job, I did a lot of data entry and phone calls on my own. Now most of my day is spent overseeing other people's work.Also, most of my current colleagues are colleagues from previous jobs. We all know each other very well, so we don't waste time during the day trying to resolve interdepartmental problems. We tend to use the same organizational systems, which helps the company run smoother. One of the negatives of my job is that before I arrived, the production department had been functioning without a Production Head. We had a reputation for being disorganized with outside vendors, so I have spent a lot of my time here patching up wounds with these vendors.

Another negative is that my company is very small. We do not have a lot of clout with vendors, as I had at my last jobs with larger companies. I spend a lot of time negotiating with people on prices, payment terms, and timing. I would have a lot more leverage if I could promise the vendors large orders.

Do you travel as part of your job responsibilities? If so, what type of traveling do you do, and how frequently?

I usually travel to Italy twice a year to place our orders with the factories. I also go around to various factories in New York for the same reason. It helps to go over issues in person, so that a closer relationship is established.

Is there a need to speak a second language in your position? Which language (other than English) is most useful?

I speak fluent Italian, and it is very helpful. This would only be necessary in higher end companies. Chinese would be the number one language to learn in apparel. Most companies have some sort of office set up in Hong Kong, no matter how big or small.

How is teamwork important in your job and at your firm?

Teamwork is crucial! If you do not have a true team, you do not have anything. You cannot do your job without the support of others. Teamwork can only take place if there is good communication.

What does your workspace look like? What is the corporate culture (atmosphere/environment) at your company?

I work in our showroom in the meatpacking district. The New York office has only about 40 people, so it is very friendly and relaxed. Our office space is very open and even overlooks the Hudson River. I believe the reason our office is a friendly place, is because the head of the company is a terrific manager. She sets the atmosphere for the entire company, and fortunately that is a good one.

What advice would you give those coming into the industry or your career area?

Try to do some internships BEFORE you graduate. LISTEN to people with experience in the industry. Don't be afraid to try new things, even if you don't think that is what you want to end up doing. It is always good to understand how each department in a company functions. Don't take any job for granted, there are a lot of ups and downs in the industry and EVERYONE is replaceable. Most importantly, DON'T BURN BRIDGES. You never know when you'll cross paths with people again.

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Bonnie Elizabeth Boles, Infant Designer, Dillard's

What activities occupy a typical day in your job?

There is no such thing as a typical day for me. I am currently working on three seasons: dealing with issues that may come up with the Fall line, approving fabrics, trims, fit of garment, art etc. for Spring styles that are about to go into production, and working on art and spec packages for the Fall line being developed. I do the following activities on a weekly basis:

sAttend fit sessions with our infant Technicians to make sure that we get the correct fit that meet our garment spec standards
s
Work on art work (prints, appliques, etc.) that will be on the garments
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Work with the CAD department who brings the art "to life"
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Work with overseas vendors on design issues ranging from fabrication, trims, and art
s
Work with Infant Coordinator who in turn works with five infant buyers on merchandising what will be developed for the season

What was your career path to get to your current position? What other positions have you held, and how long did it take you to reach this position?

I did a Product Development internship with Dillard's the summer of 2000. I spent two weeks at a time in different areas of Product Development ( Merchandising, Design, and Technical). I was offered a job at the end of my internship, but was not told what area I would be in. I returned to Little Rock after graduation, and found out that the Infant Designer had left. My first day at work I found out that I would be the assistant Infant Designer (assisting no one). Two weeks later we went into Fall Development for the line. I am currently in my 3rd season with Dillard's. I was promoted to Infant Designer in March 2001.

What is your educational background? College degree?

I received an Apparel Merchandising, Design, and Product Development degree with a minor in Business from Auburn University.

What courses or training best prepared you for your career or current positions?

I feel that CA 540, senior group project class, was the most beneficial class for preparing me for the work force. It was a wonderful class that not only taught me about product, but about the importance of teamwork. The groups were made up of design, merchandising, and product development majors who all had something special to offer to the project. Our assignment for the quarter was to create a Kid's clothing company and figure out the costs, etc. of running the company and producing a private brand line of clothing. We designed, made patterns, produced, and merchandised our line. Many late nights were spent that quarter in the sewing lab, but the hard work definitely paid off! At the end of the quarter all of the groups presented their company's line to the class and faculty. Our line, "Snug as a Bug", was wonderful! This project was perfect preparation for the line of work that was ahead of me!

What types of courses or training do you wish you had received more of?

I wish that Auburn had more training in the CAD design area. Euphoria is the CAD system that Dillard's and many company's use, but unless your school was able to offer you training in this system, your not qualified for a CAD designer position. 6. What types of skills does a person need to have to do your job? You need a degree in Design/ Product Development. Skills needed:

sC*R*E*A*T*I*V*I*T*Y! for making trend and color boards
s
Ability to draw
s
Computer skills
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Knowledge in fabrication and fit
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Communication skills
s
Presentation skills for talking to buyers and upper management

Does your career path match the career goals you had upon graduation?

I had no expectations of getting this far only a year after graduating. I was in the right place at the right time.

What do you see as you're next position or career move?

I like the kid's business. I would eventually like to have my own kid's boutique.

What are the positives and negatives of your job?

Positives & Negatives: I am learning SOOO much! But even more so, I'm learning about myself and how I handle things. I can't say that this has been an easy year for me. There have been MANY late nights at the office and many stressful tears. I've had to learn how to stop working at a decent hour and realize that work will be there tomorrow. I 've had the opportunity that many never get. I've traveled the world and have merchandise that I've worked on in over 300 stores. I work with some extremely talented and fun girls that are young and straight out of school like me. We are going through the same experiences of a new career and being young adults. These girls will be friends and colleagues for life.

Do you travel as part of your job responsibilities? If so, what type of traveling do you do, and how frequently?

At the beginning of a season (twice a year), the kids designers go on two trips:

sNewYork Creative Trip- color/trend research, print/artwork purchase from studios, sample/market shopping
sEuropean Trip- select and buy samples for line development to support trend, color, and pattern direction. Travel markets include London, Paris, Milan, Barcelona, and Amsterdam.

Is there a need to speak a second language in your position? Which language (other than English) is most useful?

There is not a need to speak a second language because we work with an agent's office that in turn works with our overseas vendors, but it would be a nice asset. I would like to learn Italian and French simply because it would be nice when traveling to those countries. Most people overseas speak English, so I haven't experienced difficulty in traveling.

How is teamwork important in your job and at your firm?

Teamwork is the most important part of the job! Everyone on our team has an important role that goes into developing the line. Without teamwork and communication, it would be impossible to create a nice product.

What does your workspace look like? What is the corporate culture at your company?

The Product Development area at our company is set up into cubicles and workstations. The Design areas are broken down into three big cubicle areas (Men's, Women's, and Kid's) which have nine workstations in them. I have a corner desk that sits high. I have several flat filing drawers for artwork and an "island" worktable with big filing drawers underneath where we file approvals for the styles that are in preproduction stages. Corporate culture? Product Development is very fast paced and you can usually feel the stress in the air. At the same time, it's not an up tight company.

What advice would you give those coming into the industry or our career area?

Be ready to work! Don't give up on the job search.be patient! Make connections.you never know where they might lead! Realize that designing is not as glamorous as it might sound, you will work hard, but you will also be proud of what you have accomplished!

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Jennifer Brown, Designer, Dillards Store Services Inc.

What activities occupy a typical day in your job?

There is not a typical day! I check e-mail and answer and solve any issues from vendors (overseas and domestic). Then I do approvals for fabric, trims, and colors on prints or embroideries. When I am designing the line, I look for inspiration from magazines and trend services and sketch out my designs and find artwork from print houses to use as prints for my line. No day is ever the same. It is a lot of hard work and you are busy all the time. I'm at work an average of 12 hours a day.

What other positions have you held, and how long did it take you to reach this position?

I was an Intern for Dillards the summer before I graduated and then came back to Little Rock and became an Assistant Designer in intimate apparel. Then 8 months later I got promoted to designer after I had been acting as designer in the intimate apparel line for two months. It didn't take long to move up.

What is your educational background? College degree?

I have a Bachelor of Science in Apparel Merchandising, Design, and Production with a concentration in Design from Auburn University.

What courses or training best prepared you for your career or current position?

Textiles and Apparel design.

What types of courses or training do you wish you had received more of?

More textile knowledge especially in knits, more sketching (3D and flat sketching), and more design classes.

What types of skills does a person need to have to do your job?

Hand sketching skills (flat technical sketches), textile knowledge of fabrics and trims, and textile testing, and the construction and stitching of garments (type of stitches and how a garment is made and how it will work).

Does your career path match the career goals you had upon graduation?

I have exceeded my expectations.

What do you see as your next position or career move?

My next position would be to try to design in another area. I already have experience in women's intimate apparel and now missy casual bottoms.

What are the positives and negatives of your job?

Working long hours and working most weekends is always a negative but on the other end I am gaining great experience from all the hard work.

Do you travel as part of your job responsibilities? If so, what type of traveling do you do, and how frequently?

Yes, travel is a necessity. I travel to NYC four times a year. Some of us travel to Asia once a year and Europe twice a year. We are going to start traveling once a month to get more inspiration outside of Little Rock.

Is there a need to speak a second language in your position? Which language (other than English) is most useful?

No not really.

How is teamwork important in your job and at your firm?

Very important. It is the only way to get the right product on the floor. The Tech tells the vendor how to make the garment and the Coordinator does all the business with the vendors, and the Designer designs the product with fabric, trim, color, and body silhouettes according to trends and fashion.

What does your workspace look like? What is the corporate culture (atmosphere/environment) at your company?

We have a brand new office that was finished in August 2001. Each area (Women's, Men's, and Kids) has a large closed off space for the designers to feed off each other, but each person has a cubicle. The designers have workrooms for each area to display trend boards and what they are working on as well. And we also have a design library, which consists of all trend material, color services, magazines, WWD, the Internet and a TV to watch fashion shows or trend tapes.

What advice would you give those coming into the industry or your career area?

Study hard and KNOW all you can, because you really do use all that information.

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