Arts & Humanities
Bachelor of Science in Fashion Merchandising
A love of the business side of the fashion world is what led Kaitlin Hines to become a fashion merchandising major. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Fashion Merchandising, with a minor in business, from Texas State University in 2008. Currently, she is the manager at a chic boutique in Houston where her responsibilities include the visual merchandising of new products, ordering and re-ordering new merchandise, and interacting with customers and ensuring their satisfaction. Hines enjoys the buying side of her job the most, as she gets to fashion forecast and see what is going to be the next trend as well as see the happy look on customers’ faces when they purchase items she hand-selects from fashion lines and companies.
Why did you choose to major in fashion merchandising?
I chose fashion merchandising because I knew from the beginning that I wanted an educational background in fashion somehow — I just didn’t know if I wanted to work retail, wholesale, buying, etc. I was not good at sewing nor wanted to sit in a workshop/lab hours upon end in college, so I decided to not go with a fashion manufacturing degree. At Texas State, if you got a fashion merchandising degree, it was a requirement that you also minor in business. I thought that a business minor would be a great idea to fall back on since they make you take marketing, management, accounting, and economic courses!
What did you like/dislike about majoring in fashion merchandising?
I loved a lot of the classes like textiles and buying. The majority of my classes taught you how to write a business plan and how you would execute your store. The textile course taught you everything from how to read a clothing tag to how a shirt is stitched. The thing that I disliked most about my major is that it focused a lot on being a buyer for a company/store. They don’t explain that there are many other things and outlets besides being just a buyer. If it wasn’t for my sister working the wholesale side of fashion, I would have never known that jobs like a sales representative for a company exist.
How has your major impacted your career or influenced your career path?
I run a boutique in Houston and often refer to things I learned in my major many years ago. For example, the quality of clothing and how just because it’s a great price doesn’t mean your store should buy it for customers … it could fall apart, then you’d have returns and customers unhappy with your product. I also worked for a branch of Abercrombie and Fitch where I was a visual merchandiser and realized very quickly that the job took a specific kind of person who had patience with product and worked long hours inside of a mall.
What knowledge/skills did you obtain from majoring in fashion merchandising that you still put to use in your current position?
I still use the knowledge and skills I obtained in a lot of my business classes like marketing and management as well as buying. A huge part of running your own boutique is going to market and fashion forecasting of what will be popular for seasons ahead and staying within your budget is a must. You must make smart monetary decisions, but must also be a risk taker in order to succeed and get
What advice would you give to students thinking about majoring in fashion merchandising?
Be sure to do an internship in what you think you might want to do. I did an internship with a large retail company and found out very quickly that I didn’t want to work for a large company with little growth. Remember that most internships won’t pay you because it is considered a privilege to work for a fashion-forward company. Experience, experience, experience, is the best piece of advice I can
give. Find someone to work for or understudy while in school. It’s an easy way to learn the do’s and don’ts of fashion merchandising!