10 Questions with Subrina

From Intern to Full-time this Alum took NYC by Storm

Every month NuView will be asking a UNT alum 10 questions about what its like living and working in the “real world.” As the starter of NuView we thought it would be appropriate to have is Subrina Hossain as our first alum!

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First day of Subrina’s Ross internship, now turning into a full-time job

UNT Fashion Merchandising Alum,  Former Merchandising Inc. President  of ‘14-’15, AND founder of NuView, Subrina Hossain answered the top 10 questions our writers had about her working at Ross as a Junior Accessories buyer and moving to New York City.

  1. Is being a buyer for handbags completely different from apparel, or are the trends and research generally the same? In other words, how easy is it to expand from buying in apparel to doing something like accessories or cosmetics?

You’ll find that most retailers will move buyers from area to area, so that they can be versatile and adaptable because a good buyer can buy anything. The necessary skill set to be a buyer is the same regardless of what area you buy, you just have to learn the ins and outs of another business using those same skills. I interned in the juniors dresses department but now I’m in junior handbags. I had to learn an entirely new business, what the vendors are like, what my price points are, what kinds of trends my customer likes, but I still use the same negotiation and relationship building skills and I still go competitive shopping and study my customer.

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Posing with Girl Boss, Sophia Amaruso at the Nasty Galaxy Book signing

  1. When starting with a new company, whether it be an internship or a new job position, what is the biggest challenge you have to overcome, and what tactics do you have for becoming comfortable in a new professional setting?

My biggest challenge has always been self-doubt. There was always a little voice in my head that tried to convince me that I’d fail, maybe I wouldn’t fit in with the company culture, maybe I wouldn’t understand the job, maybe my coworkers wouldn’t like me, maybe maybe maybe. Maybe take all of that negative energy and use it as motivation to prove your own self wrong. I recently went to Sophia Amaruso’s Nasty Galaxy book signing. If you don’t know, she’s the founder of NastyGal and author of a book I’m sure we all have on our night stands, Girl Boss. An audience member asked Sophia how she overcomes self doubt and with a little laugh she said “you don’t, you manage it. Remind yourself why you’re worth it.”

  1. What classes or experiences from UNT have helped most in your current role at Ross?

It wasn’t until the retail math class that I actually became a fan of math.  Buyers use retail math on a daily basis in the office and during appointments with vendors. We also design a lot of our own handbags so the product development class comes in handy. Experience wise, Merchandising Inc. (if I haven’t said it enough) really helped prepare me for my role because I enhanced my soft skills such as networking, leadership skills, and time management, amongst others.

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Subrina with  Ross accessories team

  1. What advice do you have for someone looking to become a buyer? How should they prepare?

Don’t just do the one internship you have to for your degree; take part in as many internships and job shadowings that you can because you will learn something new in all of them and add to your tool-box of skills. Having any sort of sales and customer service experience is also important. A lot of people overlook sales floor experience but having in-store experience helps you put the pieces together better when you get to the corporate side. I interned in stores for Marshalls and Ross; without those experiences I wouldn’t have gotten such a good understanding of the off-price customer. Take on roles and projects that challenge you, if you are comfortable you’re not growing.

5. What are your least and most favorite aspects of your job? One of the best things about buying is that one day is not the same as the next and this keeps things exciting and new. The spontaneity of the job and likely possibility that your outlook calendar will change at least five times in the day keeps you on your toes and forces you to be adaptable. I also love that buying is a combination of fashion and business. It’s the best of both worlds. I’m not exaggerating when I say that there’s not one thing I don’t like about it. Some days are tougher than others, maybe something didn’t go my way or I didn’t get a deal I wanted but the good thing is there’s always tomorrow.

  1. For someone looking to move to NYC, what can be expected? Do you have any advice on how to ease the transition of acclimating to life in New York?

I experienced a lot of change in my life all at the same time; I interned as an ASM (assistant store manager) at Ross that summer, officially graduated ten weeks later, then packed my bags and moved to New York two weeks after that, and started my job two days after I moved. I expected everything to quickly fall into place at the same time. I learned the difficult way that life doesn’t work like that. New York City is known to be exciting and fun, but it’s also overwhelming and scary. The most important and helpful thing you can do is give yourself time to adjust. Once you’re here, you’re in for life. I had very high expectations of myself and what my life would be like, but Friends is just a scripted tv show and unplanned adventure is so much more thrilling. Living in New York is like buying, in the sense that not one day is like another and life is always spontaneous and exciting. Embrace this chaos with open arms.

  1. What is something that you learned from being in Merchandising Inc that still helps you today?

Merchandising Inc. helped me get out of my introverted shell and turned me into a people person.  In this industry, you have to be outgoing and charismatic. Building and maintaining relationships is one of the most important aspects of this job. I have to know how to schmooze with vendors and keep positive relationships with them, because ultimately that will help me get the deals and goods I want, while also keeping the vendors happy because it should be a mutually beneficial partnership.

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Subrina’s desk through the lens of snapchat

  1. Name something that you always keep on your desk at work?

A baby succulent and pictures of my family and friends.  

  1. If you had to go to do everything all over again, what would you do differently?

I wish I had spent less time being anxious and more time enjoying the time I was in.

  1. In your experience, what are some attributes of individuals who are most successful?

Employers want passionate people and they can read whether or not you have passion or simply interest in the first five minutes of an interview. If you’re just interested in this industry, it’s not enough; you wouldn’t spend your life with someone you’re only interested in, but someone you are passionate about. That’s how you should feel about your career. Passion fuels your fire because you wake up every morning looking forward to your job. You spend years of your life fighting to land your dream job but just because you have it doesn’t mean you should stop fighting for your career; never lose that fire.

Words by Subrina Hussain and NV Career Editors & Writers

Edit by Maia Wilson

Photos from Subrina Hussain

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Ashley Does Anthropologie

A UNT Senior gets a styling education in Philadelphia.

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Ashley Nudge is a senior pursuing a Merchandising and Digital Retailing double major at UNT. Last summer, she landed a competitive spot as a stylist intern for Anthropologie in Philadelphia. From that experience, Ashley has a lot of wisdom about styling as a career and how to be sure you get the internship of your dreams.

Q: What was the application and interview process like for getting the internship?

A: For the styling position you have to put together a trend board and submit your resume. Then you go on to the video interview, which was terrifying, and really awkward. I thought I had ruined it after that. But I passed that round, and after that I had to fly out to Philadelphia and do an in-person interview with the two full-time stylists with Anthropologie.

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As an intern, what did you do on a typical day?

To be honest, my job was very repetitive but I enjoyed it because the company was a good culture fit for me. On a daily basis I was doing the role of assistant stylist, so I was supporting the full-time stylists. On shooting days, my job was to make sure each outfit was in the fitting room for the model, and enter in all the product information from the outfits for the website.

Did anything about being an intern for Anthropologie really surprise you?

I knew when I applied that Urban Inc. is a very laid-back company, but I was really surprised by just how casual they were. The things they said to each other were really funny and shocking, but that’s what makes the company so great, is that you can be who you are and say what you want and it’s okay.

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What advice would you give to students looking for an internship?

You have to know yourself. That’s why I think organizations like Merch Inc. are really beneficial to be a part of, because you get exposed to so many different careers. If you’re a “yes person” and you go to everything, eventually you will figure out what you’re passionate about, and once you know that you can determine what type of internship you should pursue.

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I saw on your website you had to create a lookbook at your internship. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

At Urban Inc., you do an intern project. But since Urban Inc. is all about creativity, they basically told us to do whatever we wanted. Since I was in Philadelphia, it just made sense for me to do a “what to wear, where” type of lookbook. It showcased outfits that would be appropriate to wear to different locations in Philadelphia.

Was there a defining moment for you during your internship?

The moment I got really interested in styling, was when I was helping assisting at a photoshoot, and I just fell in love with the whole studio environment. When I walked into the studio the first day at Urban Inc. it was just like that. Just that moment of realizing styling what I’m meant to do was really fulfilling.

Did you get to implement your personal style at all in your internship?

You would think because I was doing a styling internship I would get to style but I didn’t. They have to get through 30 outfits in one day, and that doesn’t sound like a lot but it is. Looking back, I understand why they didn’t let us because I’m not as fast at dressing the model –  it really is a skill.

Did you have any obstacles you had to overcome during the internship?

The initial obstacle was having a job that was so repetitive. It was really frustrating at first, because you go to an internship expecting to learn so much, especially at a top-notch company like Anthropologie. I just needed to process it and realize I had an important role and was supporting my teammates, and once I got that through my head it was easier.

photo5 Ashley will be graduating in May of 2017, and will be looking to work as a stylist either at Anthropologie or another company that suits her. She also plans to expand as much as possible with her website, “The Ashley Edit.” Interviewing her was a fantastic and eye-opening experience, and I know she’ll bring great creativity and passion to the fashion industry.

Find Ashley on Instagram @theashleyedit and visit her blog theashleyedit.com

Words by Reilly Farris

Edit by Taylar Gomez and Carolina Gonzales

Photos from Ashley Nudge

Graphic Design by Kathryn Washington