We recently spoke with Edith Schneider about two of the Merchandising courses she will be teaching this Spring. Here are some interesting tidbits about the courses and Edith’s experience. Remember the Merchandising certificate only requires 18 units!
Cañada Fashion Department (CFD): What is your background in merchandising and why is it important?
Edith Schneider (ES):
I own and run my business “blue lemon :: art to wear
” since 2001. I design, fabricate and sell fashion and jewelry through wholesale and retail. It is very unusual to do the whole spectrum in one company, but I could never decide which part of the spectrum I like more and which part I like less, so I ended up doing it all.
The four major parts are: DESIGN – PRODUCTION – WHOLESALE – RETAIL. Usually a person chooses one part, she/he is for example a designer and has her/his designs produced by somebody else, offered as a wholesale product, then bought by a retailer and sold to the end consumer. Since I take care of all four parts I have great insight not only how things work, it is mainly how all those parts are connected and influence each other. And this is how I teach Fashion Merchandising. I want to open my students’ eyes to see those connections, to learn from them and make smart decisions at work, no matter if they are employed at a major apparel company or run their own small business.
CFD: How do you connect students merchandising?
ES: My class is an eye-opener class: I want to teach my students to find their path, and to make a smart decisions where they want to work. The bigger the company they choose, the smaller the area will be where they end up working. For example you want to work as a designer at Levis, you might end up designing leather accessories like wallets and clutches. This is great if you love to work with leather, and accessories are your passion. It might be boring for somebody who wants to design a new collection of spring outfits with all components involved, like pants, skirts, tops, cardigans, jackets, blouses, accessories etc. If you want to be in charge of choosing the fabrics and findings, design patterns, and control the production, you might be better of working for a small company where your responsibility and creativity is wider spread.
My hope is always that – by the end of the class – my students have a better idea of what they want to do and where they want to work after finishing College.
During the semester I invite guest speakers and we go on field trips and it happened that one of my students is getting hired right there, right from the person because they can connect with the guest speaker or our field trip location. Through my own business and the big network that I built up over the years I connect my students with matching opportunities, for example internships, which are always welcomed from both sides.
CFD: What do you have planned for Fashion Show Production?
ES: I’m really looking forward to this class. My goal is to represent all different areas of the Fashion and Merchandising department and make students curious about our classes and programs. Usually a fashion show is a promotion from a designer and the audience is the end customer who is convinced to buy the new styles and trends shown. For our Cañada Fashion show, the audience is encouraged to take our classes, enroll to our programs and get inspired by what we do. This said, our Fashion show will incorporate work from as many classes as possible, from our design competition,s and from departments we want to work together with: Spring 2015 will be the athletic department. So our fashion show will be a diverse mix to encourage existing students and invite new students to the program.