Product Developer Emily Wiley November 21, 2008
Introduction Laura Dudney is the Product Coordinator for Fossil Men’s eyewear and for their otherbrand, Relic. Fossil corporate is located on 2280 N. Greenville Avenue in Richardson, TX75082. Their phone number is (972) 699-2280 and Laura’s email address isldudney@Fossil.com. Fossil has always been an influential fashionable company, and when I called around tofind connections, Laura Dudney, the product coordinator for Fossil, was the first person Ithought of, since she was a close friend of my future sister-in-law and my brother at theUniversity of Texas at Austin. My brother had always talked to her about how her and I wereworking towards the same degree and would tell me all of the opportunities that she obtained. Iknew instantly that I wanted to know what it was like to be in her shoes, especially after she gother dream job shortly after graduation. Fossil has also always been one of my favorite stores,since I love their style and their products. “Fossil is modern vintage,” which is exactly what mystyle is and one of the reasons I chose to do my career connection there. Working withmerchandise that I find interesting will provoke my creative aspirations and I wanted to seefirsthand how the Fossil Company works. The company is exactly where I would love to work,which I found out after research that was done on the company background before going in toshadow Laura. The atmosphere is very relaxed with creativity being a necessity with excellentbenefits and reasonable requirements. Fossil started out as a fashionable watch company and eventually grew into anaccessories and apparel store, along with the watches. Their target market is between the ages of25 and35, and is illustrated through their core customers “Mark and Julie”. They are young at
heart and fashionably trendy with an appreciation for the past. The price point is about $20 to$300, depending on the merchandise being purchased. Description The responsibilities of the position of product coordinator is involved with productdevelopment, including researching trends and creating trend boards to illustrate the direction thecurrent line should go in. Product coordinators get to work closely with other countries,especially for overseas production, such as China, primarily Hong Kong. In this particular case,Laura is a part of a team called the “warriors of weather” meaning that they work with productslike sunglasses, soft leathers, and accessories pertaining to different seasons. As productcoordinator, Ms. Dudney’s job was to send ideas in terms of color and shape of men’s eyewearto China in order for them to send her a sample back. She would then re-sketch the sunglassesand change the label or any other aspect of the glasses that she believes could be improved andsends them back to production. According to Ms. Dudney, in order to work in this field a potential employee needs to beable to work with people and be a team player due to much collaboration with production inChina and the design team. Also, one needs to have strong opinions and be able to back up theirdesigns. Rejection of a design may be relatively common, so someone that wants to work in thefield needs to be able to take criticism and not let it affect them personally. Being hardworking,creative, and resilient are also good qualities to have. She highly recommends retail experience,because it is necessary to gain skills such as knowledge about the product, point of sale,inventory, connecting with customers and management, learning sales plans, and how to know ifsales are behind or ahead of the sales from the year before. This will help to develop products inways that will satisfy customers because of the understanding of how sales works.
Ms. Dudney’s career path was different than most college graduates, in the sense that itwas much easier. She attended the University of Texas at Austin and obtained her bachelor’sdegree in Fashion Merchandising. While in college, she did an internship with Stanley Korshakin Dallas. The internship taught her what it was really like to work in the fashion industry,including getting to know the core customer and the image of the company and how it operates.What she really stressed as being important to her career path was her job in retail when she wasin high school and college. She worked for BCBG for two years, an experience that she claimedto greatly help her in being successful in her current position. Working in retail truly helped herto understand the customer’s needs and wants along with teaching her how to work in theemployee’s position, learning what sells and how to sell it. When it comes to Ms. Dudney’s most and least liked aspects of the job, getting tocollaborate in a team environment and see her creativity come to life is high on her list. Since herresponsibilities are never the same from day to day, so it is difficult to become bored. Getting towork on the spring line, the most important line for Fossil, is also one of her favorite projects towork on. Her least liked aspect is the stress that comes along with deadlines and having to keepthe lines up when they are having problems. For example, Fossil’s line Relic is not catching onas well with customers, so Ms. Dudney’s job is to reinvent it to try and make it more popular.The advantages of the position are a good discount in all Fossil stores, freedom to pursuecreativity, a big responsibility, and great benefits. Benefits include a 401 K plan, medical, dental,and vision insurance, tuition reimbursement, a casual work environment, flexible spendingaccount, employee assistant program, discount on licensed and fossil brands, paid time off andholidays, as well as life and AD&D insurance, a discounted gym membership and even a free
watch for new employees. The disadvantages are once again the stress and the criticism thatcomes along with creating your own designs. Personal Analysis When I first walked into the Fossil corporate office, I was thoroughly impressed withlobby and the way it was decorated and exactly how “Fossil” it was. Shortly after, I met LauraDudney, a friend of my future sister-in-law and my brother from college that got a job as aproduct coordinator at Fossil a mere five months earlier. As she was answering my questions andleading me around the entire office I was in awe of what I was hearing and seeing, mainlybecause it is the job I have dreamed of. Travel is involved, although not as much now because ofthe economy, and it is a mixture of design and merchandising, basically the job I have beenhoping to find ever since I decided to work for a dual-degree between both majors. Ms. Dudneyshowed me her trend boards, there were two in her cubicle, and I got to see the ideas behindFossil men’s eyewear. Ms. Dudney gets the samples of men’s sunglasses that come in in a verybasic form from China, and then she sketches up her ideas to make them more “Fossil.” Thisnormally involves her first sending them pictures of her trend board and of the shapes that shebelieves will be big for the upcoming season, and when she receives the prototypes back shelooks them over and sketches out her ideas for improving the color and the logo and even thetypes of lenses and sends them back for full production. This career would be perfect for me dueto the creativity that is directly involved as an everyday aspect along with the actualmerchandising involved. Travel is an added bonus, to get to see production in China along withNew York and other fashion capitals would be amazing.
I would be successful in this career due to my skills in design and in merchandising,along with my passion for fashion. I work well in a team environment, can work independently,and can also take direction if needed. This career surprised me because I never expected there tobe design involved, since I always considered merchandising and design careers to be relativelyseparated when primarily in the merchandising side of it. This is truly the career I have alwaysbeen dreaming about, and Ms. Dudney was the person to show me. I never knew what productdevelopment was about before shadowing her and she really opened my eyes to a newpossibility.Picture of Laura (on the right) and I (on the left)
Laura Dudney’s Business Card Questions 1. Are you able to sketch and actually design in this position? 2. I read that fossil collaborates with other countries; does that mean that traveling is a main aspect of your career? 3. After you graduated college, how many jobs did you apply for before getting this one? 4. What internships did you do while in college and how did they help you? 5. I read that Fossil collaborates with some prestigious brands such as marc by marc Jacobs, Diesel, DKNY, and Michael Kors. Do you get to work for them in your position?
Emily Wiley1621 Maple StreetDenton, TX 76205November 18, 2008Ms. Laura Dudney, Product CoordinatorFossil2280 N. Greenville Ave.Richardson, TX 75082Dear Laura,Thank you for the opportunity you provided me to shadow you for the afternoon! I gained a lot ofinsight into what you do for your career and it made me look forward to hopefully being in yourshoes one day! I loved learning about how you get to still get to design in your field.The next time I visit fossil I will have a greater appreciation for the work that goes in behind thescenes of the Fossil products. Thank you for sharing your time and knowledge of the field with me!Sincerely,Emily WileyUniversity of North Texas Student