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Operational Excellence Course

My Q2 stretch goal for 2023 is to create the beginning of an online course about the apparel industry. At first, I wasn’t sure if anybody would be interested in the kind of course that I’m hoping to produce, but then it occurred to me: This course is being made for all the younger versions of myself who needed it.

As a junior in high school, I had decided to start researching Fashion Design programs across the country. I could find information about the best schools out there, the classes they offered and their ranking among the others. But I found very little information about different paths I could take to ensure my following career was set up however I wanted. I would have benefited so much from an easily accessible course that taught me some of the high-level basics about the industry, its wide variety of available roles and how to focus my efforts for the upcoming years at school. My initial course is made for this seventeen-year-old me, in hopes that other potential apparel professionals gain a leg up before heading to a fashion school.

I was lucky in my education to gain eighteen months of on-the-job internship experience before I graduated. After trying graphic design, merchandising, creative design and technical design, I knew where my talent was. I also knew what I loved to do and how I wanted to start my career. But I fear that this is rare in the fashion world. Too many students are only taught the fundamentals of creative design or of fashion merchandising, without being exposed to the business side of the industry at all. There is a huge amount of opportunity in learning business planning, microsoft excel spreadsheets and the numbers side of the business that I hope to also expose in these courses.

I think about myself as a young Associate, just a couple years into my first professional job next. I was hungry to learn as fast as possible to prove myself to my managers. And while I now understand the reasoning behind their slow, measured approach to teaching me my skills, a supplemental course would have done me so much good. Not only would it have given me the chance to learn more about what I was craving to know, it may have also fulfilled that need I had, which might have allowed me to embrace the slower approach at work. I certainly would have been a much more tolerable co-worker, and might have been able to bring more to the table with my additional knowledge.

Just before I turned thirty, I felt increasingly frustrated in wanting someone to recognize my talent and promote me to a higher level at work. I did understand that I needed to be doing the job I wanted before they would give me the role, but had too few mentors to teach me how to get there. This, above all others, is the number one reason I am creating this course. It is so difficult to fight for promotions at corporations these days, and if I can give people leverage by helping them learn beyond their current role with these videos, then that is completely worth it to me. Learning and growing into bigger and better roles opens up financial doors that too many are struggling to open. I want to help with that, because we all deserve the opportunity to prove our value in that next role we want.

Finally, as I closed out my career in corporate apparel, my leadership role afforded me the opportunity to seek out continuing education opportunities so I could help our team improve our processes. I wanted to know how other brands and other experts were running their businesses, so I could help us excel and be more efficient. As a manager, your number one priority is to take care of your team. And when you see them stressed and burned out, figuring out these new ways of working could turn everything around.

My top personality trait is “Learner.” I love to learn, and always feel so fulfilled when I’m taking a new class or course. This project of mine is for all of you other learners out there. May we all continue to be fulfilled by teaching each other what we know and learning how to grow every day.

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