Fashion Industry Partner Q&A: Sally Alex

Sally AlexSally Alex is President and CMO of the jewelry company Roman & Sunstone, a division of iStar Jewelry Group. Having also previously worked at Avon Products, Inc., Ms. Alex has been involved with LIM College for more than 10 years. She has served on the LIM Fashion Education Foundation board, regularly recruits LIM interns, and recently worked on a product-launch project with a committed group of LIM students.

Please tell us about the project you’re working on with LIM College students.
I’m involved in a project with Professor Marla Greene’s highly engaged students. These students, who are part of the National Retail Federation Student Association, worked on analyzing the jewelry market to make recommendations for Bella Uno, a new lifestyle brand Roman & Sunstone developed with jewelry made out of recycled metals. I was very impressed by the quality of the students—I wanted to hire some of them right then and there!

What are some areas of LIM students’ education that you’ve helped with?
I think I’ve given students challenging projects to participate in and contribute to. This could include assessing the marketplace, determining whitespace, building a line plan, providing design and development ideas, or even sitting in with buyers.

How is LIM College regarded in the world of fashion?
What sets LIM apart is the College’s focus on real-world experience. LIM requires students to do internships, and I cannot stress how important that experience is in preparing students for the ever-changing world of fashion.

What roles have LIM interns held at your companies?
I’ve had many LIM interns at Roman & Sunstone, and at Avon where I led the Fashion & Home business in the U.S. and Global Jewelry. They’ve been involved in areas ranging from strategy to showroom management and everything in between.

Why is interning particularly important if you want to have a fashion career?
It’s such a great opportunity for students to understand a company from the inside out. They interact with company leaders, designers, product development experts, buyers, and merchants.  Nothing beats real-life experience. It also helps them determine what they love and where they want their career to go. Ideally, they get a job offer and make valuable career contacts.

What sort of reputation do LIM interns and graduates have in the fashion business?
LIM students enter the workforce with a better understanding of this business. They have more self-confidence and are able to advance faster than other entry-level employees. They understand the creative side of fashion and the business aspect. LIM students just get it and that is a big deal for employers.