MPS Alumni Q&A: Associate Buyer, Claire's

  • Kyle Lerner
  • Class of 2019
Kyle Lerner

As a college graduate wanting to transition from the design field, Kyle decided to come to LIM College to earn a master’s in Fashion Merchandising & Retail Management. That degree enabled her to secure her current role as an Associate Buyer with Claire’s Stores in Chicago.

What was your educational background before coming to LIM College?
I had an undergraduate degree in Fashion Design from Parsons. I loved design, but I always knew I was more interested in the buying and merchandising end. I wanted to be the one determining what products go in an assortment. In all the previous places I worked as a designer, it was sometimes heartbreaking to see your hard work left in the dust.

What made you choose LIM for your master’s degree?
I was applying for jobs in merchandising and buying, and companies weren’t taking me seriously as someone who wanted to change fields—I never even got called for an interview. I knew I needed to get out of design. I chose LIM to pursue my master’s because of the flexible hours, the small class sizes, and the very qualified and knowledgeable faculty.

What does your role as an Associate Buyer at Claire’s Stores entail?
I’m in the License department, so I’m responsible for buying all the toys and non-Claire’s products you see at the stores. I love my job!

How did your LIM education help prepare you for what you’re doing now?
Retail math was probably the biggest thing that helped me prepare for my current role. Also, gaining critical thinking skills and working out how marketing affects merchandising. As a designer, I never saw that aspect.

What are some challenges you’ve faced along your career path?
My biggest challenge was getting people to take me seriously as a buyer. But as soon as I got my master’s, that changed. My life as a buyer is much less complicated than my life as a designer, and I prefer it that way.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?
Two things: First, at my first job in merchandising, we had a failing season in shorts, and I worked to curate the assortment and make changes to affect the following year. And it worked! Shorts were much more successful, and it was nice to see my hard work result in sales. Second, I’m really proud of my current role. It’s so worth the work, late nights, and dedication to see product that I got in stores selling.