Spotlight On: Ritika Sharma – Brand Innovation Alumna
Brand Innovation M.A.
Title of Thesis
Green Consumerism in the footwear industry
Hi Ritika, what have you been doing since graduating?
I am working at Beeline in Cologne as a Junior merchandise planner for Fine jewelry. My partner is Old Navy in the USA.
How did you join your current job at Beeline group?
It has been one year.
What are your responsibilities at your job?
I develop strategies to optimise sales performance across 1.600 Old Navy stores by maximizing merchandise plans, brand standards, product flows, and ensuring the seamless transition of seasonal product. I also analyse metrics and dashboards to draw insights, facilitate sound decision making and create strong action plans to achieve success including competitive benchmarking and analysis of market performance. I take part in business travels to the United States to assist with new store set ups, planning layouts and designing displays applying the latest best practices across retail trends, innovation and visual merchandise. Some other responsibilities include working with category managers to set pricing strategy, creating seasonal buying strategy and reviewing historical data and identifying best sellers, hits and misses.
What is the best thing about your job?
I think the traveling part is really fun and what I look forward to. However, I love looking at the performance of the products and how the customer behavior changes.
What do you think of first when you recall your time at BU?
“International” is the first thing that comes to my mind. I feel BU is extremely diverse and I always admired the fact that I interacted with so many classmates from all over the world.
Why did you choose to study at BU?
I loved the choice of courses and the curriculum. Also I took part in the workshop that BU had organized for interested students. I enjoyed that workshop thoroughly. It was insightful as well as challenging. I was impressed how in just a couple of hours we teamed up with people we never saw before, from different countries and cultures and how we still collaborated successfully. That made me feel that BU is the right choice. It was a positive feeling and my instincts told me to choose the BU direction.
Did you already know before your studies what you wanted to become? How did the BU shape your career plans?
Yes, I did know what I wanted and what kind of an environment I wanted. BU being so diverse in nature helped me become more confident in general. I honed my public speaking skills due to the presentations we created for our International Band Communication classes. The University also helped me work on my analytical skills. This is because I had the opportunity to study subjects like data science. Apart from that, I was always given career guidance from professors I looked up to. The faculty always found time to guide the students in the right direction.
Which experience do you remember in particular?
I remember the time of writing my exposé the most, where I spent innumerable number of hours researching about my topic. I remember being overjoyed once my exposé was approved and later I had a great time interviewing people for my thesis. The aim of my thesis was to investigate what kind of consumers are inclined towards a young brand like Veja, which is known for its vegan sneakers. On the other hand, the paper explored the inclination of customers towards an American multinational brand, Nike, which is also now recently, spearheading the sustainability arena. This was an interesting time during my studies and I surely would remember it always.
What do you advise students to do so that they can make the leap into their career right after their studies?
I think my advice would always be to stay curious and ask questions. Curiousity will help one understand where they want to be and asking questions will help to understand how to get there. If you feel your life is getting erratic and you need a direction – choose a person who you look up to and try to follow their footsteps if you cannot reach out to them. You will find the answers along the way.
In terms of BU, do take advantage of the knowledge that faculty has to offer, be proactive and again, ask many questions.
What do you have in mind for the future?
I will definitely start my own fashion brand in a few years, which would be focusing on equal pay for the workers.
Hamburg was for me…
Where can you be found when you’re not working?
Probably at a Vietnamese restaurant. 😉