• Marlene Bond


Updated: Aug 29, 2019

It is finally time! Time to head to New York to attend the NRF Big Show in New York City. After spending time with my family in Alaska for the holidays, I was so excited to get the opportunity to head back to my favorite city. While I was sad to leave Alaska and my family I was very excited to get back to school. Where to even begin, I was so extremely excited to go on this trip, I had been planning my outfits for weeks, adjusting my resume all semester, and researching some good foodies in NY. I got on the plane at 8 am in Tucson and we were on our way to the big apple.

About 6 hours later we were finally there... I couldn't believe it I was back in NYC.


I was so excited for the first day of the Study Tour, it was all I had been looking forward to for the last couple of weeks. I woke up bright and early that morning. Leaving time to get my blonde roast coffee. We had a jammed packed day planned and I was ready for it all. The day 1 Itinerary included:

  1. Dolce and Gabbana Corporate Buying Office

  2. Macy's US corporate office

  3. Kohls NY Design Office

Dolce and Gabbana

Our first stop of the day was stopping at the Buying office of Dolce and Gabbana where we had a U of A alumni working as a planner. This was truly an incredible experience, not only did we get to be inside a luxury retailer buying office but we also got to learn more about what its like to be a mono-brand retailer. Often times at U of A we are taught what its like to buy for a department store with multiple offices as well as thousands of buyers/planners. Upon entering the showroom, which was incredible, sparkles, jewels, and fun prints everywhere. I was amazed at all of the amazing pieces of art that surrounded us. When the speakers began the presentation they each talked about their journey and how they ended up at Dolce. It was really interesting to hear how each of them started out in the various field but ended up in the same place. Most of the speakers started in some sort of luxury retailers such as Prada, Gucci, Bergdorf Goodman, etc. As they continued to speak on their journey they spoke more about how the buying process itself, this is what was most interesting to me. They spoke of how the designers design the entire line with the season's patterns and look. Next, the buyers come in and decide which products they want in different stores across the country. This process of buying was very unique to monospecific brands.


After a quick bite to eat Hollywood Dinner it was time for the next stop on our study tour. The US corporate office of H&M. I was so excited to attend the h&m office because personally, I love H&M as a brand and was really excited to learn more about the behind the scenes. Upon entering the office we were escorted to their showroom. It was really cool to see all of the showrooms and see what they had planned for the upcoming year. What was really unique about H&M was that they had an entire panel of different speakers that spoke of their different roles within the company. They had speakers that spoke of supply chain, merchandising, recruiting, etc. This was especially unique because you had a little piece of everything giving me a good idea of the types of jobs that laid within H&M.

After leaving the H&M corporate office we walked across the street to a local H&M store. At the store, we were greeted by the store manager as well as one of the stores visual merchandisers. We walked around the store learning about all of the different displays and categories around the store, looking into what was displayed on mannequins. This was especially interesting because H&M is such a fast fashion retailer so they change their visuals at least once a week. After looking at all of the categories around the store we were going to go look at their backroom. About 10 of us piled into the elevator to head to the basement. After the elevator doors shut there was a loud bang and the elevator stopped. Yup. We all got stuck in an elevator. There were 10 girls stuck in the H&M elevator for 15 min. We had to call the fire department to help get us out of the elevator. That was the end of our study tour for the day.

Kohl's Design Office, NY

After the day's festivities I was invited to the Kohl's design office for a tour and mixer event. The office was in a beautiful building with a very well designed office space. Upon entering the office there were so many people in the office it was overwhelming. We walked around and looked at the different showrooms and event spaces they had. They had an incredible view of the city and the empire state building, what a great photo opt. During the mixer, we spoke with merchandiser who currently lives in New York City who works in the design office as well as a planner who works in Wisconsin where their corporate office is located. Everyone that was at the mixer was nice and so excited to speak about their company. It was really nice hearing all of the different jobs that are offered within the company.

Wahoo done with day one! What an amazing first day, I couldn't wait for Day 2.

Day 2

After a good nights rest I was excited for the second day of our study tour. I woke up extra early this morning to get my morning coffee. While I thought the day before was a busy day, today was even more packed.

  1. Winston Retail

  2. Macy's

  3. 3x1 Jeans Mixer

Winston Retail

Winston Retail is a customer experience driven retail consulting service provided to retailers in need of this service. They lead the way in defining the consumer experience by creating unified commerce in retail, wholesale, and online channels. Before I heard the speakers of Winston retail speak of their company, I genuinely had no Idea what type of business Winston Retail was. What was really interesting to me was that Winston would work with real companies that were suffering in their visuals or their branding, they were then hired and assigned a specific part of the business that needed work. After defining a specific problem to a company they would then assign a team to work with the company to great new visuals or her rebrand the values and mission. After hearing more information on the company and some of their outlooks, we headed over to Macy's Herald Square to see a real-life display that was created by Winston. We looked at a watch display for Nixon watch company. Apparently, Nixon was having issues with their visual merchandise displays in Macy's stores. They wanted to create a more visually appealing display to reach their customers. It was really unique to see the before and after photos of the displays. After experience the whole picture of what Winston retail offers I was very excited of the ideal of Winston. They sparked a new idea in my mind that I had never thought about before.

Macy's Herald Square - Macy's Merchandising Office

After we learned a little bit about Macy's and Winston retail we attended one of their 3 corporate offices located in New York City. We listened to a panel of 3 U of A alumni that spoke of their experiences at U of A and how the retail program, as well as Eller college of management, have helped shape them to where they are today. We heard from 3 speakers that were in 3 different roles within Macy's.

  • Planning in Bridal

  • Buying in Women's Special Occasion

  • Product Development in Women's Private Label Shoes

I was really interested in the speaker that spoke about product development in women's private label shoes, specifically the INC private label brand of shoes. She spoke of how she started out at Macy's executive development program and moved into buying, after being in buying she realized that wasn't for her and moved to product development. In product development, she works with her team to receive a shoe and design it from there. Fitting the trends of design to fit the season of shoes that they are designing. After hearing the panel we were taken back to the physical Macy's store to look at the shoe section. It was really cool to her speak of the different shoes and even hear real stories of what went into the shoe designs. As a product developer, it was unique to hear how she thought of the sales based on the shoes she has designed and what types of information goes into creating these shoes. I was very interested in her position and could see myself doing something like this.

After leaving Macy's Herald Square we headed over to Macy's Merchandising office. In this office were greeted by one of the product developers for the Arizona Jeans Co. private label brand. We were sent to one of their showrooms for the brand where we saw samples as well as mood boards that they have created for the upcoming season. She spoke of how her team works with the current season to create and define the next season of clothes, picking the color pallet that they wanted to work within the future, how the buyers decide which products they want to purchase, what the bills look like that are sent to the manufactures and all of the little details in between. It was really cool to see how they took these mood boards that they created and brought them to live where they were able to create designs and from there create real-life samples. I was really amazed at all the valuable and new knowledge I have learned about Macy's.


After a long day we headed to SoHo for an Alumni mixer at 3X1 denim company. "Top to bottom, our NYC store is an homage to denim. The space houses a complete jean manufacturing facility, a one-of-a-kind experience to see inside the world of 3x1 jean-making." This was a really cool denim "factory" that created made to order jeans from millions of different types of denims. They have sold their luxury denim to celebrities around the world. It was a really cool experience this company and hear the owners story. During the mixer I was able to hear from Alumni from the retail program and here what they have found their jobs and how they transitioned from Tucson to New York.

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Address: Tucson, Arizona

Phone: (907) 347-4848


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