Becoming a YMA FASHION SCHOLARSHIP FUND Scholar

In my fall of Junior year at UF, I stumbled upon an amazing scholarship opportunity with the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund. To enter, one must write a case study creating a new line (anything from fashion, shoes, home-wear, etc.) for JCPenney which targeted the Millenial generation. We were tasked with developing the business plan, marketing and advertising tactics and strategy, projected revenue and even developing/designing eight items for our line. For some this might seem daunting, but my entrepreneurial spirit and dream of one day owning my own clothing company made me instantly intrigued. After long nights of brainstorming, writing and revision (14 pages is a lot shorter than it may seem to get a convincing idea across!) my idea for Wanderlust Activewear was born.

YMA FSF scholarship
Fast forward through about a month and a half of anxiously awaiting a response from the judges panel to the day where I received the call saying I had not only been chosen as a winning YMA FSF scholar, but based upon being the highest scoring entry from UF I had won an ADDITIONAL scholarship in the honor of Alan Zwerner! Besides the money prize, being chosen by the judges really validated that my passion for fashion COULD lead to a career I always dreamed of! It might sound nerdy but I absolutely loved working on the case study and was thrilled to learn that they loved what I produced!

Karlie Kloss at 2014 YMA Fashion Scholarship gala at Waldorf Astoria, NYC
Karlie Kloss at 2014 YMA FSF gala at Waldorf Astoria, NYC

The scholarship also included an all inclusive trip to NYC for a gala with the industry’s biggest and brightest at the Waldorf Astoria and a job fair the following day. Not bad for a first immersion into the city! And yep, I did totally get to meet Karlie Kloss there. She’s SO nice and normal!

Through my involvement with the YMS FSF I found my job with the children’s clothing company Kahn Lucas working as the Marketing and E-Commerce Intern. I know what you’re thinking, children’s clothing isn’t exactly what you imagine first when picturing a fashion career in Manhattan. Yet, I was able to learn immensely from my time there, sparking an interest in e-commerce, digital marketing and even sparking my love for cause-related retail. I was working with my team on a campaign with CARE to donate dress making kits to families in Liberia. (To learn more about when cause-marketing first appeared on my radar, learn more about my time in Berlin.) Also, my president at Kahn Lucas was the sole reason for Calvin Klein Jeans and Tommy Hilfiger not becoming extinct in America years back…pretty amazing lady to work with!!

YMA FSF scholar social

Aside from the numerous perks of being a YMA FSF scholar, we had organized events and breakfasts with executives of companies involved in the organization throughout the summer. Yes, basically a dream come true for any young person passionate about the fashion industry, especially me! These events, including private breakfast with the COO of Barneys New York before opening hours (may or may not have been my first visit to Barneys…) were far too informative and inspirational to be tacked onto this post. See YMA FSF Part 2 will be coming soon πŸ™‚

If you are still in college, I cannot stress how amazing this opportunity is if you have an interest in the fashion industry for your future. See their website for more information, applications open each fall semester. (If you are at UF but aren’t interested in applying to this, I still highly recommend reaching out to the Miller Retail Center, they were such a help in my last few years in school as I started searching for a career!) Please let Β me if you have any other questions about the YMA or retail industry in general, I’d love to share more information!

Xx,

Jess

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