AE Friends & Family: Allison M., Women’s Accessories Merchandise Manager

AE Friends & Family: Allison M., Women’s Accessories Merchandise Manager

Meet Allison M., Women’s Accessories Merchandise Manager. Allison spends her day looking for the next big thing in accessories. Read below to find out more about her!

How did you discover your passion for buying accessories?

It’s a pretty funny story that probably goes back to when I was five.  Apparently wherever we went, whether it was to the grocery store or to an amusement park, I always wanted to buy something.  My dad actually warned my now-husband when he first met him that I can’t go anywhere without finding something that I want to buy.  The more adult version of the story is that my father owned a restaurant and I worked there since I was 13, so I knew I wanted to do something related to business. I always loved fashion and had come across Fashion Merchandising as a major and the idea of it interested me… I guess the rest is history.

How did you get your start in merchandising?

I went to the University of Delaware and had a great networking group throughout my college experience.  When I came in to my senior year, I realized I had enough credits to finish up in one semester so I reached out to some former UD students who were already in the industry and landed an interview at Liz Claiborne.  There was an assistant position open in accessories for Lucky Brand and as “luck” would have it (no pun intended), I got the job and moved to NYC a week after I graduated.

Allison Mace American Eagle Outfitters Accessories Merchandising Manager New York City

Allison’s Instagram of New York City

What do you think are the biggest accessory trends for Spring?

With all of the color and print trending in apparel, I’m really feeling anything neutral in accessories.  I also think pastel makeup colors play well off of color.  My essentials for summer festivals are fun printed scarves, a pair of espadrille sneakers, a baseball cap, and a mini-backpack.  Bring on the sun!

Do you have any tips for accessorizing?

I always say less is more.  If I’m going for a “neck look” I usually wear a simple long necklace OR a scarf, but not both.  I don’t like to over do it with jewelry, so I’ll wear 2-3 bracelets for a slightly layered look and then go subtle with the ears.  I was so glad when studded earrings in mismatched pairs started to trend because I have a tendency to lose things and for years I’d been wearing mismatched earrings. Before this people would always look at me weird, but apparently my look is acceptable now!

Who or what has been the most important influence in your life?

My Dad.  He had me working at eight weighing hamburger patties in his restaurant. Needless to say, my work ethic can be attributed to him. Till this day he reminds me of my values and how I was brought up.  Before I moved to NYC he wrote me a letter, basically his words of wisdom, and I still pull it out and re-read it from time to time.

What is your dream job?

Owning my own boutique and stationary line.  It sounds completely crazy, but I grew up in an entrepreneurial environment and so did my husband, so I guess it makes sense!  I love making my own cards (I actually made all of my ‘save the dates’ for my wedding) and I am excited because next month I’m finally taking a letter pressing class at a shop in my neighborhood!

What is next on your ‘To Do In Life’ list?

My husband and I have been talking about going to Vietnam for over a year and we’re finally going next month!  I love to travel, so I have a bucket list of places that I want to go before we start a family.  Here’s to racking up frequent flyer miles!

How would you describe your style? 

Definitely downtown, boho with a little edge.  I tend to get bored with my look easily, so I feel like for months I’m all about color and then I go for weeks wearing only black.  I guess the same goes for my hair, I’ll spend a year growing it out and then one day chop it off.  I also love vintage or vintage inspired jewelry.  I’m constantly scrounging the stores in my neighborhood in Brooklyn for new things.

How does your work influence your style?

It does from every angle!  I’ve always said this is the best job – I get paid to shop! Well, it’s a little more complicated than that, but in all truth I’m constantly looking for “what’s next”, which is probably why I get bored with my own style so quickly.

Where do you find your inspiration?

I think it helps that both my husband and I work in fashion, because while at work I’m engrossing in product and at home and outside of work I’m influenced more form an artistic prospect thru print and digital media and the things that he is working on.  I’m a very visual person, so besides going to galleries or museums, I love to just walk for hours and take in inspiration from my natural surroundings.  I used to live in LA, and actually walked for miles there too, which is not so normal!

Allison Mace American Eagle Outfitters Accessories Merchandising Manager and her husband Tuan

Allison and her husband Tuan (who is also AE’s hairstylist!)

What is your favorite part of your job?

The product! It’s amazing to see product go from concept to the store.  And probably the most rewarding part is seeing the sales!  Nothing feels better than knowing that you got it right and your customer responds to your assortment.  

Have you traveled anywhere cool for your job?

When I first started out in the industry I had to travel to LA and Vegas a lot, at 22 it was pretty awesome having an entire suite to myself at places like the Venetian and having dinner at restaurants on Sunset Blvd.  Especially when I was broke and the company was paying for it!

Allison Mace American Eagle Outfitters Accessories Merchandising Manager Malibu

One of Allison’s favorite spots when she lived in LA – Malibu!

You are married to our hairstylist, Tuan. How did you meet?

It’s a funny thing how living in NYC can be so big yet so small at times… we met at a mutual friend’s birthday party that was actually taking place at my friend’s restaurant.  We had both known the friend pretty much the entire time we’ve lived in the city but had never met!

Allison Mace American Eagle Outfitters Accessories Merchandising Manager Maine

An Instagram from Allison & Tuan’s honeymoon in Maine.

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