Some may say that a girl’s best friend is a great pair of shoes. Now, imagine getting to work with shoes all… day… long. For Laura K., Merchandise Manager for shoes and accessories, this is reality. We sat down with Laura to learn more about her amazing job as well as a little bit about her, too — she is quite the fashionista, gals! Check out the interview below.
Name: Laura Khan
Occupation: Merchandise Manager
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do… I’m a Capricorn, a dog lover, married to a smarty pants and a new mom of the coolest kid in the world. I’m obsessed with interior design and party planning for any one of my friends — our accessories team is famous for office birthday parties! I manage the men’s and women’s shoe and accessories buying team for our website. We work with the store merchants, design and production teams to develop amazing AEO product and then buy styles from other brands (New Balance, Birkenstock, Timberland, etc.) to build an awesome assortment online.
What kind of projects do you find yourself working on from day to day? Our team manages four seasons at once, so we are analyzing sales, tracking shipping, buying or hind-sighting on any given day. Right now we are working on buying our Holiday 2014 collection, so I am spending a lot of time checking out new vendor assortments to see if we want to buy any of their product. There will be a lot of fun gifts in accessories this year and you are going to want to update your closet with at least five new pairs of shoes.
What do you love most about working with shoes? I like being able to shop the market, going to different trade shows to see product from our vendors AND working with our fantastic AEO shoe design and production teams. That gives us a lot of options to make sure that our collection is trend right and ties back to the apparel assortment. Shoes complete the outfit!
What made you want to pursue merchandising? I kind of fell into merchandising. I started out at AEO allocating skirts and dresses to all of the stores eight years ago. After about a year, I moved over to the web merchandising team because there was a lot of growth potential and I could get creative merchandising the web site and be focused on product. I started in web when there were only five merchants and now there are 30!
What are you obsessed with lately? Watching my son grow up.
Any upcoming vacations planned that you are excited about? Headed to Nags Head, Outer Banks in 2 weeks with our family! I can’t wait to sit my bum on a beach chair and watch the kids play and listen to the waves crash.
Five words to describe you: Sparkly, Neon, Happy, Smiley, Yes.
Favorite destination: St John, USVI. We went in January with some friends and every beach there was ridiculously gorgeous.
Favorite quote: If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely – Roald Dahl
What is the best advice you’ve ever received? Be kind. Work hard. Stay humble. Smile often. Stay loyal. Keep honest. Travel when possible. Never stop learning. Be thankful always. And love
And the advice you’d offer aspiring buyers? See above!
Three tasks on your bucket list. Travel the world, have a garden and ride horses.
If you were accidentally locked in AEO HQ overnight, what would we find you wearing in the morning? I would seriously have to call the AEOHotline if this happened to me, but luckily the Aerie team sits two rows down from me and they normally have a few samples lying around. And I’d have to hit up our AEO sample closet for a dress.
Favorite style of shoes? Booties. They look perfect with almost any outfit all year round.
Are there any accessories or shoes coming out this summer that you’re loving? Stacking earrings up your ear, I was surprised to see that I still had my second earring holes! I’m even contemplating getting more — crazy! Birkenstocks are back in a big way this year, I still have my Arizona’s from middle school, but I also have the Gizeh in black and Kairo in white. And now I want to buy baby Birks for my son.
What trends are you seeing with shoes and accessories for Summer and BTS? This is definitely the year of the sneaker. There’s a lot of print and pattern to spice up a basic outfit. Bandanas are a fun multi-use accessory to wear as a headband, bracelet, bun wrap or tie around the strap of a bag.
What trends would you like to see gone for Summer and BTS? Skorts!