Apparel merchandising alumni Jordan Barnett says ‘no task is ever too little’

In the spring of 2012, Jordan Barnett met with UNIQLO at a career fair on campus. She was prepared to graduate that May with a degree in apparel merchandising.

“I knew I wanted to do this from the start,” she said. “I never wanted a ‘retail’ job. I was looking more for the business side of fashion.”

So, she decided to push herself and make sure she knew UNIQLO from the ground up. That allowed her to be successful when talking to recruiters and she ended up entering the management training program. Jordan worked at UNIQLO for six years before transiting to Strategic Fashion Partnerships at Walmart eCommerce in March.

Her management training consisted of three months at the 5th Avenue store in New York City, and two months in Tokyo. 

“When starting with a company, be open to all the possibilities and constantly be asking about growth opportunities,” Jordan said. “I was extremely vocal about wanting to grow with UNIQLO and had numerous conversations with upper management to make sure I was always on the right path.”

Jordan was tasked with managing and opening stores San Francisco and Los Angeles. After that, she moved to New York to join the Omnichannel department, which integrates user shopping experiences from brick-and-mortar to mobile-browsing, and everything in between.

“I love being able to interact with so many different departments at our headquarters,” she said. “I have a very cross-functional role and it gives me the ability to work with and learn from many different departments.”

Being from Los Angeles, she felt far from home while she was at IU. She was worried that since the campus is so large, it would never truly feel like home.

“Once starting, I never felt it was too large or overwhelming. By being in apparel merchandising classes all four years and seeing the same familiar faces every day, week, year, it felt much more manageable for me,” Jordan said.

She wishes someone had told her before she entered the workforce that no task is ever too little. 

“When starting in a new role you need to be open to doing everything and really learning the business from the ground up,” she said.

Her advice to current students is not to say no opportunities. 

“Do not say no to any opportunities! Even if an internship arises and it is not what you were originally looking for, it is good to step outside the box,” Jordan said. “The onlyway you will really learn what you want to do is by trying different opportunities and internships are the best way to do this.”

Connect with Jordan Barnett on LinkedIn, and connect with other apparel merchandising alumni by signing up for the Walter Center Success Network.

By Maureen Langley
Maureen Langley Graphic + Web Designer Maureen Langley