Founded in 1984, Fossil originally opened its doors to the public as an accessories store. Now, the company offers a range of women and men’s appeal, exclusive watch collections, accessories and footwear. Fossil represents authentic American culture, innovation, creativity, and optimism. Both a company and brand, Fossil is the pioneer when it comes to American vintage products. By designing watches and accessories for brands such as Michael Kors and Tory Burch, they have extended their creativity to represent something greater.
Being a prestige company, Fossil's corporate leaders are selective in who they choose as interns. With elevated expectations and a high GPA requirement, the company only selects the best. This weekend I had the privilege to interview UNT student, Marcy Plefka, one of the few Summer 2015 Product Development interns. Together, we discussed what it took for her to become and excel as a Fossil intern.
Name: Marcy Plefka
Hometown: Hurst, Texas
Major(s): Merchandising and Digital Retail
My name is Marcy Plefka, and I am a double Major in Merchandising and Digital Retailing at the University of North Texas. I interned with Fossil in their men’s watch product development team, so I was the fossil men’s watch product development intern.
How did you find the Internship?
[I first heard about the Fossil] internships when I went on the[Dallas] study tour with Mr. Last. We visited Fossil and I [remember] thinking, “Hey I would like to work here.” I heard the internship was difficult to get but I was up for the challenge. I was fortunate enough to get the internship after applying and I started the job soon after. There were not many positions in the DFW area for product development jobs so that’s why I applied.
How was your internship structured? What were your day to day duties?
We got an intern road map on day one. It [the road map] explained to us how we were to interact with our mentors, our duties and schedules. We had stakeholder meeting which set [us] up with different people in different areas of the companies.... Just to see what they did and how [their jobs] related to product development. [As an intern] I picked up samples, tracked them, learned how to price everything, and pulled selling reports. I also got to work on look books for men’s and women’s styles. I got an inside look as to how [a product design] got from [the designer's] brain to the stores.
Would you say the internship was fast paced, and were you taught along the way? If so, did the learning process ever make you feel overwhelmed?
I actually came on a “LIP week” which is when we [established the season's styles]. This was probably the most inconvenient time to come in. Our mentors were really stressed out, and they didn’t have time at the moment to show me the ropes. But, luckily it was a 14-week internship so I got to see the production stages repeat themselves. [In other words] I got to see the different orders [for the] different seasons. At first it was a little bit overwhelming, but I ended up being able to connect all the dots. I wouldn’t say that it was fast paced. I just had to get the hang of it. Though, there [was] always [the chance that] something could happened or change. Say a client like Nordstrom wanted one of our watch designs, but they wanted it custom tailored so only Nordstrom could have it. [That could] add stress to our design team and make everyone move and change faster.
What was the company culture like at Fossil? Was it relaxed or more professional?
[The culture] was absolutely relaxed. The amenities that Fossil offers their employees were really cool. We would have "Re-Charge Wednesdays" which was like happy-hour with coffee. The dress code wasn’t strict. You could wear ripped jeans to work or sandals and t-shirts... you just [had to] look presentable. I always felt comfortable talking to everyone and I felt like I could always connect with anyone if I needed to.
What would you say is the most valuable piece of information you learned during your internship? What did you learn that you'll be able to take with you throughout your merchandising career?
The most valuable thing [I learned] would be just knowing when to communicate and how to communicate. Since everyone is always doing a thousand things at once, it’s good to check in with your boss or your co-workers and let them know that you’re doing your job. That's what my manger liked about me the most. I always checked in with her even without her asking [me to], just so she knew I was on [the task and] had it covered. Sometimes people get so busy and forget that they gave you a job to do, so it’s good to check in and reassure them that the task has gotten done. What I will take with me throughout my merchandising career is curiosity - always asking questions and doing something that’s a little out of [my] comfort zone. That’s something that I will forever push for and keep doing throughout my career.
Interested in pursuing a Product Development internship at Fossil? Check out https://www.fossilgroup.com/ and click on Careers for more information.
Copy: Amani Wells-Onyioha, Careers Writer
Photos c/o Marcy Plefka
Graphic 1: Ashley Nudge, Editor-in-Chief