Life of Alumni: Shivani Raj
Shivani Raj, graduated from London College of Fashion in 2018 after studying MA Fashion Design Management. After completing her studies, Shivani now work as an Analyst for Saks in India. We caught up with Shivani to find out more about her role at Saks and what advice she could pass on.
Can you tell a little more about what you do in your current role at Saks?
I work as an Analyst with the Digital Operations Team at the India Office of Saks Fifth Avenue. My job includes product categorisation to ensure all products are placed in relevant categories with the appropriate product copy and style refinements. The process requires our team to work in liaison between buyers, digital lifecycle teams and studios in relation to item Setups. Furthermore, as an analyst, I am also responsible for brand merchandising, planning the launch of a product based on Collection Launches, restocking & promotions.
After studying Fashion Design, why did you make the move into Analytics?
After completing my Bachelors in design, I moved to Merchandising with H&M, to experience the business aspect of the industry. As I set my foot, I felt more intrigued with production processes, brand merchandising planning and launch.
I feel my shift to Analytics opens the scope to understand the traditional luxury brands, and the ever evolving new players in Luxury. Especially in the times of Covid, more and more analysts are required by the Brand itself, to meet the online demands of every customer.
How did you find your role at Saks in India?
I found my job at Saks through Linked In Premium and connected on LinkedIn with the employees already working at Saks to find more about the Brand Values and Policies.
In your opinion, what skills are essential to do your job to a high standard?
An understanding of retail ecommerce along with strong communication, interpersonal, analytical and problem solving skills. Knowledge about the luxury brands, their brand strategies and Brand Image also helps a lot, as they form the very core of the day to day work.
As the Fashion Industry moves towards a sustainable future, it is also important to be update about sustainable materials and processes, so as to incorporate the same while branding the Luxury products on the Saks Website.
What are your future careers aspirations?
My ambition would be to work as a Fashion Buyer or a Merchandise Manager with Saks, as that would give an opportunity to work directly with the products and the design house. I feel there is a great scope at Saks, as they have recently published on their huge expansion in Online retail (with Saks separating to form a brand independent from Saks Fifth Avenue)
What support did you receive from the LCF Graduate Futures team?
The LCF Graduate Futures Team have been helpful while at LCF and even after, when reaching India. At LCF, there were regular skill based interactive workshops with CV Reviews. There were many enthralling industry opportunities and the much awaited Careers Fair, where we had the opportunity to interact with Global Fashion Leaders.
On reflection, what advice would you give to students to prepare them to start their career?
I cannot focus enough on the importance of part time jobs/ internships/ projects, which a student can undertake alongside regular classes. These provide a learning experience with professionals who impart basic knowledge like time management- to a more skill based program (I learnt Adobe Photoshop during my internship, and would be ever thankful to my mentors). I would especially request the International students to go for a part time job/ internship in their area of Study, so as to have some Global Industrial Experience.