DECA Alumna Now Buyer for Zappos

Ja’Shae Jones competed in DECA as a high school student in Ohio, earned a DECA scholarship to FIDM, and graduated in 2014 with her degree in Merchandising & Marketing.

She’s now a buyer at Zappos, working at their headquarters in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Tell us a little about yourself: Hi there, my name is Ja’Shae also known as Shae. I am originally from Ohio and was always a small town girl with big dreams. My passion for the fashion industry started at a very very young age. Fashion in my eyes was a way to bring science and creativity together, which was a perfect fit for me as I am both very analytical and artistic at the same time!

FIDM was my dream school since I can remember. I knew that was where I wanted and needed to go to accomplish my goals of working in the fashion industry. It was then when I decided to take the next necessary steps to prep for college. I joined my high school’s Marketing Career Technology Program, which teaches students lifelong skills and they graduate with a strong connection to post-secondary education, making their transition to college and work easier. Then I joined DECA and competed in various competitions across the midwest.

When I got accepted into FIDM it was a dream come true! I packed up and moved across the U.S. all on my own to go after the dream. Attending FIDM was some of the best years of my life and I truly felt like I finally belonged and gained even more knowledge about the industry and life.

Where are you working? After graduating FIDM in 2014, I landed a merchandising internship at the Zappos headquarters in Las Vegas. Happy to say I have worked my way up to my dream job—I am a buyer for women’s clothing.

How do you feel FIDM prepared you? The work and projects we did at FIDM were almost exactly like actually working in the industry. FIDM gave us real life experiences in college to prepare us.

How did the DECA Scholarship you earned at FIDM help? The DECA scholarship definitely helped a lot! College was something I had to make happen on my own, and any scholarship was very much appreciated.

How was being a DECA member a perfect segue into FIDM? DECA also gave real life examples to prep you for problems and scenarios you could actually deal with in the industry.

How did you decide on your major? I took the Career Quiz on the FIDM site to sort of guide me to sort out my skills, traits and interests into what would be a good fit. I also spoke with some FIDM Career Advisors just to make sure I understood each clearly. Merchandise Marketing was my final choice, as I thought it covered multiple career options in the industry.

Any advice for a DECA member thinking about applying to FIDM? Definitely let your creativity show! DECA can give you that business savvy edge, but it’s great to show off your personal fashionista side to give the best of both worlds!

What is your biggest goal right now? My biggest goal as of now, is to soak up as much knowledge as I can from mentors all over the fashion industry to apply those to myself to grow as much as I can. AND of course to travel!

Anything else you’d like to share? If anyone has more questions, want to hear more of my story, need advice or just to chat feel free to contact me at jashaejones12@gmail.com or on Twitter @AllShaeAllDay!

This article was written by DECA National Advisory Board member and Corporate Social Media Correspondent, FIDM (Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising). You can follow FIDM on Twitter @FIDM, check out their blog and learn more about their partnership with DECA here

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