Nancy Zauscher On Business For Fashion Designers
Here at Brand Assembly we're in the business of building a solid infrastructure for emerging and contemporary fashion designers. From the inspiring energy at the Square to our seasonal tradeshows, there is always something new and exciting happening for our team. Just ask our Sales and Logistics Coordinator Nancy Zauscher.
"The ambiance at Brand Assembly is enticing for the whole team," Nancy explained, "It's diverse but a passion for fashion underlies all of us so it is easy to enjoy being at the workplace." That passion is something that has translated into Nancy's day-to-day at the Square. Her commitment to helping emerging designers understand the importance of business practices, operations, and data is something we're excited to showcase, as it's a crucial element in helping our designers grow. We caught up with Nancy at the office where she let us shadow her for the morning around the Square. She also shared her experiences as a student, her tips for fashion brands, and a few of her current favorite Brand Assembly designers. Check out our full chat and learn more about Nancy's role on our team below.
Please introduce yourself!
I’m Nancy Zauscher, I'm part of the team at Brand Assembly as the Sales and Logistics Coordinator. Since our last chat, we have gained more clients for our back office services and our team has grown. All of these changes make being a part of Brand Assembly a thrilling experience.
As a student and fashion professional, how would you say your perspective on the industry has changed? What have been some of the most important and eye-opening things you’ve learned in your role at Brand Assembly?
Although similar to an MBA given that it focuses in business management, my program is a MPS (Master of Professional Studies) in Global Fashion Management. The MPS is made for professionals and allows me to work while pursuing the degree. However challenging that may be some times, it is exhilarating to be surrounded by so many inspiring experiences in the world of fashion, both at Brand Assembly and FIT.
I think a valuable insight that my role at Brand Assembly has given me is realizing that in the fashion industry being (both people and products) in the right place, at the right time is adamant. It is a time-critical industry. We had a customer of our Shop in Shop at Lord & Taylor who was always shipping late, and who sometimes even sent wrong items! We got tired of that and stopped buying from them, and that just shows how it can affect a business. Awareness on being timely and opportune is why we try to ensure these mishaps do not happen with our back office clients.
Give us a refresher on your role. What about your job combines both analytical and creative thinking?
My role is to provide operational support to emerging designers from when they design their collection and start collecting orders at the beginning of the season, to when that collection ships to customers. I gather all of the sales orders so that the designers know what they have to produce, something which can be both captivating and analytical. Having all the information about styles, collections, sales or canceled orders provides an excellent foundation for making informed business decisions. This vast amount of information is an opportunity for creativity to come into play, as approaching the data and the logistic challenges we face differently may render different solutions. Although all efforts are aimed at minimizing errors, there are often unforeseen challenges in logistics management and you have to be creative to find practical solutions!
As someone who is on the business side of the industry, what advice can you offer to emerging designers who need and want to tap into this aspect of their business more thoroughly?
My advice for designers would be the following:
- Build a brand that is unique and be cohesive with what it communicates.
- Do not underestimate the importance of the bottom line: you can have a great collection, but if it is not profitable, the brand may struggle for survival, so mind your margins. You have to really crunch the numbers to understand all of your costs and expenses to ensure your sales are covering everything. This is often not well done but it is probably the most important thing in running a business.
- Be organized: you need to have a plan and a schedule for everything from sales to production to delivery!
With a nod to our recent #SQries event, what role does technology play in your job and how do you think it enables success for emerging designers?
We manage some of our client’s e-commerce orders, and we can tell how important an online presence is for their business and how closely connected social media is to their online sales.
For me, it helps me view the result of the operations services I perform on the day to day. I can see our clients promoting at a retail event or a tradeshow and I know that it wouldn’t have been put together without our input, so it is very fulfilling. Furthermore, my job relies on technology. I work daily on an ERP system (Enterprise Resource Planning) where we manage all of our clients’ processes.
Technology in the fashion industry is rapidly and continuously evolving and is making many processes increasingly effortless. I would say, to emerging designers, that technology is an investment in their brand’s growth and development, be it to ease inventory keeping, accounting, developing communication strategies or collecting orders, to name a few.
What inspires you the most about working specifically with emerging and contemporary designers?
The clothes, haha! But seriously, knowing that I play an important role in helping Brand Assembly’s clients grow. Being witness to the development of their businesses is inspiring.
As a member of the team you know that Brand Assembly prioritizes having fun in fashion and work! Do you have any tips on doing this while at the office?
The ambiance at Brand Assembly is enticing for the whole team. It's diverse but a passion for fashion underlies all of us so it is easy to enjoy being at the workplace. We have great music on and you could easily find me humming or singing out loud! My tip: give in to the power of the music in this fashionable environment. I also find it healthy to take a break when I need one and maybe start a conversation with someone at the Square. The people at Brand Assembly can always surprise you with engaging and varied stories.
Being in a very analytical role, how do you stay creative and fun in your style? If you could come to work only wearing three Brand Assembly designers who would you choose and why?
Part of why I have chosen this career is that I love working with creative people to absorb their passion. I love working in an environment like the Square where the aesthetic is very inspiring to have your own sense of style. I love the designs of two clients who are two of my best accounts: Rachel Antonoff and Maison Mayle and, from the Square, Marco Lebel’s showroom labels are amazing. Rachel’s clothing is vibrant and carries an empowering message for women. Maison Mayle has sophisticated, romantic, timeless pieces, and Marco’s labels are fun and modern.
In your role at Brand Assembly, what do you hope to assemble daily?
I hope to assemble the pieces of the logistics puzzle that allow our clients' operations to go smoothly, so that they may focus their energy in designing the exceptional pieces they deliver to us for our viewing and wearing pleasure.