Thursday, November 03, 2011

Developing a Fashionable Moon

An interview with young, Business Development Manager, Corey Niddam.

Corey Niddam, a 23-year old aspiring business developer, came to working in the family business of fast-fashion. Being cousins to the Mimran family, Corey shares his experience as a Production Manager for Alfred Sung International Sourcing and tells us a little bit about his new position as well as the competition that is dealt when up against other relatives

Oh, George: Describe your position.

CN: I work with a team of merchandisers. Currently working as the lead-on for Moon’s Men line at The Bay as well as working with moon ladies. My first season was last Holiday. It’s cool to see!

OG: What is a typical day like for you?

CN: I’ll usually start with development first, looking at fabric swatches approvals, any outstanding approvals, clearing out any outstanding things to do. We live and die by the ‘work in progress report’ which is basically an internal report that has a status of all of the things we need to keep track of in terms of development and production. So, that’s available on one paper that we need to update constantly. Then, we go into production. In terms of production, we need to make sure everything is on time. Ensuring our Q.C’s (quality control) are in the place they need to be and most importantly, to ensure we meet our ship dates and our obligations to our retailer which is, The Bay.

OG: What are some assets one must possess to be successful in this position?

CN: Good communicator, problem solver, quick on your feet. I can’t stress being a clear communicator enough. You need to know what you’re talking about and how to direct people to what they need. You need to be able to translate information, process it and, send it out but as clear and concise as possible. Being a big team player is huge. If you can think you can do it on your own, it is impossible. To have a good general background of the industry from your Fashion Management program will also definitely help you. If you’re passionate about it, it is the place to be.

OG: What are some of the advantages of working with a smaller company such as the Moon line?

CN: Having to work with a close group, you get feedback and a chance to make mistakes. They obviously oversea a mistake before it grows into a larger one but, I’d say having to work in the environment I’m currently in, I get to not only see everyone else's perspective but actually work in other areas as well. It’s valuable to be able to add versatility to your work ethics and that’s one part of the job that I love most.

OG: You grew up in a very entrepreneurial environment. Tell me a bit about it.

CN: I’m very fortunate to have a very entrepreneurial family. I love business. I took business courses and blended it with other courses, taking what I wanted and needed to know from University rather than focusing in on a specific. If I couldn’t find a job, I’d make my own job!

OG: Was it known from the get-go that you’d be a part of the family business?

CN: I had a choice as to what I wanted to do. This really interested me because moon the line was very young and it was a chance to be a part of something at the inception. I’m not going to say I’m a ‘fashionista’ by any point, but I do like the business in terms of the sourcing and working overseas and going to seeing factories. I’ve been around that for a long time. My family is all in international business, sourcing. My cousins started Joe Fresh and done Club Monaco so I’ve been around this for a very long time. If you were to ask me 5 years ago if this is what I thought I’d be doing--probably not. It’s been a very rewarding experience, I’m glad to play an instrumental part in putting someones’ vision of making something reality.

OG: What would you recommend one to do to better themself and eliminate competition?

CN: If you’re really serious, learn Mandarin. It is so important and respectful to be able to communicate with the people you are working with. Cultural literacy is very important for the business. They’ll respect you for formal things to do and not to do. I went with my dad across seas for the first time and got to learn. Don’t be afraid to do your own research and of course excel in school. Think outside the box, that’s what people need. We live in a very exciting world with many different outlets whether or not you can find a job, create your own job!

OG: Explain how team work is crucial in your business.

CN: Its multiple teams. Your team needs to be able to communicate with other teams. Communication is very important and just hard work. Especially now, there’s a ton of people who are willing to do what you want to do so when you are fighting for experience, you need to embrace as much as you can and show them that you are willing to do whatever it is that you can possibly do and you’ll get rewarded.

No one respects you if you go into work with a superego. My cousins are the designers and I am constantly having to prove everybody else wrong since I’ve been fortunate enough to have this opportunity but it has been a lot of hard work.

OG: What advice would you give someone that is interested in the fashion industry?

CN: Be persistent. A lot of people are going to tell you to help yourself or initially give you the helping hand you need but if you are a) patient and b) very persistent and show them that you are committed and if given an opportunity, don’t let it go to waste. Don’t be discouraged. You do a lot of hard work and it seems like it’s never ending which, in fact, it isn’t. Be determined and don’t hold back and be willing to work long hours and earn your strips because that’s the only way to be respected. A lot of people in the industry have been doing it for a long time and you need to be able to go above and beyond. Don’t expect people to be rubbing your back every two minutes--stick to your goals. If they see you’re willing to put in the effort, people will come help you. I’ve seen people be pre-Madonna like and they don’t make it.

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