Why did you decide to attend the Fashion Program at Ryerson?
I was looking to pursue a career in fashion and knew at the time that Ryerson was the only school that offered a degree program. I had a friend in high school apply for the program and watched her go through the process. I knew then that this is exactly what I wanted to do, so I took some time off to travel and learn to sew and build up my portfolio. I learned early on what an all nighter looked like but knew that if I was willing to work so hard to get in that I would love the program.
How did your academic experience at Ryerson help you with getting to where you are today? What led to your interest in pursuing Buying?
My academic experience at Ryerson was amazing, I had classes that I loved and came a bit easier to me and others that I had to push myself that much harder. The experience was challenging but helped to set me up for challenges in the real world outside of Ryerson. With the necessary work hours experience lead me to try new roles and ended up working as a Brand Manager for a few brands that sold to retailers across Canada. It was there that I was able to use some of the skills learned in school in a practical work environment. Once I graduated I decided I wanted to be on the other side of the business so pursued a career at Winners which happened to be one of my favorite stores.
If you had to do it all over again, what would you change about your time here at Ryerson and why?
I think I would have slowed things down a bit more, I did my degree in five years because I wanted a better balance and because I was working more on the side. I look back and maybe even 6 years would not have been unreasonable. The program and time moves so fast and with all the projects you really have to learn time management and choose where to spend more of your time.
What does a day in the life of Stefan Naccarato look like?
As a buyer at winners I am really given the autonomy and freedom to drive my own business. I can search out new opportunities and test new trends and explore new ideas. I briefly had a moment when I thought I would open up my own store with a friend and have only things we loved in the store. I get to do that now with the power of sharing great value with customers all across Canada. I travel a lot, sometimes 3-4 times a month throughout North America and the Europe and I get to look for deals to keep our customer the excited. It’s a perfect job for me because I love travelling and I love deals, it worked out pretty well.
What is your favorite part about your job?
My favorite part about my job is that every week is different and the market is constantly changing and never standing still. There is always a new brand or a new trend to test and keep things exciting. I also love that I get the freedom to go and take risks on new things and rewarded for taking risks. At Ryerson I took an Entrepreneurship class called Identifying Opportunities and it was a turning point for me in how I saw the world. I am constantly looking for new opportunities now and what things could become and my job gives me the opportunity to do that.
Do you have an area of expertise you want to grow and learn about?
I love to teach and develop other people so I would like to continue to explore that further. I am a big people person and enjoying coaching others and helping them learn new things.
What is your favorite part about working in the Fashion industry?
I think what I love about the fashion industry is the constant change that happens, there is a pulse that is hard to pinpoint but you can feel it. When you come across something new you have not seen before there is this feeling of excitement; almost butterflies that is hard to explain unless you have lived it. That is what keeps me engaged and brings me to work every day. I love change and I love newness and that is what the Fashion industry gives me every day.
What advice would you give a fashion student interested in Buying?
My advice would be to work retail and learn as much as you can about the company, the customer, and the fabrics and soak up product knowledge. I would say build relationships early on because you never know where they can lead you. I would also try somewhere that has a commission portion to it because it can give you experience working towards sales goals and finding ways to reach those that can be creative. Also, be prepared to put some hours in above and beyond the normal. Get ready to hustle early on and will pay off later down the road.