Hampton grad part of standout fashion team
By Deborah Deasy
Published: Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2013, 8:10 p.m.
Alexis Katsafanas of Hampton hopes to eventually merchandise fashions for the Nordstrom department store chain.
“My dream job is to be a buyer for Nordstrom,” said Katsafanas, 22.
Her resume already includes winning the 2013 Retail Futures Challenge in Paris, an international competition recently staged during at the annual World Retail Congress.
Katsafanas, a 2010 graduate of Hampton High School, won the contest with three fellow students at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City.
Representing the United States, the FIT beat student teams from London, Milan, Hong Kong and Tokyo by mapping the launch of a Paris branch of an existing, bricks-and-mortar store in their respective hometowns.
Each team got 48 hours to complete the assignment.
“It was a lot of work,” Katsafanas said after her Oct. 5-to-Oct. 10 stay in the City of Lights.
“We slept a total of 20 hours in six days,” Katsafanas said. “We lived on french fries and red wine.”
Katsafanas, a senior majoring in fashion merchandising management at FIT, won the 2013 Retail Futures Challenge with FIT students Jaime Duncan of Massapequa, N.Y.; Eleanor Ayre of Toronto, Canada; and Wen “Jenny” Zhao of Sydney, Australia. Each woman applied for the FIT team.
“We've never won the grand prize before. We've come close, but we've not won it,” said Robin Sackin, chairperson of FIT's fashion merchandising management department. “We're very excited about it.”
Sackin selected the FIT team.
“These four students did not know each other . . . They just gelled and Alexis was a star,” Sackin said. “She's an amazing, amazing young lady — bright, articulate, a real leader.”
Katsafanas and her teammates interviewed people on the streets of Paris — with help from an interpreter — before they chose a local Sandro store as the site for a Paris branch of Story, the novel Manhattan boutique known for changing its theme and merchandise every four to eight weeks.
“Once we found a place where we wanted to put our storefront, we had to actually measure it, in square meters,” Katsafanas said. “We had to research things like employee labor laws and Parisian tax rules. We had to figure out how many people we would hire . . . It was basically creating a new business in a foreign country.“
The FIT team proposed selling a range of items from T-shirts to gadgets made by Paris area artisans, mixed with Paris-themed merchandise, at its Paris branch of Story.
Each student team got eight minutes to present a business plan for judging.
Current and former chief executive officers of several companies and 1,300 retail executives at the World Retail Congress selected the FIT team as winners of 2013 Retail Futures Challenge.
Katsafanas, daughter of Peter Jr. and Jodi Katsafanas of Hampton, expects to spend the last two weeks of December working in the menswear department at Nordstrom in Ross Park Mall. Katsafanas got that part-time job after scooping ice cream at Bruster's on Route 8 in Hampton.
The Bruster's job “taught me everything I know about customer service and kind of paved the way for me to go to Nordstrom,” Katsafanas said.
“When I applied to Nordstrom, I had no retail experience, but I really knew how to make people happy and I could make a mean sundae.”
Deborah Deasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6369 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Photo Gallery: Marshall Township Easter egg hunt
- Hillside repairs to cost $35K more than expected
- Six NA students finalists in Musical Kids competition
- Absenteeism of North Hills School Board member causes concern
- West View schedules neighborhood cleanup day for April 26
- Student activity fee at Pine-Richland could be raised
- Pine-Richland officials look to improve curriculum consistency
- All that Jazz Shaler North Hills Library hosting concert
- Hampton considers adding guidance counselor at high school
- Shaler sets summer paving plan
- Shaler OKs green overlay district to promote riverfront