QRF had the pleasure of speaking with former QRF executive member, Miranda Wang. Miranda graduated from Queen’s Commerce in 2016, and now works for TJX as an associate planner. Keep reading to hear about her experience in the retail industry and advice for recruiting!
Tell us about what you do at TJX Canada/Winners? I work in our Planning department as an Associate Planner for Homesense. In Planning, our job is to maximize sales and profitability by creating merchandise sales and inventory plans. We do this by regularly reviewing performance data and market trends, as well as working closely with our buyers and other various business partners across the company. Through this, we ensure the right product gets to the right store at the right time.
At TJX, we use an off-price business model, which allows us to make opportunistic buying and planning decisions to further drive our sales. Unlike traditional retailers, we regularly buy and plan the business throughout the year, allowing us to flex and react quickly to last minute deals and capitalize on merchandise that’s trending with our customers. This enables us to create an ever-changing and diverse product mix or “treasure hunt” in our stores, and pass along cost-savings to our customers every day.
What interested you about the retail industry? As a Commerce grad, something that really interested me about the retail industry was how it could allow me to tie my business background with my interests in fashion, product development, and consumer behavior. Starting my career in the retail industry has given me exposure to a diverse range of product categories, brands, and nuances in consumer purchasing behaviors. It’s also helped broaden my understanding of the many different functions and steps involved in getting a product from ideation to the end consumer. And with the industry constantly evolving through changes in consumer trends, shopping habits, and technology, there are always new learnings, challenges, and career opportunities.
Do you have any tips on how to start a career in the industry? I think showing your passion and interest in the industry is a really good place to start. Getting involved in student organizations like the Queen’s Retail Forum is an amazing way to learn more about the industry and different career opportunities and get your foot in the door with potential employers.
For new grads without much work experience, companies are really looking for that passion and interest to help them identify the growth potential of a hiring candidate. Doing your research and showing that genuine willingness to learn will help set you apart in the recruitment process.
Also take the time to build meaningful relationships with people in the industry. Take initiative in reaching out and/or following-up on a conversation you had with a company rep or alumni. If they’re not currently hiring, see if they’d be interested in a coffee chat to share their experiences with you. Always be curious and authentic. Despite being a huge industry, you’d be surprised what a small world it really is, and you never know where opportunities might come from