“It feels empowering to be trusted with a big responsibility.”

Jess is an assistant planner at Saks Fifth Avenue. She is the reason the makeup you want is in stock when you go to Saks. She was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, and went to Kent State where she studied Fashion Merchandise.

Why did you decide to start your fashion career in New York City?

“I interned in New York City during college at Agantery PR and fell in love with the city. The next summer I interned with Randa Accessories. They made wallets, belts, ties, and they licensed out to other brands. I did a merchandising internship with them. During my last week they offered me a job for after graduation. Going into senior year with a job allowed me to get really involved in clubs and activities at school. I moved to New York City after graduation. About a year later I moved to a job at Saks buying women’s shoes. I wanted to be on the other side and be in a more finance-focused position. I was curious about consumer trends and why people buy the things they do.”

How did you move your way through Saks?

“I was in women’s shoes for a year at Saks and oversaw more than 75 brands. Then I was selected for the merchant development program. During the program I was training and meeting a lot of people. I focused on planning. I was put in the role of assistant planner for Beauty and Cosmetics at the end of the program.

Now my job basically looks at how much people are willing to buy in basic beauty items, by brand, store, and style. Every four to six months a single customer goes in to buy a new beauty product, foundation for example. My job is to see how much people are buying, where the need is and where the trend is. I buy on a weekly basis to make sure these products end up in all the Saks stores. Each week I buy into past sales, trends, what is hot in the moment and also what the consumer needs on a regular basis (which adds up to being a very large budget).”

What is your favorite part of your job?

“It is crazy to me that someone trusts me with such a large budget. It feels empowering to be trusted with a big responsibility that affects so many people all the way down to the customer who is the store restocking their foundation.”

Do you have any hobbies?

“A year ago Saks had layoffs. I was fortunate enough to keep my job. I realized I was putting in 40-50 extra hours a week into work, and I started a fashion blog on the side to do something for myself. My blog, Style Out of Stock, is about everyday things and things that people need, things that are relatable for everyone.”

What does it mean to you to be powerful?

“To be powerful is to be in charge of my own decisions. I think it started at the age of 4 when I decided I wasn’t going to pre-school unless I had my Lisa Frank little high heels on. This has obviously evolved and 21 years later, I feel powerful in different ways. Deciding to start a public blog, a space to write and share, was an extremely powerful decision that I have yet to regret. Every day is filled with decisions and I love being able to decide yes or no, that is how I feel powerful.”