Spotlight: Shelly Salzbrunn, Class of ’20

            Shelly Salzbrunn is a senior Public Communication major. After graduating in December, Shelly hopes to travel to Italy and begin working on a fashion project. She’ll begin working with American Eagle in May. This past summer, Shelly held an internship position in production and sourcing for AE. Her responsibilities were centered in the women’s woven tops department, where her main focus was on “core” tops (as opposed to detailed shirts). Moreover, Shelly was responsible for vendor communications. Her duties included designing clothing in-house in New York City, selecting materials, and sending both the design and materials to be produced in other countries. She also had to monitor daily changes made to price and collaborate with merchandising. Shelly was responsible for making sure that the pricing for all pieces were accurate, as well as monitoring and creating updates in the system. As you can tell, Shelly had a full experience with lots of opportunities to practice what she learned in the classroom!

            American Eagle was an attractive company to intern at for Shelly because she is very interested in responsible sourcing. AE has a large task force working on sustainability in the fashion industry. Shelly explained that she came to UVM as a nursing major but always had an interest in fashion. After opening up her own online clothing store her freshman year, she was successful in breaking even! Two summers ago, she was an intern at aerie, where she discovered her love for fashion, PR, and marketing. To get started, Shelly completed a career workshop called “Brand Girls,” which she became involved with after realizing she needed help to break into the fashion industry. When she started the career workshop, she had a mentor that worked at Glamour Magazine who helped her with resumes, cover letters, how to gain a personal network, and how to use LinkedIn. Next, Shelly applied to about thirty-five different internships in fashion and after only hearing back from four, she was able to submit her resume to AE, complete research to prepare for an interview, and eventually get the job.

            Shelly’s internship with American Eagle exposed her to many areas of the fashion industry! She learned how to be a good teammate in a corporate environment, to be self-sufficient while maintaining professionality, and how to grow and take risks in her work. Overall, she was able to learn so much about the fashion industry in general, as well as how to work in a rapidly changing environment!

            Her first internship with Aerie had a positive impact on her values because they value body positivity and it was very clear in the work environment. She wants to continue to work for AE because of her closely aligning values and she is thrilled about their recent work with sustainability and getting involved. Shelly’s overarching goal is to work for a company with a good work environment that also is empowering and uplifting. Her experiences have taught her how important it is to bring people up and how fashion is used as a vehicle to do that. She discovered that what people wear is really important to them and relates to confidence, self-esteem, and individuality, which makes it incredibly important. A major lesson that Shelly has learned is that you can go into work thinking that you will not influence many people, but, what you are doing really does impact so many peoples’ everyday lives.

            Shelly’s internship experiences the past two summers have given her a glimpse into what a future job would be like in the fashion industry. At the end of this past summer, Shelly had to give a presentation to the Vice President of Production at AE, where she had to carry out three samples that the line could have. Her main learning outcome was that although she had taken public speaking classes and was comfortable with presenting in class, it was still an amazing experience to sit in a corporate office and prepare a final project for someone that may be her future employer.