Work History

Work History
Aug 2002 - Jan 2012

Managing Partner

Claesen's USA, LLC.

Established and managed company marketing and distributing exclusive Dutch line of children’s accessories in the U.S.Focused efforts on business development, marketing/sales, product development/merchandising, andfinancial management. Led team of 9, including sales reps, IT, warehouse, and administrative staff.

Marketing/sales:  

  • Created all marketing material for the brand image: trade fair banners, postcard, advertisingand email marketing campaigns, video short, created product packaging in Adobe Illustrator, developed initial Claesen's USA website, supervised website overhaul, updated seasonal content on www.claesensusa.com.
  • Art directed and produced bi-annual comprehensive seasonal catalogs in Adobe InDesign: pre-production including scouting shoot locations, booking lifestyle photographer and child models, styling outfits and accessories; post-production including cleaning and color-correcting flat product photography in Adobe Photoshop, laying out catalogs in Adobe InDesign, exporting art for print.
  • Created, managed, and retained national network of 7 high performing sales representatives, establishing accounts with over 700 of the finest boutiques nationally, maintained wholesale marketing lists.

Product development/merchandising: Managed product data, supervised integration of back-end trade system Groupe BDM into Quickbooks and FedEx software. Set product wholesale prices, planned and controlled inventory and oversaw operations. Analyzed performance of different sku's; edited based on turns data and profitability. Oversaw implementation of product safety CPSIA compliance with U.S. mandated lead, phthalates, flammability, drawstring and other regulations.

Logistics planning: Streamlined logistics, reducing annual average distribution costs by over 80% by working with production facility to establish networked logistics center in India to print packing lists and provide pre-picked shipments by client. Researched and implemented freight forwarding with FedEx Trade Networks, flipping pre-picked boxes at U.S. entry points.

Financial management:Controlled $1M operating budget and handled ongoing financial planning, including setting goals, completing expense, revenue and cash flow projections, tracking results.

  • Acting bookkeeper from 2008 to present, managed accounts receivable/payable, preparedmonthly bank reconciliations, sales rep commission statements, balance sheet and profit & loss, oversaw tax filings with CPA.
  • Spearheaded overstock sales to big box retailers, and sample donation to charities.

Customer Service:Handled all customer service issues from 2008 to present, issuing credits, call tags,and sending replacement goods for damaged or mis-picked pieces. Managed in-stock program, setting inventory levels, placing re-orders, picking store orders.

Jan 2009 - Dec 2011

Importer & Distributor

Le Big

Marketed, imported and distributed Dutch children's accessories line Le Big in the U.S. via a network of 5 independent sales reps. Responsible for order consolidation, customer service, bookkeeping, order picking and packing, product safety compliance, and routing guide compliance with Barney's, Garnet Hill, and Chasing Fireflies.

Jan 1995 - Jun 2002

Interior Designer

Fearrington Village

Coordinated interior design for Fearrington Village's 5-Diamond, 5-Star, Relais & Châteaux inn, restaurant, and village shops. Design work included flooring, walls, furnishings, lighting and fabrics.

Jun 1992 - Dec 1995

Gallery Director

Watermarks Gallery

Established turn of the century fine print gallery, sourcing works for sale in European auctions, researched artists and works, selected handmade gilded frames, managed gallery, supervised sales. Researched and organized inaugural exhibition of Henri Rivière's1902 lithographic series, "Thirty-Six Views of the Eiffel Tower," designed and published exhibition catalog.

Aug 1990 - Aug 1992

Artist's Assistant

Bernar Venet

Managed New York artist's studio of French sculptor Bernar Venet. Light bookkeeping, secretarial work, maintained schedule, assisted in local exhibitions.

Education

Education
Aug 1986 - Aug 1990

Bachelor of Arts

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Interest

Daily walks, vegetarian cooking, reading, yearly hiking and yoga retreats, travel.

Summary

Experienced product development, merchandising, and management professional with proven ability to achieve cost control, margin, profitability, quality, and sales goals.Proven background in creating and implementing effective product development, merchandising, and marketing strategies, including defining customer needs, utilizing e-commerce approaches, launching new products, assessing product viability, and controlling inventory.Demonstrated skill in building interdepartmental partnerships and shaping and leading productive merchandising and customer service teams.

Work/Study Abroad Experiences

1997-1998: Interior Design Student, Istituto per l'Arte e il Restauro: Florence, Italy

1988-1989: Auction House Research Assistant, Fine Print Department, Etude Loudmer: Paris, France

1987-1988: Gallery Assistant, Uniersity Work/Study Program, Galerie Daniel Templon: Paris, France

1995-1996: Student Exchange, Lycée Camille Vernet: Valence, France

Packaging Design

Skills

Skills

Microsoft Office

Italian

Quickbooks

Project Management

Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator

French

Catalog Design