First in a series on Humber alumni By Sierra Guido
Humber College Alumni lands dream job in the fashion and cosmetic industry but not without rigorous hours of hard work and dedication.
Shana King, now vice-president of business development and retail strategy for HauteHouse Brands LLC, based in Atlanta, Georgia, graduated from the Fashion Arts program at Humber College in 2000.
“I was born in Toronto, but I grew up kind of in the Niagara area, so I felt like, ‘oh my God, am I going to be able to do this, being from a small town?’,” said King.
That question was answered the day she graduated with a lineup of job offers waiting for her. The countless hours of networking and studying all paid off when companies like Winners, Aveda, and the Plutino Group all wanted her to come work with them.
The fashion and cosmetic industry in Toronto has always been a tough market to break into, so King knew she had to do everything she could to secure contacts by networking and building relationships.
“I was pretty strategic about it. The more I did, the more people I met, the more opportunities I’d have when I’m outside of school,” said King. “I have a go-getter attitude. The worst that’s going to happen is someone is going to say no.”
King spent most of her two years at Humber volunteering and interning for fashion brands and companies around the city of Toronto leading her to bigger opportunities and expanding her knowledge of what life would be like outside of school.
“There’s nothing more important than networking, honestly,” said Chalene Burg, product supervisor at Hudson’s Bay Company. “You remember the person who spent countless hours interning or who just sent an email introducing themselves. That’s really important.”
As important as networking and communication might be, King feels Humber’s Fashion Art program was able to help her feel well rounded and ready to tackle multiple sections of the industry.
In her current VP role at HauteHouse, a hair-care and hair-styling company, King goes beyond her main role of supplying traditional brick and mortar stores across North America with HauteHouse products. By seeking new opportunities, King presents to retailers by researching and learning about each and every companies’ shoppers.
Launching to stores around Canada and the United States — like Metro, Rexall, Walmart and many more — King tries to appeal to each one by understanding specific haircare categories through competitor analysis, maintaining buyer relationships and making sure retailers get what they want, when they want it.
“I have no problem reaching out to people and introducing myself,” said King. “I like finding new opportunities.”
King believes finding her niche in a vast range of opportunities is what helped get her to where she is today.
“Don’t give up on yourself and really spend some time narrowing down what you think makes you the most happy when it comes to career. I think it’s really important to take note when you’re studying or when you’re doing internships or co-ops,” said King.
“You have to find out what part of what you’re learning excites you, because if you love what you do, it then doesn’t become a job.”