IMPD Grad Talks About Her Job at The Walt Disney Company
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Name: Kristen Andrada
FIDM Grad Year: PD '09/ IMPD '10
Campus: SF in '09 and LA in '10
Major: Merchandise Product Development/ International Manufacturing & Product Development (IMPD)
Hometown: Hayward, CA
Job Title: Costume Buying Intern at The Walt Disney Company
Where are you working? Right now I am working at Disneyland as a Costume Buying Intern. I work in the department that produces and sources all the occupational costuming for Disneyland, Disney World, the cruise lines and hotels. On a daily basis, I am working on the bill of materials for all of Disney, and any smaller, last minute projects that come up. As an intern, I am given projects to complete, just like in IMPD, and at the end of the year I have to give a presentation to the head team on a videoconference between Anaheim and Florida on what I have learned, gained and experienced from the program. I am one of only 3 costuming interns on the west coast, and was essentially chosen out of all applicants to fill this position. The program is a lot of work, but I love meeting the challenge!
Describe a typical work day: A typical work day for me includes working on the bill of materials, contacting vendors about getting samples and/or information, and tying up any loose ends that my boss needs to be completed. The little rushed projects that come up last minute are my favorite things to do. There usually are so many details that need to be compiled in a short amount of time. So many people depend on you to get it done, that when you do, there is the biggest sense of accomplishment.
What do you love about your job? The other employees or cast members that work there. I don't get to see the guests who come to the park on a daily basis so often, so my Disney experience happens backstage. Everyone is so nice and kind here. And to be able to see what it takes in order to make the magic happen for everyone else makes my day.
What inspires you? What inspires me the most are the people that surround me. Each person in my life has such a distinct personality that whenever I am around him or her, I can't help but respond to them. Those slight differences give me new perspectives to things and allow me to see a slightly different picture.
How did you find out about FIDM and how did you know FIDM was the right college for you? I found out about FIDM from a college speaker that came to my high school. I actually went to the presentation on a whim, but immediately fell in love with the school. No other college for me matched up to my creative side, with my analytic tendencies as well. When I found out about the Product Development program I thought it was a perfect marriage of fashion and business, which appealed to me. What sealed the deal was having the option to continue after two years with a Bachelor's degree in Business or participate in the IMPD program and travel. Either option seemed amazing for me, and it was then that I knew that FIDM was it. No matter what route I took at the fashion institute I knew that I would come out on top, and that I would be working and successful in a short amount of time.
How did you decide on your major? Deciding on my major wasn't a big process. After seriously looking into attending FIDM I took the test you get from your admissions advisor that tells you what you would be most suited for. My result was Merchandise Marketing, which was fine since it was one of ones that I was originally contemplating. But it wasn't until my advisor told me that I could go above and beyond that and do product development, that I decided to go with it. Knowing that I could eventually go into IMPD and maybe even the Bachelor’s program practically sealed the deal for me.
What was the biggest lesson you learned in the IMPD Program? During the IMPD program I gained a lot of skills, knowledge and culture. But the biggest thing that I have learned was about myself. I learned that I am capable of a lot more than I give myself credit for, that I can work well in all different types of situations. I am different from the person I was from the start of the program, not because I can crank out detailed tech flats in a quarter of the time it used to, but because I have become more comfortable and more confident in the person I am now. IMPD taught me that no challenge is too big, and that I am capable of doing anything I put my mind to.
How do you feel FIDM prepared you for what you’re doing now? FIDM helped give me the experience and skills in order to be successful. The IMPD program taught me what it takes to keep up in a fast paced industry and how to get along with others in the work environment.
Any advice for current FIDM students? Do something that you love and that you want to give your all—for it is that dedication and determination that will bring success.
I'd love to hear a little about your traveling experience in the IMPD Program. I not only got to experience different cultures, but also the business practices in each country. I was able to fully understand what it takes in order to form a business relationship in a different country.
Where did you go and what did you do there? While I was in Paris, Milan, and London, I was able to visit different tourist attractions such as the Eiffel Tower, and Eye of London, but also different industry events such as Première Vision, a trend orientated fabric and trim show. My favorite was the free time I had in which I could explore the architecture, people and spirit of the cities we visited.
Is there any international experience that you'd like to share? From all my travels I learned it is most important to have an open mind—be willing to try different activities and foods and see different places. I think that trying new things is an important part of experiencing a different culture as it's the way to really see how people live in another part of the world. One of the best things I did was go horseback riding through Hyde Park. The day was perfectly sunny and the park was beautiful. It was an experience I will always remember.
What did you like best about the international travel in the program? I have always dreamed about going to see places like Paris and London, and so to be able to go was just a dream come true. I loved being able to see all the different landmarks, shop in places that I've only seen on TV and in movies, and eat all sorts of foods that I never knew existed! For me it was about experiencing the culture of the country and then learning a little bit about it and bringing it back home with me.
Who is your style icon? I don’t have just a single style icon, but I am more inspired by all different celebrities. I love looking at what celebrities are wearing in order to flatter their figures or what makes them unique. I then use that as inspiration on how to change or alter my own wardrobe. Because at the end of the day, I don’t want to pretend to be someone else, I still want to be me.
What’s your favorite item in your wardrobe? The piece that I treasure the most is a watch that my dad bought me about six years ago. At the time it was my most expensive item that I owned, and when he bought it, my dad spent a good amount of his paycheck on it for me. Now I wear it every day to work, and when look at it I remember my dad and how he spontaneously bought it for me saying that I deserved something beautiful and special.
What fashion websites/blogs do you love to visit? I don’t really like to visit many blogs, but if I do, I like to visit the blogs of my former IMPDers. They are amazingly talented, and I love to see what things they are up to, and what are their new favorite looks.
What is your biggest goal? My biggest goal right now is to find a place in my life where I am happy. I’ve put in a lot of work, and I know there is more to come, but I hope to find one day a position that I am ecstatic about. For the past two years I have been moving around and not really settling in, and I hope to soon be able to do that. To find a place that I’m able to use all my skills and that I would enjoy waking up to every morning would be ideal!