Born and raised in San Diego, California, Kelly Wilcox earned a degree in Merchandise Product Development from FIDM before going on to work for brands such as Cosabella and TOMS. Today, she's the Senior Site Merchandiser at Zappos and the founder of Momper Romper. We recently caught up with the 2006 graduate to learn more about her busy career.
What made you want to attend FIDM? I chose FIDM because my plan was always to pursue the fashion industry in some capacity and FIDM seemed to be the perfect place to begin that journey. I had no idea exactly what I wanted to do in the industry, but I knew that as long as it involved fashion in some way, I would enjoy the work. I attended FIDM San Diego for one year and FIDM Los Angeles during my second year.
What were some valuable things you learned in the Merchandise Product Development Program? The MPD Program provided me with great exposure to every aspect of the fashion industry. I was able to get a little taste of everything from the creative side, sketching and pattern making, to business tools such as profit and loss statements. I knew I was a very creative person but could also be very business-minded as well. This blend of classes really afforded me the opportunity to explore different areas of the fashion business and to build a foundation that I could utilize at any level in the industry.
Tell us how your job at Zappos came about. How long have you been there? I was introduced to Zappos while I was working in e-commerce for a footwear company in Los Angeles when a co-worker mentioned that my customer-centric mindset really aligned with Zappos and their core values. I applied, interviewed, was hired, and within weeks I was moving my family to Las Vegas. This was the summer of 2015, so I have been with the company for four years as a Site Merchandiser.
What are your day-to-day responsibilities? Day-to-day can be very different as far as task management, but as a Site Merchandiser the core responsibility is to define key business opportunities deliverable through site creatives, then build appropriate product assortments to support, and finally, to implement those creatives on site and report or optimize when needed. The Zappos Editorial Production Team in Las Vegas handles the majority of our site creative requests, but there is also now a team in Los Angeles as well.
Tell us about the brand you own, Momper Romper. I initially created Momper Romper as a solution to uncomfortable, overpriced maternity clothing. A Momper Romper is a maternity-friendly romper or mom-romper. I was pregnant with my second baby and found most maternity clothing was not flattering or comfortable, or it was sized so I was forced to purchase several pieces to accommodate my pregnancy. My mission became to design something modern, minimalistic in that it could be one piece of maternity wear that would grow with you for nine months and most importantly, comfortable. Soon after launching in March of last year, we added matching rompers for toddlers and kids. What started as a maternity piece soon developed into a fun and fashionable romper for women of all ages which has been so exciting and fulfilling for me creatively.
How do you balance the workload with your full-time job at Zappos? Balancing the workload of a full-time job, business, and motherhood can be very tricky. I have learned to make many lists, rely on different available technologies to make simple tasks easier to manage, and when I need to tackle larger projects I work early mornings and late, late nights to keep everything running smoothly. I also have an incredibly supportive husband, family, and friends. When they say it takes a village, it really does.