Susan Effler '12

With a long-standing attraction to the fashion industry, Susan Effler ’12 has been cultivating an interest in retail for years. Effler, a May graduate, just began a new full-time position at Saks 5th Avenue, a luxury fashion retailer based in midtown Manhattan.

She is working in Saks’ corporate offices in the Buying and Planning Department, where she’ll serve as a liaison between Saks and the designers that it buys from. Effler will work closely with a Saks planner, who will be in charge of her financial resources, and she’ll be responsible for meeting with designers of women’s clothing and making purchase decisions based on Saks’ particular preferred clothing types.

Effler is excited about her new position at Saks. She says that she doesn’t know exactly what to expect, but working in the fashion industry is not new for her. She has had experience working with two other big names in the fashion industry—she interned with popular clothing line Tommy Hilfiger in the summer of 2009 and then with Chanel in 2010.

Saks’ CEO is Stephen Sadove ’73, who has been working in the past few years to establish a connection with Hamilton graduates. He set up an informational session with juniors in Kirner-Johnson and was there to field questions about Saks’ internships. Effler was interested in the position, applied, and was hired as an intern for the summer of 2011.

It was after her internship with Chanel (one that she found out about through a listing on HamNet) that Effler says she was certain she wanted to enter into a career in the industry.  Fifty of Saks’ interns last summer spent the final four days of their internships interviewing with the company for full-time post-graduate positions. Effler was one of 10 interns offered a position, and she accepted.

Effler will make purchases and decide which stores across the country to send the items to, so part of her responsibility is keeping up with fashion trends so that she can judge which clothing will sell best in specific locations.

The new job began on June 18th with the commencement of a six-month training period for Saks’ new hires. Effler is anxious about working in a corporate environment for the first time, but is excited to try something new. This job, she says, will allow her to exercise creative autonomy for the first time in a professional environment.

On campus, Effler served as president of Alpha Theta Chi sorority, co-chair of the InterSociety Council, and also served as a student delegate to the Alcohol Coalition. She graduated with a major in art history.

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