Alison Rebozo, Fashion Merchandising Management ’15

You were one of four team members from FIT’s Baker School of Business and Technology who won the prestigious Retail Futures Challenge, at the World Retail Congress in Paris. What was the challenge?
We had to conceptualize the store of the future for our client, Samsung. Our design had an open floor plan with furnished rooms, like Ikea, and tablets everywhere so you could see the products in different colors. A 3D hologram avatar, “Sammy,” the face of the brand, would guide customers through the store.

Wait, could that really happen?
We met with Microsoft. The technology is out there; it just has to be implemented.

What was the six-month research process for your presentation like?
A lot of research went into location. Samsung’s main focus was how to get customers into brick-and-mortar stores. We decided, based on their demographic—young, recently married, tech-savvy—to put the store in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where the millennials are. I was the one who focused on the financials, so I came up with the P&L [profit and loss] statement.

Why did FIT win?
A lot of the other teams were so focused on design. But the people who attend this convention are executives; they want to know how to make money. We had research and data to back up all our ideas.

After graduation, you’re starting in Macy’s executive development program, in their Merchandising Department. You chose to focus on buying over planning. Why?
Planning is more about numbers and analytics, but buying is more product-oriented and creative. You’re choosing which assortments go on the floor based on data from the past, but it’s also where you see trends going in the future. The hardest part is getting into the mindset of your consumer. You might be buying shirts for the 65-year-old male market. It’s really not about your own taste.

I understand you’re into powerlifting. How is that different from regular bodybuilding?
Bodybuilding focuses on physical aesthetics—getting “ripped,” sometimes for competitions. Powerlifting is more about strength. I’m way into the fitness community. I’ve done kickboxing, all of it. But I mostly lift weights now. I’m kind of like a guy when it comes to that.