Danielle Sponder Testa, M.A.
Academic Statement of Purpose
Industry professional with diverse knowledge of corporate retail, brand expansion, and wholesale management informing industry professionals, academicians, researchers, and the next generation of professionals.
Doctor of Philosophy, Iowa State University, Apparel Merchandising and Design, Ames, IA.
Master of Arts, London College of Fashion, Fashion and the Environment, London, England.
Dissertation: The Flourish Approach: A shared value system to incorporate cultural skills and local materials into the global supply chain.
M.A. Extension: Design Camp, Design School Kolding, International Design Camp 2010: New Ways of Transportation, Kolding, Denmark.
Bachelor of Science, Iowa State University, Apparel Merchandising, Design and Production, Business Marketing [Double Major], Spanish Minor, Magna Cum Laude, Ames, IA.
Study Abroad: Language Emersion, Universitat de Valencia, Valencia, Spain.
ASSISTANTSHIPS & TEACHING
Iowa State University
AMD 475 Merchandise Planning and Control. Section 2 Lab Instructor. 18 Students
AMD 376 Merchandise Planning and Control. Section 2 Lab Instructor. 31 Students
US and India Education Foundation Research Assistant.
AMD 475 Retail Information Analysis. Course Instructor. 40 Students
AMD 475 Retail Information Analysis. Section 2 Lab Instructor. 12 Students
AMD 376 Merchandise Planning and Control. Section 2 Lab Instructor. 35 Students.
AMD 490F Independent Study: Psychology of Dress. Partner-based Teaching. 19 Students.
AMD 590E Special Topics in Merchandising and Entrepreneurship & US and India Education Foundation Teaching and Research Assistant.
London College of Fashion
Centre for Sustainable Fashion Office Assistant and website contributor.
DOMESTIC & INTERNATIONAL MERCHANDISING
OTB Management — Assortment Planning — Market Optimization — Strategic Market Expansion — Cross Functional Project Management — Process Optimization — Trend Adaptation/Alignment — Team & Talent Development
INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS EXPERTISE
Extensive Market Management
Western Europe — Canada — India — Middle East — Australia
Moderate Direct Management
Eastern Europe — Russia — South Africa — Southeast Asia — Central America
Japan — Korea — China — Hong Kong — Taiwan — Latin America
2013 – 2017 FOREVER 21 Los Angeles, CA
Sr. Merchant, Manager, International & Domestic Merchandising
August 2016 – May 2017
- Responsible for the development of assortment plans for the company’s international business across departments and channels to an annual volume of $1.4 billion dollars.
- Responsible for adjusting the domestic assortment based on nuanced needs both at store and regional level to maintain resiliency of brand for the $3 billion-dollar domestic business.
- Provide President, CEO, and CMO annual strategy plan for departmental growth and efficiency improvement with quarterly tracking.
- Developed vendor strategies that support corporate initiatives and provide leadership to execute these strategies.
- Developed merchandising training programs in partnership with Directors and VPs of Buying, Planning and Allocation
Sr. Merchant, Manager, International Merchandising
July 2013 – July 2016
- Accountable for International Merchandising team’s performance and the results of 250 stores across 50 countries sustaining a YOY double-digit growth rate.
- Guided the merchandising team in the creation of cohesive merchandise plans to optimize sales volume, profitability, and overall variation of items resulting in incremental product plans totaling $400 million in annual sales.
- Lead team of eight Merchandisers, fostering growth and development resulting in a retention rate 3x the company average.
- Directed launch of international stock and branded merchandise, the leading category in sell-through and web traffic, contributing $250 million annual sales and driving global AUR.
- Cultivated strong professional relations with Franchise partners by creating focused assortments and strategies to drive long terms business development as the Franchise business grows 60% YOY.
- Created and executed new operating procedures creating efficiency across all global offices resulting in reductions in lead times up to four weeks, 10% transit cost reductions, and 5% vendor cost savings.
February 2013 – July 2013
- Collaborated with Planning to create topline regional/department OTBs ensuring merchandise and financial plans reflect strategic initiatives and global potential resulting in 12% YOY growth.
- Identified strategies to maintain comparable and new store growth through optimizing retail price and volume sales opportunities during phase of rapid expansion with 100 new stores across 30 countries.
- Supported the conceptual develop of future lines by generating style recaps, account/regional summaries, trend analyses, and competitive market research reports.
- Reviewed and approved markdowns and promos for all categories, ensuring GM met targets, increasing markdown comp sales by 3% YOY by aligning the timing to relevant selling periods in each market.
- Set regional buy-plans and incremental goals for buyers to fill in gaps from the global assortment achieving double-digit comparative growth in all managing regions year-over-year.
2012 – 2013 TOPSHOP London, England
International MAA – Nordstrom Partnership
July 2012 – January 2013
- Partnered with Nordstrom team to manage merchandising strategy contributing to 80% over-performance in first reactions.
- Conducted regional trend analysis to identify and maximize unique sales opportunities by region.
- Profiled store groups by region, climate and volume group to identify stock opportunities.
- Coordinated with logistics and exports teams to ensure efficient delivery of fast fashion merchandise.
Merchandising Admin Assistant [US: Assistant Merchandiser]
February 2012 – August 2012
- Analyzed sales history to aid in sales forecasting and identify opportunities in stock assortments.
- Reacted to sales to drive profit and optimize margin.
- Responded to best and worst sellers with replenishment or cancellations/redistribution.
- Guided merchandise allocation for department based on sales, demographics, and store capacity.
2010 – 2011 FOUNDATION AGENCY London, England
Freelance Brand and Marketing Manager
December 2010 – September 2011
- Managed wholesale representation of small-scale sustainable premium brands including sales meetings, recruiting new retail partners, and driving wholesale opportunities.
- Developed cross-brand marketing materials to recruit new retail partners and portray brand identity.
2008, 2009 TARGET CORPORATION Minneapolis, MN
Business Analyst Intern: Ready to Wear, Men’s, Performance Wear
Summers 2008, 2009
- Identified opportunities to maximize and automate reorders in best-selling lines through strategic three-month exploration.
- Analyzed high and low volume store opportunities to enhance distribution.
2008 WOMEN’S WEAR DAILY New York, NY
Fashion Editorial Lead Intern
January – May 2008
- Managed the fashion closet, receiving and returning all samples, and assisting in styling on photo shoots including three covers.
Download Vitae: F18 Testa Vitae