We love all our alumni, and we love showing you the amazing things they’ve achieved! Meet Trudy Riley, alumni of Holmes Institute Fashion. Trudy now works as the Australia & New Zealand Regional Merchandiser for Roxy! Read about her career and how she got to where she is today below.

How did you work your way up to where you are now in your career? What are some highlights?

My first job was working in a surf retail store. My first role at a Head Office was as a Receptionist/Personal Assistant to the National Sales Manager. After that role, I worked as an Assistant Buyer at a surf retailer, working closely with the Women’s Buyer and Head Buyer/Co-Owner of the company. I then moved into Roxy as Retail Allocator ANZ, then DC e-Commerce Merchandiser, and finally into my current role. 

Throughout my career, I’ve grown and continued to assess the areas of the industry I enjoy and have wanted to pursue. I have been able to work in multiple roles which have allowed me to have contact with many parts of a business—this ranges from sales to finance, to supply, to marketing. Having a well-rounded set of skills and knowledge of various departments helps me make clear and informed decisions in my current role. 

A career highlight of mine is having had the privilege, along with the Roxy team, to represent our ANZ business at our global meetings at our HQs in both the US and France. Another highlight was being given opportunities to represent the planning, both regionally and globally, through key milestones.

Surfer Girl

Tell us a bit about your current role at Roxy.

As per every role in the retail/fashion industry, there is no typical day. We are constantly juggling multiple seasons at once, and each season is at a different point in the process. I could be looking at anything from setting up a season with targets, looking into aged inventory, or buying products for another season.

Time management is key in this role as deadlines are inevitably going to overlap. So the last thing I do each day is rewrite my to-do list for the next day. This helps me have a clear head when I leave the office.


What did you love most about studying with us?

The teachers. Being in the industry, the teachers truly inspired me to work hard at what I wanted to get out of the course.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given throughout your career?

The best piece of advice I have ever been given during my career is that sometimes you just need to sit in the ‘uncomfortable’ to see the solution.

Beach Chairs

What advice would you give to someone wanting to pursue a career in buying and merchandising?

Excel is your best friend! Master a few key formulas and your life will be a lot easier. Data and analysis are key parts of these roles, so make sure you’re comfortable with numbers. But don’t be scared! You can learn to love them—promise. 

Interested in a career in fashion buying? Check out our Fashion Business courses!