I’ve always been very creative and have been able to put things together in an unexpected way to create some kind of excitement and interest. I began doing this as a young boy growing up in the San Francisco Peninsula by constantly moving around the furniture in my room.
I continued moving things around to create an impact, by creating parties and events in high school and then college. After studying design, advertising, packaging and exhibit design at Carnegie Mellon University and The Arts Center College of Design in Los Angeles, I moved to New York City.
There, I was first hired by advertising agencies such as Young and Rubicam, N.W. Ayer and Chiat/Day to create packaging solutions for leading brands. I decided to go out on my own doing the same and created David Lees Design. I was then given an offer I could not refuse and became in-house designer for “Studio 54,” the legendary night club, where I created the look of the club and its special events for three years. After that, I established my own event production company, David Lees Productions – to help companies better market their products and services through product launches, press announcements, and over the top events.
Why did you decide to become a career coach?
After 30 years of running around the country, Europe, and the Pacific Rim – quite frankly, I was burned out and thought it was time to start something new. I went to see a career coach to help me. I was so impressed by the process she took me through to create a new understanding of myself and what I could do with the next step of my life. We came to the conclusion that the missing piece was the opportunity to closely work with “people” to help them better position, package and market their talents! That’s why I’m a career coach today. I get to do what I’ve always loved which is moving things around – now, to help my clients get attention and succeed. I do this by helping them see new career possibilities by better connecting them to who they are at their core.
What’s the most common thing people need to work on?
Recognizing their intrinsic strengths and capitalizing on them.
Can you give our students a quick tip about networking?
Be authentic, have a strong and unique value proposition, and realize that your efforts must be about helping others succeed with your guidance and not all about you and your amazing talent.
Robin Droescher teaches SXF 225: How to Style, Plan and Merchandise a Pet Products Line.
So, tell us a little about yourself…
I worked in the women’s fashion apparel industry for many years in design, product dev. and manufacturing. I was very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work at Ralph Lauren, Banana Republic, Calvin Klein and my last position was at Liz Claiborne. Six years ago I combined 2 of my loves – dogs and design. I launched Robin Meyer NYC. We produce a line of clothing and accessories for dogs with a fashion meets function point of view. A portion of my business has evolved into consulting for a couple of other dog manufacturers as well as doing private label for Barneys New York Dog and Orvis.
We’ve heard that you’ve emBARKed on a new job path…
I recently opened a retail boutique and grooming salon called Bark Place. I carry my line of products as well as other manufacturers. We have a full product assortment of coats, sweaters, beds, toys and treats. It is a great way to test new products and if they are successful to go into a production run the following season. The grooming business as been doing extremely well from the day we opened. I wanted to create something modern and state of the art – a place where people feel comfortable leaving their 4 legged children and are pleased with how they looked when they are picked up. I believe we have succeeded!
What is exciting in the pet market right now?
I think one the exciting things in the pet market now is that apparel and accessories for dogs really follows the trends of what is happening in the human apparel market. I am starting to work on Fall 2016. I have spent the past few days shopping stores, looking through fashion magazines and browsing trend services on line. I know what sells in my line but it is a matter of taking the basis of what works and making it look fresh and new for the coming season.
Can you give us a sneak peek of your class?
I have taught my class several times now. The first class I ask my students what they really would like to learn and take away. Each class I modify slightly to accommodate their requests. We spend time merchandising an assortment so it is focused, cohesive with a clear point of view. I then teach costing exercises using different classifications of product: coats, sweaters etc. We start with the cost of all the raw materials, add labor, shipping charges etc. to come up with a first cost. We then work on the mathematical formulas to bring the 1st cost to wholesale with margin implications and then to the MSRP (Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price). I also talk a little about how to import from overseas factories.