Coming into the Fashion Program at Marist my freshman year, I had no idea what to expect. I had never taken a fashion class before in my life and was nervous when I began those classes. I had no idea if I would like the field that I chose or if I would be able to adapt. Lucky for me, I have had some of the best professors help me along my way; one of which is Jodi Hartmann. I had Professor Hartmann my second semester at Marist, a time when I was taking three fashion classes at once and was a nervous wreck every single day, literally. She put up with all of my questions and I can not express to you how much I have learned from her. Professor Hartmann is one of those teachers that dedicates all of her time and energy to her students; her office door is always open and all are welcome. She is an amazing, incredible woman that I am grateful to call my teacher and mentor. I was fortunate enough to sit down with her for a while and ask her a few questions about her job experience and role on campus:
Alexa: Where did you attend college? What did you study?
Professor Hartmann: I attended the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and I studied fashion marketing and business.
A: Coming out of college, what was your first job?
PH: I got into Macy’s product development. So I was a product developer which was a brand new field and there were no courses in college on it. I had mostly business classes when I was in college and I had textiles in addition to a few other fashion classes like retailing, intro to fashion, trend forecasting, color, merchandise planning and control, buying and I had to take a sewing/tailoring class.
A: How’d you do in the tailoring class?
PH: It was very frustrating but I did alright. We had to do mostly hand tailoring, so the lining and everything had to be done by hand.
A: What responsibilities did your job at Macy’s entail?
PH: I started out as an assistant product developer and I worked with Aeropostale so I assisted the product developer in tracking orders, lab dips, placing orders, anything to do with the product, making sure it got to the selling floor. Then I was Associate Product Developer and Macy’s at that time had bought I. Magnin and Bullock’s so I did all of the product development, men’s and women’s, for their catalogs. Then I was a product developer in men’s sport shirts so I did mills, trend, tech packs, fit…I had an assistant that helped me out, making sure everything made it to the selling floor, worked with the store buyers. I presented to upper management when I was what they called a Brand Manager and I had product developers working for me.
A: Wow! And you travelled with your work, right?
PH: Yes! 170+ days a year! From shopping trends in Europe to mills throughout the world to placing production in factories throughout the world, I saw it all!
A: How did traveling with work impact you? Which country did you enjoy most?
PH: It was great traveling, I got to see the world on their dime! It’s hard to say my favorite because in Asia alone, I have Singapore and Hong Kong. They are very, very different because at that time Hong Kong was under British rule compared to now and Singapore is just so clean and rigid, kind of like me! In Europe, my favorites are Florence and Paris. So it depends what continent I’m on but I literally got to see the world for ten years.
A: So how have you brought your abroad experiences back to Marist?
PH: I bring it into my classroom. When I talk, I relate all of those experiences whether it’s the mill or trend shopping, working in the factory, I bring it back to all my classes. I really push my students to travel abroad.
A: What role have you played in our abroad programs?
PH: I helped hire the faculty in Paris and work with the curriculum there. I worked with the curriculum in Florence and I proposed plans for a program at Hong Kong Polytechnic Institute where we now have students studying. So I brought a lot of my experiences into the programs here. I even get to do the orientation in Hong Kong for the abroad office there.
A: What classes do you teach here? Do you have a favorite…we won’t tell!
PH: I teach Retailing, Textile Science, Product Development, Private Label Techniques, Advanced Product Development, and Senior Capping. And I love them all! They’re all so different that it’s nice to be able to bring different aspects of my career into each one of them.
A: Do you have any advice for aspiring Red Foxes?
PH: Be passionate about what you want to do in life and you will wake up happy every day.