Story by Jocelyn Racelis
Like other students on campus, Rebecca Pabon notices what other students are wearing. Unlike other students on campus, she recognizes some of the clothes as items she picked out.
Pabon is an assistant buyer for the ZOUtique, a boutique located in the corner of The Mizzou Store. Her role is to hand-select the clothing items sold there.
“When I come to the store and see something I took a risk on and it’s actually selling out and I see girls on campus wearing it, it’s extremely rewarding,” says Pabon, from Park Ridge, Illinois. “I love that part of the job.”
The ZOUtique offers student intern positions that mirror actual positions in the retail industry. Pabon gained valuable experience that will help her toward her goal of becoming a Nordstrom or a Balenciaga buyer.
“I’m a college student, and I’m already getting to do my dream job,” Pabon says.
She applied for the position the summer before her sophomore year. Getting involved in her major as an underclassman has helped Pabon get a leg up in her classes and other retail-oriented work.
On top of her internship, Pabon was involved in The Bridge Label and the Association of Textile and Apparel Management. These student organizations exposed her to new experiences that her internship did not focus on, such as coordinating photoshoots and traveling to networking events.
Pabon, a junior, noticed a lot of overlap in her classes and her job as she continued to study Textile and Apparel Management (TAM) in the College of Human Environmental Sciences with a minor in business. Skills such as retail math, checking sales, and markups or markdowns, she learned in class and in her ZOUtique internship.
“Everything I learn in school applies to both of my jobs,” Pabon says. “It all goes hand-in-hand.”
As a first-generation college student, Pabon knew how valuable her higher-level education was. She was nervous to go to college because it was unfamiliar territory for both her and her family. Nonetheless, she moved to Mizzou ready to dive deeper into the retail industry’s fashion side.
When Pabon was a prospective student, she visited Mizzou and left with a good feeling she’d found her home. After three years, Pabon has proven her intuition was correct.
“It was the one; I knew it from the start,” she says. “Nothing compares to Mizzou.”
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