Allison Werthmann-Radnich | Minneapolis | St. Paul | FGI Regional Director

Sales Associate

I created my own business | Personal Shopper | Loved it!

Wardrobe Consultant | Retail Manager | Personal Shopper

Allison WR will share with you in this interview the path that she took to find the career she truly wanted. She will take you on a journey into the world of fashion from her perspective and experience. She states, she finally found her passion. Introducing, Allison Werthmann-Radnich.

StitchnPost | Have you always worked within the fashion industry?

Allison | Nope! I had about four careers and twice as many jobs before finding my footing in fashion.

StitchnPost | How long have you worked within the fashion industry?

Allison | About twenty years. I’ve been in fine jewelry, personal shopping, wardrobe consulting, retail sales, retail management, fashion styling for private clients and professional companies are the majority of jobs, I’ve held. I like to say that I’ve done everything but make the clothes.

StitchnPost | Do you recall the moment when you decided to pursue a career in fashion?

Allison | Yes, when I became a professional personal shopper. I went to a career counselor after quitting a high-stress advertising job to help me find my next career path. It was the cumulation of all my other jobs rolled into one, and I was really good at it!

StitchnPost | In general, what would you say is the most challenging when choosing a career?

Allison | Deciding what advice to listen to, what advice to ignore, and then acting on what is best for you. Everyone loves to give advice, but most people offer advice based on their experience and what they wish they would have done differently, not on what the needs are of the person asking.

StitchnPost | Did your first job involve fashion?

Allison | My first job was at Burger King when I was 14! Back then it was the only place that would hire someone my age, outside of odd jobs for family members or babysitting.

StitchnPost | In your first fashion-related position, what was your starting salary?

Allison | According to the world of fashion, my real first fashion job would have been as a salesperson in a family-owned fine jewelry store, Charlemagne (on Grand Ave. in St. Paul, MN). I was paid $8/hr and I thought I had really reached the big time! However, I consider my job as a personal shopper to be my real first job in the fashion world. I was hired by Dayton’s in the Downtown Minneapolis store, and I received a 10% commission on sales.

StitchnPost | In your opinion has entry-level salaries changed much within the fashion industry?

Allison | While they have risen in the last twenty years, wages remain shockingly low in the hourly wage sector.

StitchnPost | What is the average salary for an entry-level fashion designer or model with no experience in Minneapolis today?

Allison | Disclaimer: I had to search the internet for this information. An entry-level fashion designer, hired by a big company, like Target or Restoration Hardware, would be around $42,000. Word of caution, those jobs are scarce and competition is high. There are more jobs available as an independent contractor or at an hourly rate. As for modeling, models do not have a salary, as the nature of the industry is on a job-by-job rate negotiation. A beginning model, not with an agency will have their rates negotiated for them, which varies according to the job. An internet search yields between $20-40 an hour for a model in Minneapolis.

When working with clients in fashion | Spend the most amount of time listening.

StitchnPost | When you were making the decision to start your career within the fashion industry, did you have a specific position in mind?

Allison | Yes, I wanted to be a personal shopper. I created my own business and had private clients for almost two years, then I was hired by Dayton’s. I worked for Dayton’s | Marshall Field’s | Macy’s for almost three years.

StitchnPost | Do you currently work in a fashion position that works with customers?

Allison | I am a sales associate with dugo an independent women’s boutique in the Galleria mall in Edina MN. We specialize in special occasion dressing. I write and design the e-newsletter and write any other marketing copy needed, I also do a bit of modeling for the store and style clients daily. I have worked at dugo for almost five years. The most important insight I want to share is this: when working with clients in a fashion capacity, spend the most amount of time listening to the client and only after you identify the problem, then provide the solution using your skills as a fashion professional.

Stitchnpost | In your opinion, what is the Minneapolis fashion scene like for recent graduates wanting to advance their careers in the Twin Cities?

Allison | Welcoming! We have a small but mighty community, and everyone wants everyone else to succeed. I encourage new graduates to ask for help and follow through on offers extended to them.

StitchnPost | Have you experienced any challenges that you would like to share having worked within such a competitive industry as fashion?

Allison | My biggest challenge has been keeping myself stuck at a certain level of success in my career because I was afraid of failing at something new. I regret not having the guts to make the right decision for myself and instead of making decisions to help the company I was working for and keeping my job secure. I’m afraid this answer isn’t in the spirit of the question but I really haven’t had competitive challenges in the traditional sense because everyone in Minneapolis really is supportive of each other. It’s a unique situation that I don’t think exists anywhere else. As for advice for someone facing the same challenges, I can only think of recommending therapy?

I enjoy obstacle races | like Tough Mudder.

StitchnPost | When you are not working, what activities do you participate?

Allison | I enjoy running obstacle races, like Tough Mudder, and learning about and working for change on social justice, diversity and inclusion. A big part of my time is spent trying to keep up with my kiddo, with activities like fossil hunting, sledding, and skateboarding.

StitchnPost | What do your friends and family think about your choice of working in fashion?

Allison | They enjoy the benefits of having a former personal shopper in the family whenever gift-giving is needed.

StitchnPost | How often would you say that you attend fashion shows or events in a twelve-month period, personally and professionally?

Allison | Pre-pandemic, about 15 events a year.

StitchnPost | For young professionals starting out in fashion design or modeling do you recommend the hiring of an agent or mentor?

Allison | You shouldn’t have to hire a mentor, and I do recommend getting one, or perhaps a career coach, which would be a hiring position. Agents are useful to further your career but remember that they facilitate the work you get, you still have the bulk of responsibility in promoting yourself and finding jobs.

We are not flyover territory, we’re a destination unto ourselves.Allison

StitchnPost | Are you currently a member of the Fashion Group International? What Position do you hold?

Allison | Yes, I am the Regional Director for the Minneapolis | St. Paul chapter.

StitchnPost | As a member of FGI, what is the overall mission of FGI? In addition, what is the mission of the region’s chapter in Minneapolis | St. Paul?

Allison | Founded in 1930 by 17 accomplished women, Fashion Group International is a global, non-profit association whose mission is to provide resources, connections, and career support for 5000 members. Fashion Group International is an essential industry resource to connect members to information, inspiration, education, events, industry leaders, global resources, historic archives, established professionals, new talent, innovators, taste-makers, award winners, and most importantly each other.

StitchnPost | As the regional director of Fashion Group International for the Minneapolis | St. Paul chapter, what is it that you would like to achieve?

Allison | I have four specific professional goals for our chapter. Increase diversity and inclusion through membership so it reflects our fashion community in all ways. Create programming that is relevant and meaningful to our members’ needs and wants. Get sponsors for financial independence. Bring value to our membership through marketing, programming, promotion, connections, and business opportunity.

StithnPost |Did you have a mentor or an FGI member that suggested you join the Minneapolis | St. Paul chapter of FGI?

Allison | I first joined when I was working at STYLEDLIFE, and they sponsored my membership. Fast forward five years later and I joined of my own accord. Former Regional Director and long-standing FGI member Sandy Simmons approached me to be Regional Director. Milana Tolins was the regional director before me, and she provided guidance and trained me on the position.

StitchnPost | What do you like about being a member of Fashion Group International?

Allison | The people I’ve met, the insights into the industry I’ve gained, and the skills I’ve developed being an active member. Our local chapter embraced my return to the fashion business without judgement or reservation. It provided a social outlet I needed and I got to meet people I normally would have not met. I was attracted to the business side of fashion and FGI is focused on that more than other fashion organizations.

StitchnPost | What would you like people to know about your experience as an FGI regional director in the “Twin Cities” ~ Minneapolis | St. Paul?

Allison | That our local chapter sits in an absolutely incredible community of talented, successful, diverse business and creative professionals. We’re not a flyover territory, we’re a destination unto ourselves.

StitchnPost | What is the one thing that you would like people to know about you?

Allison | It’s self serving, but I’m looking for a great job! I’m a wonderful employee, hit me up!

StitchnPost | What advice would you give to a person interested in making fashion their career choice regardless of the area of interest?

Allison | That this industry is more vast than you can imagine and you can find any type of job within the fashion industry. From hand-wrought skills to cutting edge technology and everything in-between, there is a place for everyone in fashion. AWR

Fashion | Minneapolis