Finding the Right Fit

Imani Starling-Brown always knew that she wanted to pursue a career in the fashion industry, but it wasn’t until she came to NC State that she knew which specific direction to take. While completing her bachelor’s degree in fashion and textile management, she stumbled upon a market that caught her eye.

“My time in Wilson College strengthened my love for fashion and allowed me to discover a specific sector that I wanted to impact: luxury,” Starling-Brown says. “Because luxury brands and consumers are a very niche market, I needed to gain a comprehensive understanding of how they think and how I could adequately manage luxury brands. I decided to pursue my master’s degree in the Global Luxury and Management program.”

The Global Luxury and Management (GLAM) Program, a dual master’s degree program through the Poole College of Management and the Skema Business School, combines industry immersion, international experience and curriculum tailor-made for the luxury market.

“Conveniently, the program was at NC State – and because I was already a student there, I had confidence in the program and its curriculum quality,” Starling-Brown says.

Starling-Brown applied to the program – and the rest is history. Today, she’s a marketing coordinator at FRĒDA SALVADOR, a luxury shoe company based in California.

As part of the GLAM program, Starling-Brown had the opportunity to visit trade shows, corporate headquarters and ateliers, see the Louis Vuitton family home and study abroad in France.

“How many 23-year-olds can say they lived alone in Paris during Fashion Week?” Starling-Brown says. “We were always on the move in the GLAM program – and I loved it. I’ll never forget or take for granted all of these opportunities I had to travel.”

For Starling-Brown, the most valuable part of all these experiences in GLAM was getting to network with a variety of diverse professionals.

“These experiences presented ample opportunities to liaise with a wide range of professionals in the fashion industry and learn from their experiences,” she says. “Although not every professional worked in the fashion industry, they all offered a unique insight into the luxury sector.”

After graduating from the GLAM program in Spring 2020, Starling-Brown worked as a freelance social media marketing manager for Aiden & Coco, an aromatherapy spray company, before taking a position with FRĒDA SALVADOR.

“I saw this as an opportunity to develop my professional skills and stay busy in quarantine while also seeking a full-time job. I managed the company’s influencer marketing, which prepared me well for my current position.”

Today, as marketing coordinator with FRĒDA SALVADOR, Starling-Brown integrates business analytics and creativity to improve the company’s marketing initiatives – and one of her first projects was launching the company’s ambassador program.

“My responsibilities differ based on the day. Most days, I manage the ambassador program, which includes vetting potential partners, assisting ambassadors and reporting on key metrics to determine the program’s weekly performance,” Starling-Brown explains. “Other days, I attend on-location photoshoots or pull products from our warehouse to send to celebrities and influencers.”

Looking back on her time in the GLAM program, Starling-Brown sees how well it prepared her to excel at FRĒDA SALVADOR.

“In the GLAM program, things were constantly changing. Whether a date or time, a location or an entire plan, anything could shift – and we had to be prepared and professional,” she says. “As a Type-A personality, this dynamic helped me become more adaptable and less stressed in situations of uncertainty – which has really prepared me for my current role. FRĒDA SALVADOR is a relatively small and new luxury company, so I practice adaptability every day to make necessary adjustments for the brand’s success.”