Megan Gallagher – Career Success and Fulfilment as a Merchandiser at New Balance
Fashion Buying & Merchandising
Business of Fashion
Megan Gallagher is a Merchandiser of Footwear in Digital and Retail at New Balance, based in Amsterdam. She graduated from Fashion Buying and Merchandising at Portobello Institute in 2015 and her career has gone from strength to strength.
New Balance is one of the world’s major sports footwear and apparel manufacturers.
Having grown up embedded in her family’s business and working in retail through her teenage and college years, Megan knew that she wanted to get into fashion buying and merchandising. She studied as a visual merchandiser first and worked as a visual merchandiser for some time before deciding to study at Portobello Institute.
Megan was eager to skyrocket her career to new levels, and she believed that gaining a qualification would show employers her knowledge, skill and commitment to her passion.
“I loved school but wasn’t a big studier and hated exams so I knew I wanted to do something I truly loved. I was and still am very passionate about the fashion industry and knew in order to get my foot in the door of the buying and merchandising world I would need to show that I am capable and have an understanding of the work that goes into this job,” she said.
Like many young people who are uncertain of their futures, Megan initially studied business but later dropped out because the course was missing the creative flare she was craving and passionate about. She chose a new course in the fashion industry with Portobello Institute.
“I did follow my passion! I previously went to college to study business and I hated every moment of it so dropped out to pursue my passion for the fashion industry.
“What I felt I was missing was using my creativity and using my knowledge from growing up in a business to make changes.
“My decision to drop out of college and take a different route to get to my career goals was definitely the road less travelled but it worked out for me and I can now say I have a thriving career and have Dunnes Stores, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger and New Balance under my belt!
“The course was exactly what I needed and wanted to do at the time. If it wasn’t for the course I wouldn’t be where I am today that’s for sure. It set me up to be hirable as soon as I left the course and that’s exactly what happened.
“I am the Merchandiser for Women’s Lifestyle Footwear and Kid’s Footwear for Digital and Retail Channels for New Balance EMEA. I buy the assortment for all channels including Full Price, Outlet, Marketplace and E-commerce.
“This course gave me the key skills on how to communicate within this business and how to thrive. I still use many of the key lessons in my day-to-day role. I went from working in retail, a college dropout, to a Visual Merchandiser and a Buyer/Merchandiser within a year of the course,” she said.
Megan shared some insights into a day in the life in her role and the fulfilment she feels.
“A day in my working life can vary quite a lot. Monday’s consist of reporting on the previous week, trade meetings and updating reporting.
“The rest of the week consists of working on the assortment for new stores and upcoming seasons. Depending on the time of year I could be working on Mid/End of Season Sale selections.
“And of course, there are always ad-hoc requests and last-minute fires to be put out!
“I love my job and my team and New Balance. I feel like I am part of a really excellent team and that I bring a lot to them too.
“I have been recently promoted and I know that is down to my hard work and dedication to improving the business but also having a positive outlook at work. I have found it hard to settle in some companies previously but I have been in New Balance for two years already and have no plans on stopping!
“I feel fulfilled on a daily basis working on important projects and being given the room to explore new ideas and put them into action,” she said.
Megan loves that her current role is diverse, with a mix of buying and merchandising duties. Her skill set and mindset help her to fulfil her potential in her role. She credits many of her skills back to her studies.
“I believe my skill set and my mindset have made me successful. I am constantly refining my Excel skills, researching trends, and reporting on upcoming shifts in the market. I do my best to be a positive person and not get stressed by things that are out of my control, I try to take a problem and find a solution instead of worrying about it.
“I have always wanted to work in buying and merchandising. I have come from a planning role in my last job to more of a buying-focused job in New Balance and I love it.
“The real-life skills I learned during the course were the most valuable things I took away from Portobello Institute. I learned from people I admired and could look up to and wasn’t sitting being lectured to on a topic that didn’t interest me. The interaction between tutors and students was really great and I never felt like I had a stupid question.
“My time as a student was great, I met really lovely friends and I am still in contact with my tutor Anne Marie about internships for her students and all things Portobello! I loved it so much that I travelled from Donegal to Dublin once a week for the course on the bus. Anyone from Donegal will know how rough that can be!
“At the time Portobello was the only college offering the course in Ireland so of course it was my number one choice, but not only for that reason. It was reasonably priced, the tutors and mentors were people from the industry who could give real-life experience to the course and teach us what was needed to thrive in the business and that was what was most important to me.
“I absolutely would recommend Portobello to any aspiring fashion students. It’s a lovely place to study and you really get set up for a job as soon as you step into class,” she said.
New Balance hires interns on an annual basis and Megan highly recommends that anyone interested should apply – you can check out the opportunities available here.
Find Out More
At Portobello Institute we have a number of business of fashion undergraduate degrees and post-graduate opportunities. Find out more about our BA (Hons) in Fashion Buying & Merchandising, BA (Hons) in Fashion Management, Post Graduate Certificate in Fashion Buying & Merchandising, Postgraduate Certificate in Fashion Management and other courses.