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With Education Came Confidence for Grad Hayley Cone


For Hayley Cone a formal education in Fashion Marketing and Merchandising gave her the confidence and the know-how to take a career she was already passionate about to a whole new level.

“School really gave me the confidence to shine in what I was good at and now I am great at it,” Cone said.
Cone graduates from the Academy of Design, where she studied Fashion Marketing and Merchandising, at a ceremony on May 2 where she will serve as the campus valedictorian. She said, when she speaks to the students, faculty, friends and family, she wants to share with them how she, a 31-year-old from King City, Ontario has finally found fearlessness.
“I have way more confidence in my decision making and in my voice,” she said. “I think I always used to come from a place of fear of messing up and now I’m not afraid.”
Cone worked as a retail store manager for four years while living out west, but she said her decision to go back to school gave her the tools to elevate her career.
“Essentially why I went to school was because I loved the visual aspect, I loved merchandizing, but I didn’t have any background,” Cone said.
She is now working at Anthropologie, a clothing, accessories, gifts and home décor store, where she is the apparel department manager at one of their store locations.
“I get to be very artistic and really celebrate what I have learned and apply my back ground and my schooling,” Cone said.
In her job, Cone said she thrives on pairing the artistic approach to merchandizing with the hard numbers associated with sales.
“If I want my denim department to grow by five per cent this quarter, what am I going to do?” Cone explained. “I get to be innovative.”
What makes her rise to valedictorian of particular interest is that Cone, who loves rugby and yoga, had always operated under the assumption that school just wasn’t for her.
After high school, Cone attended a couple of years of university, before leaving and going to work for her father who is an equestrian.
She then moved to British Columbia where she worked her way up at Lululemon Athletica.
After these various twists and turns in her career path, Cone said she finally felt as though she was somewhere that she wanted to be, doing something that she was passionate about.
“I started to feel like I really needed to get more education in the field,” Cone said. “I didn’t know enough to rise above to where I wanted to be.”
For a few years the idea of attending school kept percolating up.
“School has never been a forte of mine, I never did well and I never really tried because I didn’t care because I was an athlete,” Cone explained. “So this was a really big step for me.”
Even her parents were skeptical of her decision, but Cone said she knew it was what she needed to do in order to advance in her career.
She looked at a few schools before settling on the Academy of Design.
“I picked the Academy because I was looking to get back into the work force as soon as possible… I wanted it to be small, so I would know my teachers, be able to knock on my program directors door if I needed to, because I knew that is how I would be successful,” Cone said.
Cone said the experience was intense and the workload was heavy. It took her a few terms to really learn how to balance everything.
“It was about developing relationships with classmates and teachers to really figure out how to utilize my time,” Cone said.
Editors Note: The Fashion Marketing and Merchandising Diploma program and the Fashion Design Diploma program are now offered under the banner of the Toronto Film School. For more information visit www. torontofilmschool.ca


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