Alexa Ritacco A Fashion Digital Marketing Genius
I sat down with Alexa Ritacco, the digital marketing manager for Jenni Kayne, she opened up about what it was like starting in the industry so young and how she got to the position she holds currently. Alexa graduated from USC and has held jobs involving fashion prior to this.
Brianna: Alexa, you’ve had a very interesting introduction into the fashion industry, I know it is not something you pictured yourself having a career in. How did you get started in the business, can you take us through a brief timeline of your career and the different jobs youʼve had?
Alexa: Yes, Fashion never really was something I thought I’d be building a career around. I’ve always enjoyed shopping, clothes, and accessories, and I grew up with a mom who worked in HR at Bloomingdales for years, but it just never crossed my mind that I’d one day be working in the industry. After graduating from USC, I was focused on finding a job that would excite me. I stumbled upon the company I worked for prior to Jenni Kayne, Fame and Partners, through a random Linked In job search. I was applying for a Marketing Coordinator Position. I poked around the site, loved their mission of anti-fast fashion and sustainability, as well as their size inclusivity. I also was drawn to the fact that it was a start-up, so I applied, interviewed and was offered the position. And beginning January of 2017, I was working in fashion! I worked at Fame and Partners until May of 2018, and started at Jenni Kayne in June of 2018. Prior to those two full-time positions, I had internships in marketing and public relations with a non-profit, an education company and a traditional PR firm.
Brianna: Wow, you had a drive to do well in your career and it certainly payed off. You are so young and to have come this far already is very impressive. Can you tell us what it was like progressing so fast in your career and how you handled that being so young in the industry?
Alexa: I think beginning my career at a start-up like Fame and Partners really gave me an edge. I probably gained 3-4 years of marketing experience in just a year and a half because of how quickly things move in a start-up environment. I learned pretty early on in that setting that you have to be willing to jump on all projects, and willing to take on all types of responsibilities, often ones being way out of the realm of what you thought you’d be doing. I’m so grateful for my experience there, as it got me to where I am today.
Brianna: I love that you took a head-first approach in most of your career, I think that it will always give you an edge to be able to do that because not everyone is. So now you talked about Fame and Partners, that was your first big position, can you talk specifically about that?
Alexa: Yes! I worked at Fame and Partners for a year and half. I began as a Marketing Coordinator, and after a year I was promoted to a Digital Marketing Specialist. I managed paid social ads, e-mail and reporting while I was there. Everything moved at a fast pace as the company was only 3 years old when I started, having just moved to The US from its starting office in Sydney. I learned a lot there in a very small amount of time which I found to be super valuable. It was a wonderful start to my career.
Brianna: That is excellent! It sounds like your position at Fame and Partners was the perfect segue to the position you’re in currently. Fame and Partners is a brand that I am a fan of myself. To shift gears, for a moment, can you talk about your education path you went to a fabulous college, USC—what clases did you take to get you where you are now?
Alexa: I majored in Public Relations at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Obviously, I’m now working in Marketing, not PR, but the coursework is honestly what drove me down the Marketing path. They are definitely similar fields, but after taking a few marketing based courses my senior year of college, I determined that Marketing would be a better fit. I liked that Marketing tied in a quantitative component into most of the decision making.
Brianna: I think that is so amazing that you found your passion in college and that you were able to recognize what it was about marketing, specifically, that drew you in to it. Now, can you tell us what it is like being the Digital Marketing Manager for Jenni Kayne?
Alexa: I’m currently the Digital Marketing Manager at Jenni Kayne. I manage all of the acquisition marketing. Basically, what that means is that I handle the channels where we are running ad campaigns/efforts in an attempt to collect new leads and drive new sales. Examples of these channels are paid social (Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest), search and shopping ads (Google ads), affiliate marketing, influencer marketing and more. I also work with the on-site experience, conducting A/B tests on where it’s best to send new traffic, as well as managing different pop-ups on-site to try and drive new traffic to sign-up for our newsletter, which happens to be our highest converting channel. I’m also responsible for weekly and monthly reporting on all of these channels. It’s a really dynamic position and I have been loving it so far.
Brianna: You cover a lot in your job. Social media marketing and connecting with influencers is a huge thing now, I think that, in regards to fashion, it can give any company a huge edge with their sales. Something I’m dying to discuss is how you go about deciding how to attract a certain group when you’re marketing to a specific demographic, what goes into that?
Alexa: I’d say what matters most when marketing to specific audiences is making sure you are proving value. It needs to be made clear in every part of the customer’s interaction with the brand. From the imagery, the ad copy and the on-site experience, the main question that should be answered is how this product will fit into their lives, and what the value is over other brands.
Brianna: I can imagine that is a big task, looking and monitoring the numbers and sales. Now, can you tell us about some of the merchandise you are working with at Jenni Kayne, I know one very popular design of hers is the D’orsay flat, can you talk about that in particular?
Alexa: Yes, the D’Orsay flat is our claim to fame! It’s a great, classic shoe that is incredibly versatile. Since I’ve started here, we’ve actually noticed a shift in interest to our Mule Slides. It has a similar feel to the D’Orsays but is almost a little easier to wear considering the fact that it’s a slide. Both shoes are amazing, and practically sell themselves. We try to make the value of both very clear in our advertising, and it’s proven as soon as the customer gets the shoes.
Brianna: I will have to check out the Mule Slide. I love anything that you can just slip into and still look professional in. Finally, can you tell us one thing that you feel is key to getting ahead in the industry?
Alexa: I’d say making connections and building your network early on, and talking to as many people as possible to try and gage if it’s a business you want to get into. Don’t be afraid to ask people already in the industry to set-up a quick call, or go for coffee.
Brianna: That is great advice. I would agree I think that anytime you’re trying to get into a business you have to get a grasp on if it is somewhere you could see yourself. Thank you Alexa for telling us about your success in this industry and how you got your start. I wish you tremendous success.