Apparel Industry Management
I open up dialogues with my students and listen to their concerns and ambitions, trying to prepare them for what lies ahead.”
Industry veteran Mark Colonomos worked his way up from a job in the shipping department of a major brand to retiring after selling his vertical sweater manufacturing company 30 years later. Along the way, he gained valuable insights into the complexities of the industry that he enjoys passing along at his sold out "How to Create, Start and Manage a New Business" lectures around town and as Vice-President of Counselor Services for SCOREla., an SBA (Small Business Administration) Volunteer Service Corps that advises new entrepreneurs. At FIDM, Colonomos teaches Wholesale Selling, Ownership and Finance, Survey of Manufacturing, and Cost and Cost Control.
Can you summarize your diverse industry experience?
In my 30 years in the industry I have held positions from Designer to Sales Manager for numerous companies. I formed my first legitimate domestic apparel company at the age of 22. I have owned four apparel companies with different partners and arrangements. My experience in the clothing business transcends the norm. My last company, which enabled me to retire at a relatively young age, was a very successful domestic sweater company with $18 million annual sales and over 150 employees. Our accounts included Kohl’s, Sears, and Penney’s.
Describe a favorite class project:
One of my favorite class projects is the Oral Sales Presentation that my students are required to give at the end of the semester. It is a fitting conclusion to weekly practicing and rehearsing sessions, depicting different Buyer/Salesperson scenarios in class.
What do you enjoy most about teaching at FIDM?
FIDM has a wonderful energy and creative atmosphere that inspires me, but what I enjoy most about teaching has to be the students. It’s great to be able to communicate with them at a crucial turning point in their lives. There is this wonderful appreciation they have for you when you really care about helping and guiding them.
How do students benefit from all your experience?
My students will concur that I teach from the "real world." Having experienced numerous ups and downs throughout my career, I share my failures as well as my successes. Through examples and (funny) stories, my lectures go beyond the subject and incorporate real life. Through this process my students get an understanding of what is really going on in the clothing industry and some of the tools that they will need to be successful.
Mark Colonomos is an Outstanding Faculty Award winner, an award given by the student body to outstanding faculty members.
Please Note: The information contained herein was confirmed at the time of original publication.