Is retail marketing a skill to study at university? While some may not think so, Maegan Warren knows differently. For her, studying retail marketing was one of the best decisions of her life.

Maegan graduated from the Retail Marketing Program at Capilano University in 2008 and later went on to complete her full degree in Business Administration at Cap. (The Retail Marketing Program ladders into Cap’s Business Administration degree and diploma programs.) She is currently the creative store designer at Lala’s, an artsy fashion-forward gift store located on both Commercial Drive and in Deep Cove. Lala’s stocks a wide range of items, ranging from stationery to greeting cards to bed and bath supplies.

Salesperson to creative designer

Maegan grew up between the town of Gibsons and Vancouver, but eventually settled in Vancouver in order to follow her passion for marketing and design. She initially studied design at another institution, but felt she wanted to diversify her experience and do something that encompassed both marketing and design.

“I wanted to do something that was fully creative,” Maegan says. Realizing she wanted to learn more about the strategy behind successful retail, she decided to transfer into Cap U’s more marketing-based program.

Maegan’s association with Lala’s started almost 12 years ago. She began working there as a salesperson and continued in that role throughout university.

Upon her graduation, Maegan started her own millinery business. She was still in touch with Kristina Egyed, the owner of Lala’s who opened the Deep Cove location in 1996. When Kristina suggested Maegan join her and open a branch on the Drive, Maegan was happy to accept.

“We were both ready to expand, branch out and challenge ourselves,” she says.

Maegan is now the creative mind behind the exquisite designs at Lala’s. She also manages the retail operations while Kristina is more on the run looking at supplies and stock.

Mentoring and confidence

Maegan says she learned the actual day-to-day running of a business in all its practicality while in the Retail Marketing Program at Cap—an area about which she had been passionate for a long time. She says once she realized this was what she wanted to do for the rest of her life, she gained invaluable experience at Cap.

“Retail is [one of] the biggest industries in the world and it contributes to Canada’s GDP more than many others—yet [within it] you can be a nobody. But I really wanted to work in retail and it’s what I love, so Cap’s program was the best fit,” she says.

It was not only the coursework and the skills that she acquired, but also the mentoring and long-lasting connections she made at Cap that were so helpful. Maegan considered Charlene Hill, the School of Business Chair, as a guide and mentor who was thoroughly invested in the students. This sort of guidance and networking is invaluable for any aspiring young professional just beginning in their field, she says.

“People say you don’t need to go to school to work in retail—but if you know that retail is your passion, then go to school,” says Maegan. “It gives you confidence and can open up doors that you can’t even imagine.”

Submitted by Marketing & Communications, written by Shanel Khaliq

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A Retail Marketing Program information meeting will take place on August 11th.

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