For a little over a year now, Marley has been an invaluable member of the Merchandising team at Parachute. She moved to Los Angeles from Virginia after graduating with a degree in Fashion Merchandising, looking to get her foot in the door in the home decor space, and now uses her experience to do everything from product and color naming to competitive analyses. She has a lot on her plate but tells us: “I am working one of my absolute dream jobs.”
We sat down with Marley to chat about everything from her time at Parachute, love of fashion, and – of course – whether she likes pineapple on pizza.
Tell us about where you grew up
Palo Alto, CA. It’s a very tiny town in the Bay Area but it did have its perks of housing Stanford University’s beautiful campus and the best donut shop ever (shout out Happy Donuts!). It was so suburban, I remember the biggest news that rocked the town the entirety of my middle school career was that one student’s bike got stolen. On the weekends when I wasn’t in San Francisco or Oakland for a concert, I would walk the perimeter of the town on a personal mission to explore each and every street so if you ever need geographical guidance in Palo Alto, I’m your girl.
How would your closest friend describe you?
I actually texted my closest friend to ask this question so I wouldn’t be caught in some cliche answer! She responded back: "I would say you’re reliable, encouraging, dependable, independent, courageous, a risk taker, and fearless!! You’re a literal beam of light. I think of you and the first thing that comes to mind is the color yellow. You just shine and aren’t afraid to shine no matter how bright. You make everyone around you feel comfortable just being themselves." (Yes, tears were shed!)
What’s your favorite type of music and who is your favorite artist?
Crediting my older sister with exposing me to Spice World and always dancing to Britney Spears in the living room with me when we were younger, I absolutely fell head over platform boots with pop music, glittery outfits and all! I also regard 90s and early 2000s R&B as my safe space as my parents would blast TLC and Mariah Carey on Sunday mornings; that was me and my sister’s signal that we would be spending the day cleaning our room. Once I got older and discovered music on my own, I grew an affinity for both pop punk and conversely, Justin Bieber. Opposite ends, I know, but it’s not my fault that ‘Misery Business’ is as much of a bop as ‘Baby’ is! I won ‘Biggest Fangirl’ in high school as my senior superlative and I honestly feel like I will always live up to that title.
What are you passionate about?
I’ve always been interested in fashion ever since I was five years old walking around the house in my mom’s faux-snakeskin stiletto boots. I believe in two things:
Fashion doesn’t stop at just clothing, it’s everywhere around us - from the car we choose to drive to the way we decorate our home.
Fashion doesn’t have to be as difficult as everyone makes it out to be.
I’m passionate about making those two points click to others! Don’t be afraid to take risks and try out a new color - even if it’s just a new Raisin throw on your bed. Worst case scenario you’ll now know Raisin isn’t for you. (Try the Mink throw instead!)
Day in the life: please tell us a little about your day to day, your team, cross collaborators, projects, etc.
Competitive analyses, product/color naming, and pricing exercises - OH MY! Merchandising is the best way to use both my right and left sides of my brain; it’s both analytical and creative! My lovely team and I ensure that every single product launching in a season is ready to be debuted by collaborating with design, sourcing, and planning teams for colors and details, and creating the SKUs themselves. After launch, we closely monitor their performance so we can continue putting out the best of the best in home decor.
What did your journey look like to lead to your time at Parachute today?
After moving back to California from graduating college in Virginia with a degree in Fashion Merchandising, it was pretty tough finding a fashion-related job. The Bay Area unfortunately does not value the importance of a nicely styled outfit just yet, so I found managerial retail positions for a few years for both a tweens-wear brand and a luxury menswear brand. Living and breathing fitting men in suits for their wedding day or tweens needing style advice for their first day of school always had me beat by the end of the day, but I learned tons about two facets of the fashion industry I wasn’t familiar with at first. I was able to finally make my first big girl move to Los Angeles in 2021 after getting my foot in the home decor space during the year prior and now I can confidently say I am working one of my absolute dream jobs in a city where people go to the grocery store in some of the cutest outfits I’ve ever seen! Look momma, I made it! Previous Fashion Merch major actually working in the merchandising field! And I also now can correctly guess any man’s suit jacket and waist size here just by eyeballing it. My journey to Parachute was definitely more of a loop-de-loop than straight toward the finish line but it’s incredible that I’ve been steadily learning about all kinds of fashion, not just womenswear.
What’s one word that comes to mind when you think of the Parachute team?
ENCOURAGING! It’s truly a breath of fresh air that the greater Parachute team is always on board to help you in any way they are able. The team believes you’re capable of growing and having your ‘AHA!’ moment at any point so it’s genuinely strived for every single day. Big family energy!
Cups in the cupboard, right side up or upside down?
Right side up - I’m way too clumsy to have them upside down, they might clank around and break when I try to grab one or put one back!
Pineapple on pizza?
Not really a pizza girl in general so absolutely no but letting this slide since a lot of my friends like it.