Halee Vande Boom '20

Ryloo Boutique; Store Manager/Creative Director


From young fashionista to designer

Halee Vande Boom, ’20, knew early on she was passionate about all things fashion. Her family looked to their young “fashionista” for outfit approval. Late-night trend research inspired her to imagine her own boutique, and how it would be unique to her brand. She collected magazine clippings, made sketches, and planned inventory and marketing strategy – all at age 11. 

Halee transferred to Mount Mary University from MATC and chose Mount Mary’s fashion design program as her area of study, but soon switched to merchandise management, which better fit her interest in trend forecasting and business planning. 

Halee immediately benefited from a first-year required course, “Fashion Concepts and Careers,” an introduction to the variety of career opportunities in fashion. Fashion industry experts regularly came to class to share the day-to-day aspects of their careers, enlightening and inspiring students about the vast variety of jobs available in fashion after graduation.

“Trend forecasting class taught me to not look at fashion as just an item to buy, but to look at why it is trending and what other trend might come next.” As a result, Halee “advanced my research and attention-to-detail skills.”

Designer goes from apprehensive to confident

“CAD for Merchandisers” class first made Halee apprehensive, but Mount Mary’s small class size allowed for personal guidance from a favorite faculty member and she soon fell in love with the possibilities the digital software provides. With CAD, she could easily envision, create and share the look of her future store, including customer profile and actual product offering, “whether brick-and-mortar or e-commerce - a culmination of my hard work in the merchandise management program.” 

The annual CREO Fashion Show is a favorite event of fashion students, but the traditional show was cancelled in spring 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions. Although challenging, Halee enjoyed collaborating with classmates virtually to re-imagine how they might present their collections. She learned to respect the hurdles the pandemic created, and the need to overcome them to achieve the end goal. Although there was no solution to showcase students creativity that season, Halee stayed positive, realizing the process allowed her to better connect with classmates while advancing her creative and collaborative skills.

Knowledge moves past classroom

Halee is learning outside the classroom as well, thanks to her internship and part-time job as store manager and creative director at Ryloo Boutique. She’s found a mentor in her manager, Kelly, who inspires leadership while Halee advances her skills in store display, photography and styling for e-commerce and social media. She said working retail has improved her communication and sales skills, while connecting and sharing styling expertise with so many people at once through social media is invigorating.

“With the mix of working in retail and Mount Mary’s fashion education, I’m confident the skills I’ve gained through the years will help me find my dream job. I’m looking to move to Tennessee to bring my business and fashion skills to life in the working world.”

Advice from Halee Vande Boom

For those considering a career in fashion: “Work in retail because the experience provides a glimpse into the world of fashion. Don’t be intimidated by those with diverse personalities and style. Instead, observe and learn to accept other’s styling points of view – and then perhaps broaden your own!”

Fashion is a way to express oneself and feel confident. Style is unique to each individual.

Halee Vande Boom '20