Black History Month Spotlight: Alex- Aerie Assistant Merchant

Every February, we honor Black History Month, a time for reflection, rejuvenation and the celebration of the enduring influence of Black people, not only throughout American and Canadian History, but also World History. At AEO, we celebrate Black History Month in a way that reflects the rich diversity of the experiences, culture and contributions of Black people. This month, we will be spotlighting a few AEO associates so they can share why Black History Month is important to them.

Associate Merchant, Alex has been part of our AEO family since 2018. Today she supports the Aerie brand in delivering amazing product to customers, however she wasn’t always on the merchandising career path. We chatted with Alex about her love for Aerie, her favorite products and how she is honoring Black History Month.

Tell us about your role.

I am an Assistant Merchant for Aerie fleece and sweaters. I actually started my career in Inventory Planning through the AEO Teammate Program, but I realized I had a passion for Merchandising. Day in and out, I’m working with our Production, Design and Inventory Planning teams to ensure we’re putting the best product in our stores at the right price.

What’s so special about the Aerie brand?

I love working for Aerie! And AEO as a whole is so inclusive. The Aerie brand really embraces body positivity– that’s why its product and messages have resonated with so many customers. We’ve broken those barriers across the industry. Aerie doesn’t photoshop its marketing images and we have diversity of models- whether that means ethnicity or body types. It’s so awesome to be a part of this incredible team!

So we have to ask, what’s your “go-to” Aerie product?

I’m biased, but I love our sweatshirts! Now that most people are working from home, this is what we are all wearing. I always wear our products, so it makes it even more fun to bring these clothes to life. I am our target customer, so I’m choosing the pieces that I want to wear!

Why are proud to be a Black American?

I’m really proud to be part of a race that continues to show resilience and perseverance time and time again, even though the odds are stacked against us. Knowing and learning the history of my ancestors is so valuable. They have made it possible for me to be here today and that inspires me.

How do you celebrate Black History Month?

Everyone celebrates their own way, but personally, I like to continue educating myself on the history of my ancestors through podcasts or documentaries. Unfortunately, I’ve learned more as an adult than I ever did in school. It’s so important that schools implement better Black history education. I recently finished a great podcast called 1619. It’s about enslaved Africans arriving in what eventually became America. It was super eye opening.

Who is a Black figure who has inspired you?

My grandmother. She grew up in the Jim Crow south and segregation was part of her life. Despite those challenges, she never let it make her feel any less. She has such a strong sense of self, which she learned from her mother. I admire her so much and she has taught me to really understand my worth.