No degree, but sweet designs

Robin Withall

So you’ve decided on a career in fashion and Villanova does not have your major. Thinking about transferring? Well, not so fast. While Villanova may not have a Fashion Design or Fashion Merchandising major, Villanova alum Lina Perez-Lammot (class of ’99) is making a name for herself in the fashion world after having graduated with a degree in Management and International Business.

“I’ve always had a passion for fashion,” Perez-Lammot said. “However, I started my career working for a traditional consulting company called Accenture.” As secure as her job was, it just wasn’t what Perez-Lammot wanted. “I had what a considered to be a fantastic position, in a terrific team with enviable job flexibility. As secure as my job was, though, it wasn’t leading me to my long term goals.”

Perez-Lammot made a very tough decision and put aside her traditional career to dedicate herself to, a fashion accessories website that “provides fashion enthusiasts with access to the new Classic Collection and Enviable Collection of luxurious handbags,” says the April 2004 press release.

So just how did Perez-Lammot break into the fashion industry without a classic major? She attributes it partly to the fact that she was exposed to different cultures during her college years.

“I am from Puerto Rico, so coming to Villanova was like studying abroad for me,” she said. Perez-Lammot also had the chance to travel and study abroad in the Netherlands. “I love traveling and being exposed to different cultures and customs and ideas,” Perez-Lammot said. “After working for Accenture on the consulting side, I transferred to the Diversity Team – a small team that is primarily responsible for the recruitment, retention and advancement of minorities. I love the role, the team and my exposure but I reached a plateau in my career and decided to start my own business.”

These experiences taught Perez-Lammot to experiment with different things, while Villanova prepared her for running a business. “Although Villanova did not prepare me for a career in the fashion industry it did provide me with the foundation that I needed to become a business woman,” she said. “Fashion might be a sexy industry, but at the end of the day, it is still a business. I lead Zazii as such.”

As for Zazii, Perez-Lammot and Pilar Rodriguez-Bou – the company’s Vice President and Chief Designer – see the company continuing to expand in the future. Zazii’s mission is to become an internationally recognized brand of accessories. Most important to Perez-Lammot is continuing to provide customers with the highest level of service to satisfy their needs.

During the next couple of years the company will expand the collections into other woman’s accessories. In the meantime, says Perez-Lammot, the company will continue working on handbags, perfecting the designs and finishes.

“On a personal note, I plan to utilize Zazii as a catalyst to inspire, encourage and support other young female entrepreneurs,” Perez-Lammot said. “I am looking forward to the small failures, achieving big successes and always being open to the teachings of the school of life.”