Meet Riley Walker and Learn How She Stumbled Into Fashion Marketing

team Jun 21, 2023
Riley Walker

Prepare for part FOUR of our team introduction series, featuring the amazing Riley Walker - our talented marketing manager! 🎉

Riley and I first connected on The Girlboss Network in July 2020—back when that was a thing. She was eager to learn about freelance designing after being laid off from her corporate job during Covid. I remember thinking at the time how much I loved the way she was turning lemons into lemonade by using her time off as time to grow and challenge her expectations of what she could do.

After a few initial conversations, I knew she would be a great fit to do some side projects for KRSTN NDRSN. Unfortunately, at the time, I didn’t have any extra work to throw her way. When work picked up in November of the same year, I contacted Riley, and she started freelancing part-time with us.

Fast forward to November 2021, with a full-time team member departing, I knew Riley was the perfect fit to step into the white space.

Initially, Riley helped with designing, social media, blogging, and client management at KRSTN NDRSN. However, her interest and talent in marketing stood out, and she eventually became our marketing manager.

We had the chance to interview Riley recently, where she shared her unique background, her marketing process, and how she successfully transitioned from designer to marketing manager.

Stay tuned to read more!


Where did you go to school?

"I attended the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP) at the University of Cincinnati."

What did you study?

"I majored in Fashion Design."

What made you decide to pursue a career in apparel design?

"I became obsessed with the idea of becoming a designer in the eighth grade. I was also reading fashion magazines and sketching out my own designs. Back then, Betsey Johnson was a fave."

How long have you been in the fashion industry?

"Since I graduated in 2017, so a little over 6 years now."


A man and woman sitting on sea side cliffs with a lighthouse in the backgroundRiley and her husband visiting Bar Harbor, Maine.

What other things do you like to do in your free time?

"I start every day with exercise. It helps me feel relaxed and ready for the rest of the day. I have an amazing home gym. In the evenings I enjoy reading. My reading list is a mix of personal development and thrillers. I also love sewing, traveling, and visiting breweries in my hometown. Cincinnati has a rich history of brewing, so it’s always interesting to explore."

Favorite adventure?

"Each year, my husband and I go on a trip for our anniversary. We’ve been to Charleston, Boston, Portland, and Bar Harbor. I love that we prioritize exploring and experiencing new places together vs. material gifts."

Favorite brand or designer?

"My personal style is beachy, bohemian, and feminine. My favorite designers are Ulla Johnson, Zimmermann, Shona Joy, Isabel Marant, Spell, and Sezane."

If you weren’t doing the job you have now, what could you see yourself doing?

"I’m one of the weirdos that love true crime. I always joke with my husband that in my next life, I want to be an FBI profiler like in Mindhunter." 


What’s your job title?

"Marketing Manager." 

How did you come to join the KRSTN NDRSN team?

"I began networking with Kristen during the pandemic. I joined her team as a part-time freelancer in 2020 and then came on full-time in November of 2021." 

What’s it like working with a fully remote team?

"I love having the flexibility and freedom to work from home. I originally thought that I would feel very isolated and lonely after some time (which occasionally does happen), but I think our team does a great job of having team touch-base meetings. We can connect and work together."

A woman standing in a slip dress while talking to 4 people over a Zoom call. KNDRSN team fitting via Zoom as Riley fit models a slip.

You and Kristen have never met in person, is that strange?

"Yes, only because I feel like I’ve met her. When you’ve been working with someone for over 2 and a half years, it just feels like you’ve met already."

What are your favorite parts of working with the team?

"I love that everyone has different strengths and backgrounds. It’s fascinating to see what Trudy, Jasmine, and Monika are working on in CLO. Also, when we come together for virtual fittings, everyone sees and points out different fit issues or tweaks to a garment. It makes collaboration so much fun."

What tasks do you spend most of your time doing?

"Most of my days are spent creating content for social media, writing blogs, composing emails, or creating course content."

What’s your workspace like?

"I love my little office. My husband built me this amazing desk that has wheels. I use it daily as my desk, but it has storage for my sewing machines underneath. My cat also likes to share my space and can be seen in Zoom calls napping in my storage cabinet."


What was the journey like from being an apparel designer to becoming a marketing manager? What prompted the switch?

"It was a pretty subtle and sneaky transition, to be honest. From the beginning of my time at KRSTN NDRSN, I wore many hats and bounced back between tasks. It started with Kristen asking me to help create a course."

I was working on creating course content and figuring out how to market it while also sketching designs. Slowly but surely, I realized how much I was actually enjoying the marketing side of things. Which shouldn’t have shocked me. I almost minored in marketing in college. I was initially fearful because I didn’t want to lose the creative side of my job, but it turned out that marketing is also quite creative."

How has your background in apparel design influenced your approach to fashion marketing?

"I think both jobs follow the same development process. As a marketer, I’m first looking at what is trending, whether that’s trending sounds to include in our reels or trending news to touch upon in our blogs or newsletters. Next, I’m creating and drafting content. Then I’m editing the content with feedback from Kristen. Then, I’m posting and releasing content. And lastly, I’m reviewing and analyzing to see what worked and what could be improved. It all follows the same cycle."

A desk with a laptop open with an email editor on the screen. A pink keyboard, mouse, and coffee mug are also on the desk. Riley working on an email newsletter in Mailerlite.

What specific skills or experiences from your previous career as an apparel designer do you think have been most valuable in your role as a marketing manager?

"My overall understanding of apparel design and the development process is the most valuable. Most of the content we create is geared toward educating design students, freelancers, and apparel brand owners, so without my time spent working as a designer, I don’t think I could create content on those topics."

Transitioning from a designer to a marketing manager must have had its challenges. What were some hurdles you faced, and how did you overcome them?

"It was mostly mental hurdles, to be completely honest. I think I had to let go of this feeling that I needed to be a designer because it’s what I got my degree in. Sometimes you can tie your identity so heavily to a job. I think I also struggle with imposter syndrome from time to time since I didn’t go to school for marketing. Aside from the mental, the second hardest part was learning all the new tools and applications."

What software/applications do you use?

"Canva for creating social media posts and blog graphics.
Planoly for scheduling posts.
Notion for planning posts.
Mailerlite for email campaigns.
Kajabi for course creation.
Wix for blog posts."

What are you looking forward to learning next?

"A lot of my job has been self-taught or learning alongside Kristen. I’m never not learning. I watch a lot of courses on Skillshare. Recently I’ve been taking courses on influencer marketing. I’ve also been strengthening my video editing skills and content creation for Tiktok and Reels."

We are thrilled to have Riley as a part of the KRSTN NDRSN team! Witnessing her transition from apparel designer to marketing manager has been awe-inspiring. She's a quick learner and seamlessly integrates her fashion expertise into our content. We can't wait to see what she'll tackle next!

Make sure to follow us on Instagram to appreciate Riley's impressive work and catch an exclusive glimpse behind the scenes of our team.

Stay tuned for next week's spotlight feature on Kristen Anderson, who is both our CEO and Creative Director!

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