Secret Success Stories: Suzi LeBlanc Thorp: Alternative Apparel

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Secret Success Stories: Suzi LeBlanc Thorp: Alternative Apparel

Welcome back to our Secret Success Stories series! This week we're talking to Suzi, the Director of HR at Alternative Apparel! Keep reading to find out what she looks for when hiring employees and interns! 

Questions

1. Can you describe and tell me about Alternative Apparel and it’s background.

Answers

Since 1995, we set out to recreate the softness and simplicity of our favorite vintage tee. Rooted in sustainable and eco-friendly practices, we use proprietary fabrics and specialty washes to make one-of-a-kind pieces that you will want to wear today and tomorrow and the day after. Our design studio and corporate headquarters are located in Atlanta, Georgia with an additional showroom in New York City and retail stores in Venice Beach in Los Angeles, Hayes Valley in San Francisco, and Soho in New York City. Working on a global scale, we respect and value the rights of workers in all countries and believe in the right to fair and safe workplace conditions. Our factories are in accordance with the Fair Labor Association (FLA) Workplace Code of Conduct, and many of the factories we work with are certified by Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP), an independent, non-profit team of global social compliance experts.

Questions

2. What is your title and position at the company and what on earth does that mean?

Answers

My role at Alternative is the Director of HR. With the help of my amazing team, I am responsible for the recruiting, hiring, training and development of all associates in the company. I’m also responsible for the selection and management of our benefits programs, all compliance and reporting, employee relations, coaching, performance management, payroll, and 401k administration and leading and driving our amazing culture.

Questions

3. Can you describe a day in your life from morning until night. We love to give our readers a sense of what life is like in your world after college

Answers

Every day is completely different and usually very fast-paced, which keeps it interesting. Out of the gate, I’m checking emails, reviewing the schedule for the day and week and planning out the critical tasks. I’m conducting at least 3-5 interviews, depending on the number of active searches, conducting a few reference checks and extending job offers. I’m also participating in planning meetings, brainstorming ideas with our internal “Brand Mafia” team on culture activities, problem solving, handling employee concerns, helping to process payroll and benefits, onboarding new hires, counseling and coaching our senior team, and working on strategy to support our business. And if it gets too crazy, I’ll take a break and walk a puppy (one of the many perks of a dog friendly office).

Questions

4. How did you get from college to where you are today?

Answers

After graduating with a History degree, I moved with a few friends from New Orleans straight to Atlanta. I started working for a restaurant company as their Receptionist/Office Manager, and then was promoted into the Recruiting Coordinator role assisting with all recruiting and hiring for more than 20 locations. From there, I progressed in the HR field into a Recruiter role, then into Director of HR roles. Throughout my career, I’ve been drawn to smaller, entrepreneurial businesses that provide a tremendous customer experience, a great product and a fast paced environment. I’ve also been extremely lucky to work with some amazing mentors and friends along the way that helped me in the HR field.

Questions

5. What can a student do to stand out to work for your company in the future?

Answers

Do your research – know about us before you apply. Be persistent – keep checking back on our website, as we are always growing and changing. Be self-driven – we are very impressed with folks that are making it happen. Be passionate – love what you are doing.

Questions

6. What is the hardest thing and best thing about your job?

Answers

 

 

 

Hardest: Being strategic in a smaller company – we are extremely scrappy and hands-on at Alternative, so my role includes a ton of stuff outside of basic HR. We have to constantly carve out time to be strategic when we are involved so heavily in the day-to-day work.

Best Part: The people, culture, and flexibility. We have an amazing team of smart, talented and fun individuals – and it’s great to be challenged by them every day to do your best work. The culture is employee-led: quirky, non-corporate, and fast-paced. As far as flexibility, I am empowered to make daily decisions in the best interest of Alternative and our team, and I get to really stretch and come up with new ideas and see how they impact our business and our team engagement. For example, last week we got to surprise our Atlanta team with a Summer Carnival outside that included chair massage, tarot card readings, screen printing and snow cones. I truly feel part of something incredible at Alternative, and I can see the mark I’m leaving on the company.