Retail and Merchandising Designer
Ashley Dionne graduated from the School of Art & Design at Northern Michigan University with a BFA in Human Centered Design in 2008. One of the first students to complete the HCD program, Ashley chose to steer her ambitions toward retail design and visual merchandising. She spent most summers taking courses that weren’t required for BFA candidacy, but that piqued her interests. “In comparing my design school experiences with those of my NYC based colleagues, most of whom have obtained masters degrees, I feel like I had their grad school experience in undergrad,” says Dionne. “My educational development was entirely mine to own. Looking back, I wish I had exploited the extensive studio facilities within the School even more!”
After graduating, Ashley lived in Marquette honing her design skills with freelance and personal work before departing for New York City in the summer of 2009. “Three days after I got to the city, I got a call from the only real professional contact I had. He needed someone to fill a spot while some of his designers were on vacation. I ended up working there for 5 years.” Dionne is speaking of multi-disciplinary creative agency, RPG, based out of midtown Manhattan. In her time there, she was promoted to Senior Designer and was the agency’s design lead for beauty brand, Benefit Cosmetics. She oversaw projects from initial concept design through engineering, prototyping and production rollouts. Having worked closely with the brand for many years, she was invited to present on their behalf at the inaugural Global Merchandising and Store Design conference at the brand headquarters in San Francisco, California in 2012. While with RPG, Dionne also worked a broad range of clients including Allure Magazine, Birchbox, Bose, Elizabeth Arden Fragrances, Seventh Generation, Smashbox Cosmetics, Revlon, and Walgreens. Projects ranged from branding and packaging design, promotional product launches and merchandising systems, to pop up shops and full retail concept stores. She left RPG in 2014 to join South African based creative marketing agency Barrows in their NYC based North American offices where she worked primarily on In-Store Visual Presentation for Unilever brands including Degree, Dove, Nexxus, Suave and Tresseme.
Most recently, Ashley joined Estée Lauder Companies in November of 2014, working for heritage brand, Clinique. She stepped into a new role as Associate Design Director of Store Design and Visual Merchandising with a focus on open-service accounts. In this role, Dionne leads the team that designs and manages all in-store display and merchandising for Sephora, Ulta and Nordstrom. “I’ve been working in the beauty industry for 6 years and in that short time, one retailer, Sephora has completely changed the way people shop for cosmetics and skincare. We see the effects trickling down into drug stores, we’re seeing it in department stores…we even see it in Urban Outfitters and the like.” She continues, “It’s really exciting to be representing such a legendary brand and partnering with the most relevant beauty retailers, but more importantly I really enjoy what I do. For me, it’s the perfect mix of creativity, user interaction and it’s really fulfilling to see my work come to life in-store.”