Alumni Spotlight

Denise Stoughton

Denise Stoughton

Class Of 1998

Why FIT? FIT’s Interior Design Program was the best in NYC.

Year graduated? 1998

Major? Home Products

You attended FIT while in high school taking advantage of FIT’s Saturday Live Program. Explain what it was like attending class while all your friends were enjoying the weekend. I felt very grown up and sophisticated getting on the bus from Newburgh NY to travel an hour and a half into the city.  I was enjoying the weekend!

During your last year at FIT you won all three scholarships in your field. What were they? What was that like? How did receiving the scholarships help you towards achieving your goals?  I won the HFPA (Home Fashions Products Association) Scholarship, the George Little Management Scholarship Award and the Home Products Department Award.  Winning all three was so exciting and as a result I achieved some visibility within industry and landed my first job.

After FIT? Experiences that led you to who you are today? Showing up, being consistent and being accountable everyday that you’re on the job is a big part of feeling a sense of accomplishment.  With the stress inherent in living in NYC, balancing a personal & work life and staying healthy, those are the small wins that we should celebrate daily.  Remember failing can be fun too, after you pick yourself up off the floor remember to laugh and when a couple years down the road you see how that failure led you to some success that you might not have otherwise had - the next time you have a so-called failure you can skip the floor bit and just laugh.  Some of the highlights after FIT for me are winning the Most Innovative New Textile Product award a few years ago and more recently starting my company, SnapShop.

You recently developed the only software in your field, please explain.  SnapShop has automated the comp shopping task that all consumer goods companies perform at retail to gain competitive market landscape data.  This data drives strategy in all facets of business including sales, marketing and product development.

You are still very active with the school. What’s it like going back and being a mentor to students? And an adjunct professor?  Being active with FIT means staying connected to my past, present and future self.  I love that this is a connection that I’ve nurtured throughout my adult life that didn’t end in a horrible break up!  Mentoring and teaching is a win-win but I think I win a little more – students are inspiring!

Daily routine? Wake up - wash – do yoga – walk dog – hang with boyfriend – WORK – hang with boyfriend – walk dog – do yoga – rinse - sleep.  Repeat.

Where are you from? And how did this shape the person you are today? I’m from a small suburb north of NYC.  It felt like the center of nothing.  Conversely NYC perceived as the center, can make you feel like nothing.  Eventually you realize the center of nothing is pretty Zen and you’re just OK. 

If you could translate your style into a person, place or thing what would it be? I would be a silk scarf, you can wear it around your neck, on your head, tie it onto your purse, fold it a million different ways (they’ll show you all of them at the Hermes counter) – fashionable and versatile.

What do you find that sparks creativity? Everything.  Seriously, I can look at the gum patterns stuck on the sidewalk and get an idea for an abstract print, make it look hip and call it Or-i-gum-i.  In fact, I predict Origumi will be the next big thing in 2016.

What three things you can’t live without? Food, water & shelter - everything else is pretty much a bonus.

Future projects you are working on?  Since launching SnapShop, my future projects are related to scaling out the software so that it meets the needs of every consumer goods industry.

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