Tonya Seals Robinson

International Merchandise Manager


St Louis, United States



Experienced retail executive with a diverse background in hardlines, softlines and toys.  Areas of expertise include domestic and international merchandising, product development, and project management.  Strong negotiation and interpersonal communication skills.  Exceptional relationship building skills with Asian vendors and licensing partners (Crayola, Disney, Sanrio, Nickelodeon, Marvel, Pokemon, and DC Comics).



St. Louis, MO. / International Merchandise Manager –    November 2014 – current

Responsible for executing corporate merchandising strategies for all franchisee-owned stores.  Inventory management and guidance provided for 10 countries (Germany, Australia, Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, Bahrain, Thailand, Singapore, Mexico, South Africa).  Ensures a seamless, mono-branded management approach is executed globally – presents the latest corporate tools and training resources to all franchisees. 

·          Meet and exceed agreed KPI targets for assigned franchise territories – over 100 retail doors.

·          Ensure the development, facilitation and successful implementation of the franchise business model.

·          Review merchandising strategies for all franchisee-owned stores; provide regular feedback.

·          Support the franchise buying teams during the preparation and planning of seasonal buys and new store openings.

·          Propose results-oriented actions to achieve sales objectives.

·          Leverage cross functional collaboration to facilitate the development of the franchisee channel via premium presentation, consumer service excellence and insight driven decision making.

·          Identify new business opportunities to grow each franchisee’s market share.

·          Provide insight and support to the INTL merchants in order to create profitable, cohesive and brand-right product assortments.

·          Lead, mentor and develop franchise merchants to ensure excellence in execution in merchandising, presentation, inventory planning, e-commerce, and pricing to support delivering planned business results

·          Leverage vendor partnerships by establishing rapport and negotiating effectively to ensure the best costs and terms for BABW.  


St. Louis, MO. / Merchandise Manager – Clothing (US/UK/CA)  May  2013 – November 2014

Develop and execute merchandising strategies including product, pricing, promotion and brand strategies through partnering with Design, Sourcing, Planning and Marketing teams. 

·          Planned the strategic goals and managed the day-to-day operations of the clothing/sports licensing business for all Build-A-Bear Workshop stores in the United States, Canada and United Kingdom.

·          Developed business strategies to grow both the revenue and gross margin of the company.

·          Conducted ongoing analysis of sales, margins, and inventory levels; determined product adds/drops, global pricing and margin strategies.

·          Actively shopped the competition and research market trends to ensure assortment is always modern and relevant.

·          Identified key business opportunities and implementation strategies.

·          Partnered with the Product Development/Design Team to ensure proper fit and quality of trend right merchandise.

·          Partnered with the production team to ensure costing targets were met and delivery of merchandise is on time.

·          Partnered with the Planning Teams to ensure that company profitability goals were met and all sales opportunities were maximized. 


St. Louis, MO.  /   Corporate Sales Product Manager 

August 2012 – April 2013

Leveraged existing BABW partnerships to build a $3M marketing-focused plush business.  Exceeded sales plan by 8.5%. 

·          Partnered with major corporations, philanthropic organizations and major & minor league sports franchises to develop custom plush for marketing events, game day give-a-ways and wholesale/resale.

·          Collaborated with overseas vendors to design custom plush — responsibilities included cost negotiation, raw material approval, lab dip color approvals, and packaging development.

·          Managed multiple Time & Action calendars, met customer financial expectations and exceeded Build-A-Bear Workshop’s financial expectations (full P&L responsibility). 

·          Partnered with creative & promotional team to develop special signage for each customer’s special events.


St. Louis, MO. / Intl. Associate Product Development Manager     January 2011 – August 2012

Provided overall product development and strategic planning guidance for the international franchise divisions.  Helped to facilitate current and future growth by developing country specific products for all international locations: Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Germany, Australia, Brazil, South Africa, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Gulf States, Mexico.

·         Development included:  plush, pre-stuffed plush, toy clothing, & accessories. Ensured that all BABW brand & quality standards were met.

·         Created concept cards/specification packages for each new product.  Identified vendors for the bidding process / Negotiated costs & shipping terms with overseas vendors to meet franchisee profitability.

·         Identified and interpreted trends / Reviewed trend service materials to stay abreast of industry trends / Comp shopping / Internet research.

·         Made assortment recommendations and merchandise promotion recommendations based upon business needs.


St. Louis, MO. / Product Development Manager  

2006 – 2010

Developed and managed a multi-million dollar portfolio of manufacturer and private label personal care brands.  Duties included: product innovation, sourcing and cost negotiation; T&A calendar management; P&L reconciliation; brand investment and fixed cost management; international resource management; intellectual property management.

·     Led all product development initiatives from concept to shelf – championed and managed the product life cycle; shopped the market; reviewed/translated trends; recommended line changes/updates each season; approved samples, artwork and packaging for production.

·     Procured new products at advantageous acquisition costs and payment terms.  Negotiated costs with overseas manufacturers to secure products at the best costs, MOQs, and fastest OBL dates. Created request-for-quote specifications/BOM.

·     Defined pricing strategy for each brand annually – Analyzed all components of product profitability and developed a plan to maintain or increase contribution dollars.

·     Collaborated with Sales to manage product mix in various channels and maximize sales & profitability.  Produced sales support and merchandising materials for new product launches & brand updates (catalogs, sell sheets, price listings, Power Point presentations, copy writing, sample mocks).

·     Collected and analyzed market trends through website monitoring, trade publications, POS & IRI data, market basket studies, and other forms of research.

·     Managed brand investment budgets each season – allocated appropriate funds for advertising, merchandising units, website development, and product development expenses by brand.

·     Served as the company expert for all Federal Trade Commission and Consumer Product Safety Commission regulations and standards: product labeling, safety, packaging and testing.  Served as the company expert for all Intellectual Property management issues (trademark/patent applications & renewals). 

·     Maximized the division’s exposure to the market (created press releases, category updates for trade publications, all copy writing for new product launches/website).

·     Domestic & international travel: industry trade shows, factory sourcing, quality assurance factory visits, vendor relationship building, team building initiatives with Shanghai product development associates.


St. Louis, MO /  Assistant Product Manager    

2004 – 2006

Collaborated with Product Manager to develop Girls’ 7-16 private label sportswear, outerwear and dresses.

·     Presented and marketed each season’s line to divisional presidents, buyers, and managers in quarterly merchant meetings. 

·     Negotiated sales plan dollars and brand penetration percentage quarterly. 

·     Managed the corporate calendar adherence database for the product development process daily.

·     Monitored and analyzed sales performance and planning on a weekly, monthly and quarterly basis.

·     Utilized corporate reports to perform post-season analysis and incorporate results into new season planning.

·     Captured crucial sales data by building advanced spreadsheets and communicating results to upper management.

·     Prepared merchandise assortment plans by effectively analyzing the business; forecasting customer needs.

·     Initiated product costing efforts with overseas offices. Prepared and maintained corporate costing database.

·     Achieved sales increases of 5% over 2 years.  Increased brand penetration by 4% in almost 2 years.  Generated over $450K in cost savings by identifying garment production issues of in-store merchandise.


Little Rock, AR. / Assistant Product Manager  


Collaborated with Product Coordinator to develop Girls’ private label seasonal merchandise (dresses, outerwear, swim wear and accessories).

·     Provided buying support for 2 product coordinators and 6 divisional buyers (markdowns, recommended assortment plans, style setups, UPC assigning, SKU maintenance, distribution of reorders. 

·     Created ad copy for all seasonal merchandise featured in corporate catalogs/website; facilitated the collection and organization of catalog & Internet samples used for in-store lifestyle shots, mail-order inserts, catalog color layouts/spreads and ROP ads.

·     Developed 1st private label panty programs.  Teamed with vendors to decide all design details, negotiated pricing and designed packaging to ensure new product display and promotion was superior.

·     Implemented 1st multi-purchase program for girls’ underwear, socks and hair bow assortments. 



·     University of Memphis      Memphis, TN

·     Master of Science in Consumer Science & Marketing       Education – GPA 4.0

·     Emphasis: Marketing

·     University of Southern Mississippi    Hattiesburg, MS

·     Bachelor of Science in Fashion Merchandising & Marketing – GPA 3.40

·     Minor: Marketing

COMPUTER SKILLS- Microsoft Office Suite *Excel, Access, Word, PowerPoint, Photoshop, Adobe Reader, SPSS for Macs, Lotus, various PLM systems (Centric), AS400 / JDEdwards, Sharepoint, Epicor.  



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  • brand creation
  • cost negotiation and sourcing
  • interpersonal communication & relationship building skills
  • merchandising
  • product development
  • product packaging design
  • project management



Master of Science at University of Memphis


Bachelor of Science at University of Southern Mississippi

  • Retail
  • Merchandising
  • Updated 4 years ago

To contact this candidate email TSEALSROBINSON@GMAIL.COM

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