West Virginia Wesleyan College recently honored Lisa Karickhoff, director of e-commerce and marketing at Caroline's Closet, with the Outstanding Marketing Student Award. / Submitted photo

A love and a livelihood: Caroline’s Closet’s e-commerce director discovers passion for fashion, online marketing

BUCKHANNON – When she started her freshman year of college, Lisa Karickhoff discovered retail marketing, which turned out to be both a love and a livelihood.

Karickhoff, a Buckhannon native, has a natural knack for it as well. Now the director of e-commerce and marketing for Caroline’s Closet, the fashion enthusiast was honored with the Outstanding Marketing Student Award April 19 by West Virginia Wesleyan College.

Karickhoff graduated from Wesleyan in early May with a bachelor’s degree in marketing and a master’s degree in business administration.

She started at West Virginia Wesleyan in 2015 and began working at the local specialty clothing store as she was about to begin her freshman year.

“I actually went in as a business administration major, but then I started taking some of the marketing courses, and I really liked those, so I switched my major to marketing,” Karickhoff said. “I did a five-year program, so I have my bachelor’s in marketing but then my master’s in business administration.”

She initially stepped into the role of sales associate at the boutique but soon learned she could contribute to their social media output. Now, she’s their director of e-commerce and marketing.

“I really got into marketing through Wesleyan and through my major, of course, and that’s whenever I started seeing an opportunity to grow [owner Jennifer Fluke’s] business through marketing efforts on social media,” Karickhoff said.

Fluke is the owner of Caroline’s Closet.

Karickhoff said the store had an Instagram and Facebook accounts, but those platforms weren’t being utilized to their full potential.

“I saw that as a major opportunity, so I just kind of asked if I could be in charge of posting on Instagram and Facebook,” Karickhoff said. “I love taking pictures, and I do a lot of styled photo shoots now, so I took that one step further by monitoring the analytics, such as post engagement and responsive posting times. I use that feedback to grow what I saw the customers would like to see.”

She said her experiences at Caroline’s Closest revealed to her the type of work she would like to do in the future.

“My experience with Caroline’s Closet has definitely turned into something I love doing,” Karickhoff said. “It’s a passion of mine, and I’ve always said, ‘do what you love, love what you do,’ and I plan to use that as I move forward with my career, wherever that may take me.”

During summer 2019, she traveled to Las Vegas, Nevada to work with Nordstrom as a retail management intern, which further confirmed her love for the retail industry.

“I got a taste of a different type of retail through that internship, so I could see myself as a business owner, but I could also see myself moving closer to a role in a corporate retail environment as well,” Karickhoff said.

“After my internship with Nordstrom in Las Vegas, I realized it was something I’m really passionate about and could see myself pursuing a career in,” she added. “Following my internship was when I really focused on growing Caroline’s Closet’s customer base because I had brought so much insight and knowledge from Nordstrom that was easily applicable to the boutique, despite the corporate versus small business differences.”

As far as fashion goes, Karickhoff enjoys the simple pleasure of experimenting with different aspects of an outfit.

“I enjoy finding so many different ways to style a single piece of clothing and sharing those ideas with others, whether it be adding a third piece or just wearing basics,” she said. “I love bringing different elements together and sharing that creativity through social media and on our website.”

She did not know beforehand she was going to win the Outstanding Marketing Student Award, but received an email saying she should appear at the April 19 award ceremony.

“I was definitely very excited and honored,” Karickhoff said. “It really reassured me that I chose the right educational path, and it honestly made me really proud to see that my marketing efforts had been recognized both inside and outside of the classroom.”

Caroline’s Closet is located at 4 Northridge Rd #102, Buckhannon, WV 2620, in the same plaza as AT&T and Buffalo Wild Wings.

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