Collection XIIX Pays It Forward

Interview courtesy of Ron D’Angelo, VP of Sales Collection XIIX

On August 14th, Collection XIIX graciously hosted a successful fundraiser in support of the Fashion Scholarship Fund. We sat down with Ron D’Angelo, Vice President of Sales at Collection XIIX, to understand how the culture at this privately-held company has contributed to its success as a fashion accessory industry leader.

What is the history of Collection XIIX?

Collection XIIX started in 1972 as a spin-off division funded by Totes. The founder, Elaine Gold, had worked in the scarf industry for years and led the scarf division at Totes before launching a free-standing company. Collection XIIX began as a department store supplier before endeavoring into private label. Elaine formed a partnership with Drew Pizzo as co-owner in 1982 and the two built the company together over the course of 12 years until Elaine retired. Today, Drew Pizzo is the sole owner, President, and CEO of Collection XIIX, which is now widely known as a design firm and licensing partner.

What is the biggest advantage of being a privately held company and how does Drew’s leadership guide it? 

The main advantage of being a private company is that we have the flexibility and capacity to change as the needs of the business climate changes. We have a group of managers who hold the power to make directional changes that are in the best interest of the organization, allowing us to adapt nimbly to the changing environment. Drew provides critical leadership, especially in terms of re-evaluating the industry landscape. He has a visionary style of leadership, and identifies not only how the industry is changing but also identifies which opportunities are best for the company.

How did giving back become so ingrained in the Collection XIIX culture?

This was a relatively recent commitment that the company undertook, and we have been heavily involved in volunteering for the past 2 years as a pillar of our company culture. The committee that organizes our philantropic initiatives focuses on 3 things: 1) We try to give back to the community in which we live. 2) We want the work of the group to be reflective of what the staff cares about and 3) We try to make giving back less about monetary donations and more about giving of ourselves – our time, energy, concern, and intentions.

Collection XIIX is a top donor of the FSF and recently honored us with a fund raiser on 8/14. Why did you select the FSF?

We really believe in the work the FSF is doing by supporting education through their case studies and student scholarships. Collection XIIX and the FSF share a strong passion for supporting and promoting education. We understand that school debt is a common problem facing most college students and we really value that the FSF is helping those. The FSF fundraiser event was our biggest to date!

At the fundraiser event, I was amazed to see so many young faces. What is the impetus behind hiring so much young talent?

We don’t necessarily target young people, but in additon to valuing the benefits of experience, we also value fresh-minded and ambitious thinkers. We have a very active college internship program which often leads our interns to a fast, inside track. Often when we have job openings, it just makes sense to offer the opportunity to someone who has not only proven to be passionate about the business through their internship, but who is also well acquainted with the way we operate and their role, minimizing the need for training. Our internship opportunities extend to both current college students and recent grads, and there is really a 360 degree opportunity available for students interested in any aspect of the field.

For More Information about Collection XIIX – http://collection18.com/about/

Interview and Post by A.Dumas

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