When Candice Kusner graduated from Missouri State University in 2011, she started working for Disney as a College Program Intern working in merchandise sales.
Hard work, timing and networking eventually led to her current position as a buyer assistant for Disney’s Cosmetology Team.
“Timing is everything,” said Kusner. “Sometimes you have to wait it out to get where you want to be.”
Finding her way
Between Kusner’s time as an intern and her current position, she worked for various companies such as Kate Spade, PNC Bank and URBN Inc.
In 2016, she took a position with Disney’s food and beverage where she counted inventory and placed orders. From there, she was able to transfer to Creative Costuming as a buyer assistant.
“Someone from the buying team took a chance on me,” Kusner said. “A few months later they were able to offer me a job.”
Now, every day is an adventure for Kusner.
Her day-to-day involves meetings, purchase orders and many spreadsheets. Nevertheless, working at Disney World means something unexpected could always be just around the corner.
Since the Cosmetology Team is part of the replenishment warehouse, they do their own order receiving and quality control.
“You never know if you are going to open a box of mannequin heads or a new wig sample,” said Kusner.
Building a strong foundation
“My time at MSU gave me a base for the opportunities and careers that exist in the fashion industry,” she said. “The professors always had real world experiences to explain our courses, and they really showed us that what we do with what we learned was up to us.”
She notes that it can be hard to be prepared since the fashion industry is always changing. She said that it is important to keep learning as much as you can to ensure you can provide the most value to your company.
“Take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way,” she said. “You never know when the skills you learn or the people you meet will come in handy.”
Kusner has many unique opportunities working for Disney.
She participated in Disney’s 8-week Emerging Leaders Program, where cast members are selected to take leadership courses and shadow management in different areas of interest.
She helped with the opening of Pandora – The World of Avatar as well as Galaxy’s Edge, an area in the park inspired by the Star Wars franchise. Kusner networked during meet and greets with managers and directors throughout the costuming organization and further developed her research skills. She also participated in overnight rehearsals for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.
As a Disney cast member, Kusner often previews new attractions at Disney World before the public.
Kusner even had a very Disney engagement. During her internship she met her husband, and he later proposed during a vacation to Disneyland in Walt Disney’s apartment.