Caitlyn Holt ’12, ’13: All About Denim, All of the Time
By Kamilah Heslop
Degree B.S. Fashion and Textile Management, 2012; Master of Textiles, 2013
Job Title Director of Product and Business Innovation, Elevate Textiles – Cone Denim
Current City Greensboro, NC
Hometown Greensboro, NC
Why did you choose NC State and the Wilson College of Textiles?
The Wilson College of Textiles felt like home. My graduating class in high school was only 48 people. The smaller class sizes and intimate campus of the Wilson College of Textiles were a better fit for me than I knew existed.
What activities were you involved in as an NC State student, and how did they impact your experience?
I really dove headfirst into the Wilson College of Textiles. I was the president of the Sigma Tau Sigma Honors Fraternity. I was also a member of Kappa Tau Beta Leadership Fraternity and a founding member of our intramural basketball team.
I enjoyed being heavily involved with NC State’s Fashion Week and volunteering with Art2Wear and the Threads Fashion Show. Thanks to the Burlington Industries Foundation Scholarship, I was able to study abroad in Hong Kong and Peru. My experience was so wonderful, and I think it is a direct correlation to how involved I was at the Wilson College of Textiles. It is truly a family. You get out of it what you put into it, and I committed to it 110%.
What is your fondest memory of being at NC State and the Wilson College of Textiles?
My fondest memory at the Wilson College of Textiles was a win! In Fashion and Textile Management (FTM) 382, we completed a group project on branding with Cotton Incorporated. I was on a team of two, and we worked SO hard all semester to dazzle the judges, and we won first place! I was a sophomore, and I still remember how good it felt to hear our names called. I think it solidified my drive and future career in textiles.
In what ways are you currently involved with the Wilson College of Textiles and NC State?
I am a founding member and the current co-president of the Dean’s Young Alumni Leadership Council (DYALC) — we connect the Wilson College of Textiles to the young alumni base all over the world. I am also a donor to the North Carolina Textile Foundation. I give back in my time and my resources because I acknowledge how much the Wilson College of Textiles has given me. I am so blessed to have the experiences that I have and have found a career that I love.
I am also (sometimes, unfortunately) an avid, unapologetic Wolfpack football fan. That is probably the most challenging way I am involved with NC State!
How did your education at the Wilson College of Textiles prepare you for what you are doing today?
I still run into situations, 10 years post-graduation, where I think back to what I learned and the skills I developed in my four years at NC State. Yes, I learned how to make yarn and fabric. Yes, I learned how different fibers have different flammability properties. Yes, I learned the ins and outs of global trade. But, I also learned how to work with a team, how to be respectful and listen first when people have different ideas than you and how to network. The Wilson College of Textiles prepared me for my career in the textiles industry, but they also prepared me to be successful in life.
Describe your career path.
My career has been all about denim, all of the time! My first internship was with Cone Denim. I told my parents after my first day that I could see myself working at Cone forever and so far, that has been true. I completed three internships with Cone Denim while in college and was hired on full-time after I graduated with my master’s degree in 2013. I started as a product and operations analyst. In my time with Cone Denim, I have done a little bit of everything! I moved into product development, sales, managed customer service, global planning and strategic initiatives.
Today, I am the director of product and business innovation. I am responsible for our global product development team as well as looking at where Cone Denim needs to be five years from now. This is my favorite job to date! I love to interact with our manufacturing facilities, our product, our customers and dream big about what our next steps should be. Cone Denim has invested so much in me.
I work with amazing people from all over the world, and I get to wear jeans to work! What more could I ask for?