This week’s episode is part of our Life After Z Gallerie series. Michelle worked closely with both Fabian & Melissa during her time at Z Gallerie.
Fabian was born and raised in LA, is a self-taught creative leader and a bona fide retail nerd. With more than 25 years of multi-unit management experience in the retail home furnishings industry, he still feels as if he is in the beginning stages of his career. Currently, he is a Gift Merchandiser & Buyer for A.C. Vroman's Inc., one of the oldest independent bookstores in the country, 128 years old. A.C. Vroman's operates 2 bookstores in the Pasadena area and also owns Book Soup in West Hollywood, CA, another independent bookstore founded in 1975. In addition to working at A.C. Vromans, he is also the Founder of Onederkam.com, which is a small eCommerce gift and home accessories store. His side hustle!! He has also worked at IKEA North America at the following markets - San Francisco, Connecticut, Philadelphia, and for IKEA A.B. in Malmö, Sweden as Communications & Interior Design Manager for 10.5 years. Prior to IKEA, he has worked as District Visual Manager for Z Gallerie covering a variety of markets in the US - So. California, Midwest, East Coast, and Northwest Merchandiser of the Year while working there.
Melissa Hesse is a Southern California native raised in the San Gabriel Valley, a mom to two amazing young men, and has been happily married to her husband of 25 years, Bill.
She doesn’t have a degree in art but somehow has made it her career. She started at Z Gallerie back in 1993 as a part time sales associate while going to college. She spent the next 14 years there, holding almost every position possible there but always found the art department my home. After 6 years in the stores, she moved into the corporate office and spent the next 8 years in the art department as the Merchandise Planner and Assistant Buyer. She would help select the artwork for, at that time 70+ stores. She went on buying trips, worked with publishers and wholesale framers on new merchandise for the stores. FUN was the best way she would describe it. She grew up at Z Gallerie, met lifelong friends (Michelle and Fabian included!), got married, had kids, bought their first house. After 14 years she made the leap to Third and Wall Art Group which was a vendor we purchased posters from. She has been with Third and Wall for almost 15 years and was recently promoted to Creative Director.
Michelle, Fabian & Melissa recant their different roles, funny stories, challenges & growth within Z Gallerie and how that paved the way to their current careers. Check out the episode on YouTube and get a glimpse of Melissa’s Chris Hemsworth photo blanket her kids gifted to her!
This week’s episode is brought to you by Fine Lines Company, a west coast wholesale rep agency with showrooms in LA, Las Vegas and Seattle. Fine Lines represents over 50 fabulous gift, fashion + home lines.