KINGSTON, R.I. – May 25, 2009 – The day she opened the doors to University Trinkets – her first store – Allison Dobish found herself getting a bit choked up when she saw members of the Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design faculty walk in.
The professors and staff were there to support the senior from Atlantic Beach, N.Y. in her first solo professional business venture. For Dobish, it was a moment that helped encapsulate the experience she had as a textiles major at the University of Rhode Island.
“It was an amazing feeling that they wanted to support me,” Dobish said. “They have been so supportive in everything that I have done.”
Just what has Dobish done at URI? She graduated a bit early so she could live near the campus and open her clothing and accessories shop located in the Kingston Emporium at the top of the campus. She studied in Florence, Italy. She also interned in New York City’s highly influential garment district with Planet Gold, a division of the Golden Touch Group.
And those are only parts of her URI experience.
With University Trinkets, Dobish gained valuable experience running her own business.
As her own boss, Dobish worked with vendors, handled advertising, learned the business side of securing a lease and also gained perspective on how the economy affects businesses.
“This is just the beginning, hopefully, of other great experiences. This is something on a small scale that someday I would hope to do in a bigger way,” Dobish said. “It takes a lot to run a business, and that is something I have really learned. Other people don’t really understand that until they are in it. Now I have a bigger appreciation for anyone who starts their own business, especially now with this economy.”
Before venturing on her own, Dobish traveled to Florence, a place she first visited on a family vacation when she was 14 years old. When the opportunity to gain international experience in business and marketing arose, she jumped. While there, she took courses in jewelry making and jewelry design, helping further her knowledge of fashion accessories.
Even before the trip to Italy, Dobish worked in the fashion epicenter of the world, spending two summers with Planet Gold. She gained sales experience, worked with high-end designers and provided input on top seasonal items for the Planet Gold line.
While she has seized opportunities in her field of study, Dobish has leaned on some key social experiences at URI as well. As a freshman, she was part of a program called Rhody Rides, donating her Friday and Saturday nights to provide students safe rides home. She continued her trend of looking out for others by serving as a mentor in the URI101 program, a class specifically designed to aid freshman get better adjusted to life at the University.
On a personal level, Dobish got to spend much of her senior year with her younger sister Jackie, who entered the textiles program as a freshman this year.
“It has been absolutely amazing to have my sister here,” Dobish said. “She comes by and helps me with the store, and she has learned a lot just through what I have done. The past three years, I missed out on some of her experiences at home, and now we are able to experience some things together. Having her here is just an extra comfort.
Having family on campus for her final year capped a period of growth for Dobish.
“There are a lot of things in my life that have happened over the past few years that made me more motivated,” Dobish said. “Coming to URI, I’ve had a lot of other opportunities that I don’t think I would have had at other schools.”
Senior Allison Dobish opened her first store – University Trinkets – in the Kingston Emporium after finishing her degree in textiles, fashion merchandising and design. URI Department of Communications and Marketing photo by Nora Lewis