A Passion for Fashion and Hockey

Gabby in her element in the Otters’ team store where she puts her visual merchandising skills to use.

Many college students have part-time jobs in retail or at restaurants, but how many college students can say they work for the Erie Otters while balancing a busy college life? Mercyhurst Fashion’s very own Gabby Huff happens to be the girl who can.

Gabby has always been a go-getter who is very organized and put together. It only makes sense that she would have such a huge job while juggling being a full-time student and being on the executive board of the Mercyhurst Fashion Council. She is constantly on the go and is always busy which, as a Type A person, is just how she likes it.

“Gab is a hardworking, determined gal, who always has her sh*t together,” says roommate Al Jonak. “She has to be doing things at all times.”

The sports internship-turned-actual-paid-position was the absolute perfect fit for Gabby. Because she is from Olean, NY, she originally called to see if there were any internships at the Buffalo Sabres due to her love of hockey. The director of merchandising for the Sabres ended up recommending her to the Erie Otters since they were looking for someone to help with merchandising. She landed the job six months ago and has been loving it ever since.

Otters jacket, designed in part by Gabby.

Gabby was very surprised with the amount of responsibility she was given since she was only a college student, but was also happy that her boss let her have so much free reign even early on in her time with the Otters. She does a range of different things at her job and she helps out any way she can on game days when she works from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

During the rest of the week, her specific tasks vary from sitting in on sales meetings, to filling online orders, to setting up the team store. She does it all. Gabby even has a hand in what the merchandisers decide to buy regarding team gear. Handling entire accounts by herself, Gabby has worked with Creative Imprints to create new merchandise for the Otters.

“I love seeing people wear team merchandise that I bought,” said Huff about having a role in what merchandise is sold by the Otters.

She is great at not only the creative aspect of the job, but also the business aspect as well. Using her innovative nature, Gabby came up with the idea for selling outdated team t-shirts for $1 instead of just packing them up and putting them in storage. She has definitely taken what she has learned in her fashion classes and is using that knowledge at her job.

Gabby used her creativity to add to the Otters logo that will be featured on new merchandise, coming soon.

“I get excited to have her in class because I know she is there for the right reasons and is taking the information and applying it to real life,” said Mercyhurst Fashion Merchandising professor, Ashlee Rzyczycki, who has taught Gabby in classes such as Fashion Entrepreneurship and Fashion Evolution. “When I think of Gabby, I think of character, integrity, and resilience.”

So, what’s next for Gabby Huff? Well, she plans on staying with the Otters for as long as she can because she loves the environment and what she does in general. Attending the Fashion Institute of Technology has always been in her plans. She hopes to study there her senior year and maybe one day land a job with the New York Rangers, because she has always loved the idea of working in New York City. With her work ethic and creative skills, Gabby Huff will make it very far in the fashion industry.

Katie Summers, '20

Just a girl who loves fashion so much, she is willing to put up with the freezing weather in Erie, PA.