Alum Brings Characters to Life

PROVO, Utah – May 04, 2018 – Whether it’s a Transformer, a Jedi, or an Avenger, BYU Marriott alum Ashley Emig plays a huge role in bringing your favorite animations and fictional characters to life.

The Batavia, Illinois, native is a first-generation Jamaican American who works as the director of licensing and sales at Retail Monster, which works and partners with companies such as Paramount, Sony, Crayola, Bravado, and Hasbro to make ideas and concepts come alive in retail stores.

“For example, we look at the vehicle in a cartoon, determine how we can develop it into a product, and decide what manufacturers to work with,” Emig says. “This is what I’ve loved doing and what I get to do on a daily basis.”

Each employee is a specialist for a different retailer—Emig’s position at Retail Monster includes working directly with Walmart to help clients figure out how to navigate Walmart, assist the buyers in developing strategies, and determine what products make most sense for their businesses.

Emig’s interest in all art-related areas is why she enjoys her job which perfectly balances art and business. When working on the ideation of new products, Emig applies math, creativity, product management, and the entrepreneurial skills she developed at BYU Marriott.

During her time at BYU, Emig also balanced art and business by singing in the jazz ensemble and dancing in the hip hop dance club, in addition to studying entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurship has always been a focus for Emig. At a young age—while other kids were doodling pictures of people—Emig was drawing structures of retail stores that she wanted to run one day. So when she graduated high school, attending BYU and studying entrepreneurship was a no brainer.

“BYU is 100 percent the foundation of my career,” Emig says. “Yes, there’s the education, but networking is huge. Being able to work effectively in teams and bringing in the right parties at the right time to make an idea come to life were big parts of what made that experience critical to my success.”

When Emig graduated from BYU, she was recruited by Walmart where she worked for seven years as a merchandise buyer and financial planner, which prepared her for the job at Retail Monster. At that time, she also earned an MBA from the University of Arkansas.

“Retail Monster was looking for someone who had experience with licensing, Walmart, and the overall industry,” Emig says. “I felt like the opportunity was right, and I believed in the mission of the company, so I decided to go that direction.”

Regardless of what position Emig holds, her overarching professional aspiration is to grow, be an asset, and perform duties in bigger and better ways. 

“I’m not one of those people who says in ten years I have to be in this position and have this title,” Emig says. “I don’t think that matters as much as the daily contribution, growth, and development in my career. As long as I’m doing that, I’m happy.”

Emig studied entrepreneurial management at BYU Marriott and graduated in 2010.
Emig was involved in the BYU Hip Hop Dance team. Some of her fondest memories were dancing with this group and developing lifelong friendships.
Meeting Shaquille O'Neal during a business meeting in 2015.

Media Contact: Jordan Christiansen (801) 422-8938
Writer: Emily Colon