Stacy Tan came to the retail world accidentally.
After scoring 2,200 on her SATs and 33 on the ACT, Tan — who moved from Little Rock and lived in Malaysia from the time she was in third grade — was accepted by several colleges, including UCLA and Stanford before receiving a full scholarship from the University of Arkansas.
She graduated magna cum laude in 2011 with an international business degree, but had her mind set on taking a year off to travel the world.
A meeting arranged by her father Boon Tan, director of Asia Trade Development at Arkansas World Trade Center, changed that plan and led to her current job. Tan hasn’t looked back.
“I decided to be responsible and try this whole adult job thing for a second,” she joked. “I ended up falling in love with the retail world.”
Tan coordinates marketing strategies and drives business development for TY, a vendor operating in the office administrative services companies industry.
Tan was also successful in developing two SKUs for Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Sam’s Club Inc. within six months of becoming an account representative, resulting in more than a half million in sales volume.
“I got a lot of help and mentorship from the company,” she said. “It really is a team effort.”
In 2013, Tan also founded the NWA chapter of Pacific Links Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to eliminating the world’s second-largest illegal industry — human trafficking.
Tan and two other former classmates from the UA are also developing a mobile application called Lynxus, a request-driven social news app providing access to world events through first-person, unfiltered media shown in real time.
She said the stretch goal is to launch the product later this summer.
Tan said those ventures can make time management a challenge at times — “I’ve cut down my Netflix [viewing] significantly” — but she enjoys the balancing act, preferring to stay busy.
As for what the future holds? Tan said the Lynxus project is a developing opportunity, growing into her career at TY is another, and earning a master’s degree from an Ivy League school is also a goal.
“I don’t really know yet between all those things,” said Tan, who is fluent in Malay and Indonesian and is a classically trained pianist. “I have some options, so that’s good.”