Melissa Carr started her professional career in the retail environment, working in management at Nordstrom in the women's shoe department and then as a senior buyer/business unit manager for a catalog internet company in Chicago.
Her academic research focuses on exploring the viability of creating an enterprise social networking system designed to connect the key constituents of the higher education community (fashion management, design and arts management students and instructors), local businesses, cultural organizations, and public sector organizations within the creative industries of Chicago.
She continues to work closely in her field. She works the Style Max, a women's apparel show, four times a year. She also works with vendors and sells their products to buyers. She uses this experience to make contacts within the industry and to gain industry knowledge that she can relay to her students. Students in her classes are asked to volunteer at the Style Max show to gain experience and to network. She regularly attends other trade shows in Chicago, as well, to stay abreast of the industry.
She is a member of National Associations of Retail Buyers (NARB), International Textile & Apparel Association (ITAA), American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (AAFCS), Illinois Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (IAFCS), American Collegiate Retailing Association (ACRA), Fashion Group International, Chicago (FGI), and The Fashion Group Foundation (FGF).