Amy Stevens, a retail planning executive, died on May 9 after a 14-year battle with breast cancer. She was 55 years old.
Stevens, a lifelong Manhattanite, began her career in fashion merchandise planning after graduating from Colgate University. One of her early jobs was as a buyer and planning manager at Bloomingdale’s during the Marvin Traub era, in 1987. “She taught me literally everything I know. She was kind, giving, supportive and a team player,” said Denny Cohen, a retail consultant, who worked with Stevens during that period. “She wasn’t frazzled by anything. She was so competent and so bright.” Stevens was instrumental in bringing technology to product planning at Bloomingdale’s. “That was before any retailer was on a computer,” Cohen said.
After nine years, Stevens left Bloomingdale’s. She worked at Foot Locker, Ann Taylor and Polo Ralph Lauren in various planning and analysis positions.
In 2003, Stevens took on a senior role at Ross Stores. “She helped spearhead a program for regional planning,” said Alane Roosa, who was her boss at the time. “We put in a new open-to-buy system. She was chosen for the position because she was very calm, very professional and had done a very good job training other analysts. She had a merchant background but was really good systemically. She helped people embrace the technology. The change was extraordinary. Retail tends to be a hysterical business. We knew there would be a storm coming. [Amy] was the eye of the hurricane.”
Stevens joined Calypso St. Barth in 2006 as merchandise planning director. “I had a really great connection with her,” said Christiane Celle, the company’s founder. “Everyone in fashion is stressed out and she was always peaceful.” Wendy Hartman, another Calypso employee of that era, said, “I didn’t even know she had cancer. She was such a trooper. She was going to [receive] chemo treatments in the morning and would still be at work at 8 a.m.”
Stevens also held buying and planning director positions at Custo Barcelona and Marimekko. In her final years, she worked as a freelance consultant. She also attended book club meetings, practiced yoga and even found work as an extra in television and film.
Stevens is survived by her parents, Judith and Sanford Stevens; her husband, Matthew Rudansky; a sister, Ellen Stevens, and brother-in-law, Tom Barberi, and sons Ruben, Joshua and Ethan Leavitt. A garden party in her honor will be held on June 27 from 6 pm to 8 pm at 300 East 33rd Street.