Anu has worked at Old Navy for six years. An early interest in finance and numbers led her to work at a bank for a period before seeking out something more creative. She loved fashion and looking at all the latest trends, and soon she found the perfect job: crunching numbers while working alongside the creative designers to make great designs for Old Navy. She’s responsible for the company’s financial plan, so her work combines a love of fashion with attention to the financial health of the business. The core of this is the customers.
Anu explained that taking risky moves is part of what makes a great designer and a savvy businesswoman. “If you don’t risk big, you don’t win big,” she affirmed. Anu explained that their designers visit the world’s fashion capitals, including Paris and London, to see what the worldwide trends are and how they relate to U.S. consumers. (Indeed, the transatlantic connection is built into Old Navy’s institutional fabric: the company is named after a bar in Paris.) From the very first inklings of an idea, it usually takes twenty weeks for Old Navy’s design team to develop a design completely, and then another twenty weeks to put the final product in stores. They’re working with partners overseas in Pakistan, India, and China to speed up the process to get great ideas to consumers quickly. How about some bright red jeggings? “We want to have our new Rock Star red jeggings in stores for the fall season,” Anu states without skipping a beat.
“The hardest part of my job is making sure I’m always doing what I can for my team,” says Anu. “I want to make sure all their ideas are heard, I don’t want to squelch the creativity. We try to move forward on their ideas, but not all ideas make it. The best part of my job is working with smart, passionate people with great energy.” Teamwork is key to any great project, but especially in such a fast-moving industry like fashion.