Lululemon executives discussed career advice and the apparel industry on Friday during a panel facilitated by the Division of Textiles and Apparel.
The panel of designers, store managers, department directors and human resources employees said students should seek out work opportunities while they are in school to give them practice for their post-graduation jobs.
“Be open to all the opportunities you have,” Lululemon senior designer Denise Ho said. “Do as much work experience as you can, to figure out what works for you. If it’s really what you want, just go for it. Take all the opportunities and every experience will just help you grow.”
The executives spoke in person and via video conference from their home office in Vancouver, Canada.
Nancy Pham, sophomore marketing major and textiles minor, said she has seen the necessity for looking for work experience while you’re in school.
“Work experience is good because a lot of people here do try to get a lot of jobs,” Pham said. “Sometimes I feel like I’m trying too hard to reach out, as a student. But (the panel) made me feel like it was okay to be doing that.”
Ruth Kelly, director of raw materials and director of women’s fabric development, said, from a production perspective, the company was focused on the education of its employees and guests and told students to take every opportunity to try different things when they are starting their careers.
“You just never know what’s out there,” Kelly said. “Some things you’re gonna try, and you’re gonna absolutely hate it. But that’s still a really useful journey because then you know what you are really good at, what you really want. There’s no perfect job out there, and a lot of it is what you make it and what you bring to it.”
Kelly also said that as the industry has become increasingly global, so has the competition for jobs.
“It’s a truly global industry, and that’s what I love about it: the challenge and the diversity of working with many different people,” Kelly said. “You learn so much, not just about textiles. Don’t be afraid to let your individuality and your personality shine and go after what you want. Know that sometimes you will have setbacks and that’s okay.”