As the head of Merchandising for Weddington Way – the newest brand in the Gap Inc. portfolio – Martha Tinker oversees all-things-merchandise, including inventory management, design and production for the brand. As Weddington Way transitions from a digital-first brand to offering customers a seamless, personal and connected experience from online to physical shops, Martha’s reimaging the product side of the company from the ground up. Reflecting Weddington Way’s Silicon Valley origins, Martha’s days have a start-up type feel – consisting of laying the foundation for bringing product to new markets, in new ways.
Martha gravitates towards roles with large amounts of autonomy and an environment that fosters risk taking – allowing her to innovate in a big way. Martha started her career with Gap Inc. in high school on the sales floor of Baby Gap. After going through Gap Inc.’s Rotational Management Program after college, she started a full-time gig in the early days of Gap Online as an assistant merchant, then became a Buyer helping Gap & Banana Republic launch their first international online businesses. She then spent a couple years in Seattle taking on a merchandise manager role at the startup, Zulily. After her time up the coast, she came back to San Francisco as the buying director of Gap Europe Online’s Adult business before making the leap to Weddington Way.
Throughout her career she’s learned a lot and has grown every step of the way. We sat down with her to get her advice for crafting a diverse career. Here’s what she said:
Set Clear Goals
“Having clear short and long term goals is important, especially if you’re looking to bring mobility or diversity to your career. These goals can be used as points of evaluation along the way to ensure each new step is helping you develop skills that will be helpful in the long run. For me, working in ecommerce and being in charge of my online “store” sparked a passion in me to orient towards running my own business someday.”
Be Open to New Opportunities
“There are a lot of interesting roles out there that aren’t necessarily the most obvious or predictable path, but they might be worth considering. While more traditional merchandising roles were available to me after finishing the RMP program, I chose to take a role working within e-commerce. Being able to try something new so early on in my career made me realize that taking the road less travelled can lead to really rich experiences.”
Expand your Knowledge
“One of the greatest things about Weddington Way is how the small size of the company allows us (employees) to wear many hats. While my primary focus is on buying and merchandising, I’ve been able to work in other areas of the business as well. Having the room to stretch into different roles can provide new skills and experiences you may have never thought possible.”
“While it might sound cliché, it’s important to remember that the right thing will work out. You may not know what an opportunity could lead to so keeping an open mind, being patient, and staying positive is important. My career has been a balance of waiting for the right opportunity to present itself and going all in when something came along that sparked my interest. I took a chance on Weddington Way, and it was the best career decision I’ve made so far.”
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