hi, Aislinn! To celebrate the opening of our new Times Square flagship store we sat down with the store leader, Aislinn Solinsky. She’s a team leader that puts fun in the forefront and brings her west coast style to the crossroads of the world on 44th & Broadway. With over 17 years of retail experience, Aislinn dishes on what is takes to learn, laugh + win everyday.
You’ve been with Old Navy 17 years. What makes you stay?
17 years ago I was looking for a college job and thought Old Navy was a fun place to shop so it might be a fun place to work. I was right! I love to have a good time. I love great fashion and I love to win – at Old Navy, I get to do those things every day!
What was your first role?
I was hired as a lead for the Kids + Baby department where I learned the art of merchandising and the customer experience. Over the following 12 years I grew into each role in the store environment in our corporate backyard of San Francisco. I was then able to experience the role of Human Resource Manager and District Manager supporting our stores before I made the decision to move east!
How did you end up the leading one of the biggest stores in ON history, well actually in all of Gap Inc. history?
Throughout my Old Navy career, I’ve been gifted with great opportunities for learning + growth that aligned with my personal priorities. I believe that balance between work and life is so important! I also have been lucky enough to build strong relationships with incredible mentors and it was through those relationships that the opportunity for Times Square arose. Knowing that I had recently married a New Yorker and had a desire to relocate, I was offered a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be a part of this brand defining moment. I just couldn’t refuse!
You recently moved from the West Coast to East Coast. Which coast is best?
Gosh, there’s no way I can definitively answer that! I am a born and raised California girl who always had a crush on the big city of New York. The West Coast is home to my family, friends and a sunny attitude that I will always treasure … but New York is one of the most iconic cities in the world! I often pinch myself looking out of my bathroom window at the Empire State Building or walking past famous landmarks on just an average afternoon. What I can say for certain is that I am so lucky to feel at home on both coasts!
Hanging out in Times Square every day you must witness some pretty spectacular moments. Name the one that has made you smile the most and tell us why.
It’s so incredible to get to work in the most visited destination in the world! There are really fun perks … I can look out of our 2nd floor windows into the studios of MTV’s TRL every afternoon! I also am a huge college football fan (go Irish!) so having ESPN’s College Gameday just a few steps from our front doors was a great way to spend my lunch break … but my favorite part is walking past the Good Morning America crew filming each morning and thinking about what the rest of the world is doing as they are starting their day.
The new Old Navy Flagship features some larger than life visual expressions. What is your favorite + why?
What I love about this store is that it is such a reflection of the neighborhood – the glitz from Times Square shows up in our design which really pulls our customer in. The “Take Liberties” wall features a lighted Statue of Liberty and houses our localized New York product on the first floor.
There are interactive fashion-focused video screens throughout the store and colored light beams above the escalators that we can customize (we did all purple for #SpiritDay!) We also have an airstream on the top floor where kids can choose a balloon in their favorite color.
But, my absolute favorite is the glass exterior store front that spans all 3 floors – customers and team members alike love to look out onto Broadway for a truly world class view!
Tell us the story behind the big dog sculpture
Although the store is so unique in design, there are several moments that tie back to Old Navy’s heritage and the dog in the baby department is a big one! (pun intended, ha) She is covered in Old Navy logo polka-dots and is home to a customer “recharge” area where you can take a moment to relax after a bustling day and charge your cell phone! My team has nicknamed her “Madge” after our original dog-mascot, Magic.
Once piece of advice for someone wanting to work for an Old Navy store?
Be yourself and love what you do! This company has deeply rooted values but also celebrates diversity which makes it such a great place to work. The advice I always give to someone wanting to grow in their career – ask for feedback and then do something with it! There is always someone around willing to help you grow, it’s your job to seek opportunities and seize them!
Best advice that you’ve received from a mentor?
One quote I’ve carried throughout my years of leadership is “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” which inspired me many years ago as a store manager. I often use the term in relation to team building. Every member brings a certain, unique skillset to the team but the highest level of performance is when the group synergizes and plays off of each other’s individual strengths. I believe you can feel synergy in teams and it is a critical component to reach pinnacle performance.
Old Navy is on a mission to make shopping fun again. Where do you have the most fun at work?
My husband likes to joke that I shop for a living and sometimes I think that’s true! Seriously though, I get to work with really cool people, share my love for great fashion with a diverse customer base. I’m encouraged to learn, laugh and win every day. I’m pretty confident that I have the best job in the world!
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