With more than 2,000 stores and six brands, a career at Gap Inc. can be an amazing adventure – just ask Rachel Arthurs, creative specialist at Gap Inc.
Rachel started her career as a visual associate at the Athleta flagship store in Corte Madera, California, and six months later took an internship opportunity at Gap Inc.’s headquarters in San Francisco a few days a week. Fast forward to nearly a year later, she has a full-time gig at Gap Inc. headquarters in San Francisco helping manage social media and a global careers site.
As a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, apparel and retail has always been a passion of hers, so naturally Gap Inc. felt like home.
If there’s one thing to know about Rachel it’s that she loves to eat. She’ll be the first to admit that she’s already thinking about lunch before she’s even had her breakfast. She’s also got a passion for writing, which shows up in her work here at Gap Inc. in all kinds of ways. But fast-tracking her career from Visual Associate at Athleta’s Flagship store in Corte Madera to Associate Communications Specialist for the Talent Branding team at Gap Inc.’s headquarters in San Francisco didn’t just happen. It’s Rachel’s focus and drive that got took her from the field to HQ. Read on to hear how she made it happen.
What brought you to Athleta and how did you make the transition to Gap Inc. headquarters?
I was drawn to Athleta’s mission – their commitment to helping women and girls be their best selves. I had the role of Visual Associate at the Athleta flagship store in Corte Madera, California for about a year, where I helped bring to life our merchants’ vision in-store for all of our products. I did everything from dressing mannequins to working with mangers on store layouts. While I was working part-time in the store, I had the opportunity to intern at Gap Inc.’s SF HQ through an intern sourcing program that works with some of our brands’ stores. (I love that Gap Inc. does this! Such an incredible opportunity to get exposed to a whole new part of the business.) A big change from where I started!
How did your store experience and degree in Visual Communications prepare you for your current role at Gap Inc.?
At FIDM, most of our assignments were centered around project management, which is an invaluable skill to have, regardless of your industry. It forces you to be adaptable; teaches you to ruthlessly prioritize. This really helped during my time at Athleta when we were constantly working to meet visual layout deadlines. No matter how crazy it was to flip the store (i.e. merchandising the store with new product for each season) in three days, we always got it done, and we always made it happen. On top of that, I was given the opportunity to work beside a team that believed in taking risks, pushing boundaries, and getting things done. And things are no different with my Gap Inc. team. That’s something I truly see in all areas of the company, in stores and in HQ.
Do you get to express your creative side in your current role as a Communications Specialist?
Yes, absolutely. It’s important to own your creativity, own interests, own your goals. It’s equally important to lean on supportive leaders who understand the value of collaboration. Both of these things have helped me build my confidence in expressing my ideas, raising my hand when I have something to share, and just generally find ways to incorporate what I love doing into what I do each day.
What do you love about working in stores? What do you love about working at our headquarters?
Store: My team, the customers, the brand, and the product.
HQ: My team, getting exposure to Gap Inc.’s entire family of brands, the location, and the opportunities that Gap Inc. has presented me with, and continues to present me with each day.
What advice would you give someone looking to make a move from stores to HQ?
Chase your dreams, passions, goals. Whatever you call them, follow them! Be clear about what you want, talk to people from around the business, ask for new opportunities, and raise your hand whenever you can.
Who inspires you?
My family, my team and my journey. I made an education shift about two years ago, knowing I wanted to work in the creative sphere and I’m super fortunate to have received all the opportunities I have. I’m glad I followed my heart. And I remind myself to be proud of that as often as I can.