People hop from job to job in hopes of new opportunities and experiences. And we understand, moving companies or roles can lead to a world full of opportunity, especially at Gap Inc. With six brands and offices around the world, the opportunities are endless, just ask Brent Kawahara, Vice President of Global Product Operations at Banana Republic.
Back in 1991, Brent took a seasonal job at a Gap store in Bellevue Square. Little did he know that 26 years later it would lead him into a career that has spanned brands, cities and countries across Gap Inc. and around the world. From a sales associate, to joining the team that opened the Banana Republic flagship store in NYC, to his current gig as head of global product operations at Banana Republic, Brent’s learned a few things along the way.
We sat down with him to get his tips for growing a fulfilling career. Here’s what he said:
Seize the Opportunity
When you see an opportunity, don’t be afraid to go after it. In 2010, Brent took this to heart and saw opportunity to visually get in front of our customers in a new way. In addition to his day job, he stepped in to launch the Banana Republic Instagram account, a big undertaking. Over the years, he’s traveled around the world – from fabric shows in Milan to product development trips in Hong Kong – all of which allowed him to understand the brand in a unique way, a perfect launch pad to help visually represent the brand.
Take a Leap of Faith
Brent’s always looking at the bigger picture and is always willing to take risks, leading him to phenomenal experiences. In 2013, Brent was presented the opportunity to relocate to Japan providing him the chance to live overseas for a little more than a year. Through that experience, he learned more about the brand and a ton about a market he was less familiar with, which has shaped how he helps to bring product to our customers around the world today.
Brent’s had a love for Banana Republic as long as he can remember and that carries through in his work. He’s passionate about helping customers feel confident and clothes play a big part in that. He’s always looking to create products and experiences that allow people to feel prepared to tackle life’s biggest moments. And that passion keeps him coming back day after day.
Do What Feels Right
During the last 26 years, Brent spent three years outside of Gap Inc. His time away gave him perspective and appreciation for what Gap Inc. offers. After a few years at other apparel companies, he realized why he loved working at Gap Inc. He says, “it’s not just what we do, it’s how we do it and it felt like coming home.”