Passion Project turned Career Makes Emily #oldnavyproud

by Kelby Smith, Communications Manager, Product + Design, Old Navy

Old Navy

September 20, 2019

Merchandiser, Emily Bibik, is Old Navy's newest force on the Women's Plus team. While her time at Old Navy has primarily been spent working in our Girls division, Emily is no stranger to the Plus team.

Old Navy’s commitment to creating clothes for everybody has given Emily the opportunity to work with the Plus team on customer research, offering her feedback on what works and what doesn’t. She’s also played a key role in providing insights based on her own experience on how we can create the best shopping experience for our customers. When the opportunity presented itself for her to join the Plus team, she was excited to bring her passion for changing the Plus apparel landscape to the business!

Read below and learn what makes Emily #oldnavyproud.

CURRENT ROLE AND TITLE: 
Global Merchant of Women’s Plus Bottoms, Active, Dresses + Woven Tops. I get to be the voice of our Plus customers. I'm responsible for looking at the Women's assortment and deciding what's right for her and whether or not we need to make Plus-exclusive designs for each item.

TELL ME MORE ABOUT JOINING THE PLUS TEAM:
When I started at Old Navy as a member of the Girls team, I made it my mission to find every person in the building who worked on the Plus team to try and get involved. I was able to do some wear testing and gave product feedback on things like denim and swim. One of the leaders of the Plus team recognized my passion and asked if I could help provide additional feedback – where I was shopping, what roadblocks I faced when shopping, what I was looking for in a shopping experience, etc. This is the work the Plus team had been doing with plus customers all across the country, and I got to be a part of it right here in the building! When a position opened on the Plus team, it felt like a perfect fit for me to join. While it was so hard to leave the Girls team, ultimately, this is my passion. It’s so amazing to be part of a team who is truly changing the game for plus size women!

WHAT MAKES OLD NAVY’S PLUS THE BEST: 
The attention to detail and care we put in to creating our Plus assortment. A couple of years ago, our Plus Swim product received a lot of customer comments around things not fitting right and being uncomfortable. Rather than scrapping the product or just continuing with the status quo, Old Navy reached out to plus size women of all shapes and sizes and started fitting the product on them and making changes based on the feedback. This year, the product ratings were so much better and the customer loved the fit! It’s amazing that the Design and Tech Design teams took the time (which was a lot!) to get this product right for a customer who is traditionally neglected in product categories like Swim.

YOUR HOPE FOR THE FUTURE OF PLUS:
My biggest hope is that we all start to look at the plus customer the same way that we look at everyone else – because, she is the same as everyone else! It’s not harder to make clothes that fit a plus size woman. It’s just that, as an industry, we’ve spent years and years focusing on fit for straight sizes and neglected putting the same attention on plus. My hope is that all of that changes, and plus size women will get the same focus and attention that straight sizes have always had.

YOUR BIGGEST GOAL FOR 2019:
My goal for this year has been to connect with nature. We live in the digital age where we’re all connected to our devices and screens 24/7, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that! But, sometimes it means we forget to slow down and look at the world around us. I’m spending the rest of my 2019 trying to remember that – stop and smell the roses (and yes, still post a picture of them on Insta).

YOUR CAREER #PROTIP:
You can do absolutely anything you put your mind to just believe in your own ability to accomplish your goals. If you believe in that, nothing can hold you back.

FAVORITE OLD NAVY PURCHASE:
In 2012, I walked into an Old Navy store in Atlanta, Georgia and saw a leopard print lurex sweater and experienced love at first sight. Shine and leopard print – how can you go wrong? It’s still hanging in my closet to this day.

WHAT MAKES YOU #OLDNAVYPROUD:
Our brand manifesto starts with “Imagine that the world runs right…” How cool is that? We use our imaginations every single day to make the world a little bit better and nothing could make me prouder.

I’m also proud to be a part of a team that is changing the landscape of the Plus market! The work that our team is doing each day right here in our building is so important to women everywhere. And, getting to be a voice in the room while it’s all happening is such a special opportunity. I hope to be an advocate for plus size women and help bring product to the market in a way that’s never been done before.

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