Life of a Style: My Visit to Tommy Hilfiger Headquarters!

By Blonde Bowhemian - July 18, 2014

I love my school. Like I love my school. It's really, really, ridiculously amazing. You may be wondering what Bucknell has to do with Tommy Hilfiger, and let me tell you, the two are quite intertwined. 

CEO of Tommy Hilfiger North America? He went to Bucknell.
Executive VP of Human Resources? She went to Bucknell.
Allocator for Women's Clothing? She went to Bucknell.
Merchandise Manager? She went to Bucknell.
Corporate Communications Manager? She went to Bucknell. 

Those are just a few of the many Tommy employees who are alumni. Needless to say, the relationship between Tommy and Bucknell is quite strong. So, Gary Sheinbaum, the CEO of Tommy Hilfiger North America, was gracious enough to plan an entire day of events, in cooperation with our Career Development Center, at the corporate office just for Bucknell students! It was such an amazing experience and I am so grateful to Gary and the CDC for putting this event together and taking the time to talk with us. 

After arriving at the main office, which may I add is decked out in red, white, and blue flags and Tommy memorabilia, we were escorted to an auditorium where we spent the majority of our time listening to presentations from the heads of the various departments at Tommy! 

First, Gary welcome us all to the office and expressed just how excited he was to have us. To have the CEO of such a major company be so genuine and take the time out of his extremely busy schedule just to meet with us was incredible, and I was so honored to be in his presence. He even took the time to listen to all of us present a little bit about ourselves, specifically our majors and interests. 

Next, we learned a little bit about the design process from the head of design. It's amazing how much work goes into creating every single piece. From picking color palettes to creating logos and graphics and hangtags and trims to attending fittings, it all ends up taking about a year from concept to finish! 

The head of production then expressed the importance of set up sourcing strategies and sticking to deadlines with factories while also ensuring that quality meets certain levels. I had never thought much about the journey my clothes take before I see them on the hanger, but it's incredibly complicated!

Similar to what I do at my current internship…except so much better, the head of merchandising then talked about how the merchandising team gets to travel to Paris and London to research what the upcoming trends are and determine how much of their resources they should allocate into developing each concept. Merchandising is both creative and analytical, something that definitely struck a chord with me, as I'm someone who enjoys the balance between the two. 

In terms of sales and planning, the head of the "checkbook," focuses on the building a budget for the season, publishing selling reports, analyzing current & historical trends, and managing risk and exposure. This department is definitely more focused on the business than the fashion, but, that's some peoples' niche (just definitely not mine). 

Because Tommy is such a huge brand, they have expanded into developing Tommy Hilfiger watches, eyewear, and fragrance. Because they don't have the expertise to manufacture these products themselves, they work with other companies who have more experience in the industries. This is where the licensing department comes in. The head of licensing has to assess potential licensees, research the market options, launch new licensed products, and make sure the products fit the vision of the brand. I had never realized that products such as eyewear and perfume are actually made by other companies but it makes complete sense and is a great business decision!

The Marketing department also works a lot with external stakeholders and companies to promote and advertise the brand. For instance, the new collection "To Tommy From Zooey" was developed and launched by the PR team, including events in LA, New York, and Mexico City, as well as videos across social media platforms, and articles in various magazines. There is so much work and effort that goes into each collection on the part of the PR team, but their work is validated by the fact that they get to see clothes sell out in only a few days on the part of their advertising efforts. 

Lastly, the HR team provided us with some tips and tricks when it comes to writing resumes, interviewing, and following-up after an interview. They were so nice and open to any all questions concerning the interview process which was so helpful! 

After a quick lunch break, we were lucky enough to get a tour around the office from Betsey Hilfiger, Tommy's sister. I was basically in shell-shock, but I tried to keep my cool and take everything in. I took some pictures (not sure if that was allowed…) which I've posted below! I couldn't resist sneaking in the pics because everything was just so cool. We got to see the Spring 2015 showrooms, inspiration boards, and the archives. Every piece of clothing Tommy has ever designed was in one huuuuge room with the clothes on dry-cleaning racks, which current designers use to draw inspiration from when designing current collections! Within the archives, we also saw Tommy's closet, which of course was impeccable... and enormous. 
Tommy's Closet: obsessed

Inspiration Board for Men's Shoes & Underwear                                                       
Archives: clothes on clothes on clothes                                                 
Afterwards, the tour concluded and after some picture-taking and thank-yous, the event was over! Naturally, I explored the city and picked up some clothes and shoes for amazing prices (details to come!)

Overall, it was such an incredible experience and I am so grateful to Tommy Hilfiger and the CDC for putting it together for us! Who knows, maybe one day I'll be on the other side of the podium presenting to future Bucknellians! (a girl can dream…)

Hope you all have a great weekend!



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