Thriving: Fearlessly Growing A Fashion Empire

A Filipino American Story as told by entrepreneur and fashion designer, Josie Natori. Read her full story below:“I have never felt any limitations. I was brought up to believe that I should always fight to be the best. After university, I worked for stock brokerage firm Bache & Co., for whom I opened a Manila branch when I was only 21. I then moved to investment banking when I joined Merrill Lynch, and eventually became the first female vice-president in corporate finance at the firm, rising above men with MBAs. It felt amazing having so much success in what was a male-dominated industry. That experience on Wall Street helped me build my business, Natori. For something that was an accident—I had no background in fashion—I am very proud that we are at the top of our game 40 years later, sold in exclusive stores around the world such as Bergdorf Goodman, Saks, Harrods, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, and Bloomingdale's. While I initially wasn’t sure of my long-term plan, I used my Philippine heritage as my point of differentiation, growing Natori from a sleepwear company to a true lifestyle brand. One of my happiest moments was helping prepare for the Pope’s visit to the Philippines. It was wonderful to know he slept in Natori sheets, used Natori towels, and had a Natori robe during his stay. I learned on the job, used my intuition, and listened to my customers. Mostly, I enjoyed each stage of the evolution. If I didn’t love my job, I would have gotten out a long time ago! You need a stomach of steel to tackle the fashion business, but the challenge is also what motivates me. Everything I do is a means to an end, and being a Filipino American woman has given me the edge to excel. I remember all the strong women in the Philippines, especially my grandmother, who is my role model and inspired me to go into business. I took that entrepreneurial spirit and strong sense of family with me when I moved to the United States. Our culture and this land of opportunity provide so many advantages; there are many things you can do, so just go for it!”About: Filipino American Disruptors is a month-long storytelling initiative powered by NextDayBetter x AARP AAPI Community celebrating the stories of Filipino Americans in a range of disciplines from community activism to tech entrepreneurship. These forward-thinking individuals are trendsetters, trailblazers, and problem-solvers in their respective fields, helping to push America and the Filipino American community forward through their leadership, creativity, and innovation.

Posted by AARP AAPI Community on Thursday, October 5, 2017

Thriving: Fearlessly Growing a Fashion Empire

A #FilipinoAmerican Story as told by entrepreneur and fashion designer, Josie Natori. 

“I have never felt any limitations. I was brought up to believe that I should always fight to be the best. After university, I worked for stock brokerage firm Bache & Co., for whom I opened a Manila branch when I was only 21. I then moved to investment banking when I joined Merrill Lynch, and eventually became the first female vice-president in corporate finance at the firm, rising above men with MBAs. It felt amazing having so much success in what was a male-dominated industry.

That experience on Wall Street helped me build my business, Natori. For something that was an accident—I had no background in fashion—I am very proud that we are at the top of our game 40 years later, sold in exclusive stores around the world such as Bergdorf Goodman, Saks, Harrods, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, and Bloomingdale’s. While I initially wasn’t sure of my long-term plan, I used my Philippine heritage as my point of differentiation, growing Natori from a sleepwear company to a true lifestyle brand. One of my happiest moments was helping prepare for the Pope’s visit to the Philippines. It was wonderful to know he slept in Natori sheets, used Natori towels, and had a Natori robe during his stay.

I learned on the job, used my intuition, and listened to my customers. Mostly, I enjoyed each stage of the evolution. If I didn’t love my job, I would have gotten out a long time ago! You need a stomach of steel to tackle the fashion business, but the challenge is also what motivates me.

Everything I do is a means to an end, and being a Filipino American woman has given me the edge to excel. I remember all the strong women in the Philippines, especially my grandmother, who is my role model and inspired me to go into business. I took that entrepreneurial spirit and strong sense of family with me when I moved to the United States. Our culture and this land of opportunity provide so many advantages; there are many things you can do, so just go for it!”

About:
Filipino American Disruptors is a month-long storytelling initiative powered by NextDayBetter x AARP AAPI Communityommunity celebrating the stories of Filipino Americans in a range of disciplines from community activism to tech entrepreneurship. These forward-thinking individuals are trendsetters, trailblazers, and problem-solvers in their respective fields, helping to push America and the Filipino American community forward through their leadership, creativity, and innovation.

NextDayBetter Storyteller: Candice Quimpo