Greetings, marketing lovers! In the past few weeks I got you a bit familiar with the Burberry’s past decade. I told you a bit about the problems that they faced, and a bit about the solutions that helped them triple their revenue in less then a decade.
Angela Ahrendts is the name of the mastermind behind all that, but you should know all that by now. She was the person to bring Burberry back on the high-end fashion map, but today I am not going to talk about how she did it, I want to tell you a story about who she is.
The story of the future CEO to be has commenced at a small town named New Palestine placed in Indiana the United States. She was born on the 7th of June, 1960. She is the third out of six siblings. Her father was a businessman and her mother a housewife, at that time the family had lived in a small house and she still remembers how she used to take asylum under the staircase, where she could read and rest in peace. Since an early age her career in the fashion industry was destined to be. At first she aspired to become a designer, but eventually ended up studying the craft of marketing and merchandising at the Ball State University of Muncie, Indiana.
By the time she was 22, she had already obtained her degree and landed her first job in the Big Apple. In 1989 after several positions she joined Donna Karen International, where she was appointed with the task to promote the brand overseas. There, working at Donna Karen, was where she met Chirstopher Bailey her partner in “crime”. In 1996 she was hired at Henry Bendel where she had to expand the Bendel stores to 50 new markets, unfortunately the project was canceled 2 years later.
In 1998 she joined Fifth & Pacific companies as a Vice President of Merchandising and Design, at that point her career was rapidly on the rise and her qualities were proven. By 2001 she was a Senior Vice President of Corporate Merchandising. She was responsible for the merchandising of the 20+ companies under the corporate umbrella, including: Shelli Segal, Lucky Brand Dungarees and Liz Claiborne. By 2002 she was the Executive Vice President of Liz Claiborne, where she was responsible for both male and female lines and their good fortune.
Her devotion to work and high level of motivation have driven her from a small town girl to the highest paid CEO in London in 2013 and the highest pair woman of 2014.
A bit after she got appointed by Burberry she confessed that she had firstly denied the job. She had been contacted by Rose Marie Bravo, Bravo asked her to take over the control at Burberry. She says that she rejected the offer, because “I finally had my life under control – I finally had the country home, the three kids, the dog,I had the greatest job on Seventh Avenue. I honestly didn’t think life could ever be any better. It was just peace and happiness.”.
Then another call followed, this time she agreed to meet Christopher Bailey and discuss their future plans. She and Bailey spent 4 hours discussing the busness’s state and future opportunities.
I have told you a bit about Bailey and his role at Burberry, he is the designer behind all those stunning garments and now the heir of Ahrendt’s hot seat.
Since joining Burberry Angela has set an example for businesswomen, proving that nowadays you do not need “the balls” for the job, you need the qualities for it. Shy less than a decade after she joined Burberry she was appointed as Apple’s Senior Vice President Of Retail and Online Stores. She was named the highest pair CEO in London and respectively the UK in 2013 and she leaded the Forbes chart of highest paid women executives in 2014.
She sets a great example for all those women still living in the past, she proves that with knowledge, consistency and motivation a woman can work as hard as a man and prove herself in the world of business. She insists that she is first a mother, than a business person and says that she had given that advice to all of the women that had worked under her guidance.
For me as a marketing professional to be the story of Angela is a great inspiration and example. She is a self-mad woman, that has proven the world that women are maybe the physically weaker gender, but that is as far as it goes. Being the only woman on Apple’s board of directors is a bold statement.
I am going to posting more stories about Burberry and the marketing mastermind that brought them back to life.
Have a great week and Stay Tuned!