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“I have just returned from Italy," says Anja Wijnja, Napapijri’s Store Manager at Batavia Stad Fashion Outlet. “I was attending a Store Managers Meeting, which is held twice a year. It's usually in Italy, but meetings have also been organised in Barcelona and Hamburg. Great fun and inspiring.”
Napapijri is an Italian premium leisurewear brand owned by the VF Corporation, which also owns, among others, The North Face, Vans and Timberland. Napapijri was founded in 1987 in Aosta, Italy, by Giuiliana Rosset. Today, Napapijri is booming and has two stores in the Netherlands; at the Batavia Stad Fashion Outlet and the Designer Outlet Roermond. “The Bering duffle bag was the first item from the Napapijri brand, a symbol of simplicity and versatility,"says Anja. “Napapijri has been producing a wide range of luxury outdoor & lifestyle clothing for men, women and children for many years now. Napapijri stands out as a result of its high quality, iconic designs and innovations. I don't just mean innovative in terms of design, but also in terms of materials, working methods and presentations... in fact, in every area."
Make It Better
Anja: "By way of an example, Napapijri recently opened a pop-up store in the trendy Shoreditch district of London. It only sells the Tribe collection. This collection consists of designs in which the normal logo is more strikingly presented. It's particularly aimed at the youth target group, using bright colours like purple and yellow. It was created in collaboration with the designer Martine Rose. Napapijri also continues to be innovative in terms of materials, especially where sustainability is concerned. A VF purpose statement we use is "Make It Better". This means Napapijri is always looking for ways to improve. For the company, for the customers, for the employees and also for the planet. For example, the Skidoo jacket is now fully recyclable. Say you buy a jacket and after a few years you would like another one. You can return the Skidoo - using a special box we’ll provide you with - after which the jacket will be completely recycled and a new piece of clothing will be made. Napapijri is therefore always improving and changing."
A good feeling
Napapijri opened the outlet store in Batavia Stad in 2008 and Anja has been working for the brand since then. "I was working for another brand when I was asked to come and work here. I had a good feeling about it right away. I really feel connected to Napapijri. It's a brand that's always evolving, which is what makes it so much fun. What also helps is that Napapijri is continuing to grow every year. The same goes for our shop and that's really motivating. Napapijri is becoming ever more popular with a greater audience. There were five of us when we first started. We now have a nice team of seven people and soon there’ll be two more. Napapijri is also looking for new locations in the Netherlands, which will mean even more new colleagues. I would recommend anyone to apply. My decision to go and work for Napapijri is one of the best decisions I ever made!"
What makes working for Napapijri so much fun? Anja: "It goes without saying there are plenty of reasons, but perhaps the most important thing is that I really feel like it's my own shop. Whatever I do really contributes to the result. I can express my own ideas, such as coming up with certain promotions and I can select the products which I would like to have on prominent display in the shop. All of this makes me feel really connected to the brand. I also like to convey that feeling to my employees. I think it's important for them to provide input too, making sure they can also come up with their own ideas. This strengthens the commitment to the brand and to each other. People like to take responsibility and I like to give it to them. I always say: we're all in this together. It's not about what I do or what someone else does, it's about us doing it together. I constantly apply this ethos when training and motivating my colleagues. It gives me a great deal of satisfaction.”
The work of a Store Manager at Napapijri varied - no two days are the same. Anja mentions a few highlights: "We recently introduced the Simplicity Project. This basically means the head office only sends out briefings and other interesting information at certain times. This allows us to carry out our back-office tasks in a more focused way and means we can keep our full attention on the store. It works very well. I personally keep Monday as an office day. I have a conference call with all the Store Managers from our region, which is Western Europe, at 11.00 a.m. This usually lasts an hour or so. We’re informed of the latest news about the collections, we go through what's going well and not so well and we provide each other with feedback. We receive the Weekly Retail Communication Journal, a guideline with priorities and guidelines we can focus on, on Tuesdays. There's always plenty to do, as our store is open seven days a week. We have deliveries almost every day. Sometimes as many as a hundred boxes a week. All the products have to be unpacked, scanned, labelled and put on display. We also do a great deal of work on the shop's Visual Merchandising, which is adjusted on a weekly basis. We regularly change the mannequins and the shop windows. We often have new price offers, tables to set up and much more. But it goes without saying the most important thing is to help and serve our customers. This is always done with the greatest level of attention, expertise and pleasure.”
What Anja likes most about her job is dealing with people. "I'm a real people person. I love the fact that I can train and motivate employees in such a way that they see what needs to be done on their own accord, show initiative show initiative and take responsibility. I always try to ask as many questions as possible and allow them to think for themselves. As I mentioned, I have just returned from the Store Managers Meeting. This was organised at the last minute and my Assistant Store Manager happened to be on holiday but fortunately I have a Supervisor who can run the store. She had to deal with a colleague calling in sick. But the remaining colleagues managed to find a fantastic solution together. And what was even better: not only did they have thirty percent more customers in the store, they also sold seventy percent more than usual. You can imagine how proud I am of my team!”
Napapijri is part of VF Corporation. VF Corporation is a global leader in branded lifestyle apparel, footwear and accessories, with global iconic brands, 50,000 associates and over $11 billion in revenue. While VF is highly diversified across brands, products, distribution channels and geographies, our One VF culture and approach to doing business provides a unique and powerful competitive advantage.
Would you like to know more about working at Napapijri?
Watch this video about Anja on YouTube:
Or go to www.napapijri.nl