How She Got There: Erin Fujimoto, Co-Founder & Head of Merchandising of Tommy John

Name: Erin Fujimoto
Job Title and Description: Co-Founder and Head of Merchandising of Tommy John
College Name/Major: Arizona State University/Finance
Website: tommyjohn.com
Twitter Handle: @TommyJohn
Instagram Handle: @tommyjohnwear

What does your current job entail? Is there such a thing as a typical day?

EF: There’s definitely no such thing as a typical day for me at Tommy John, which I believe is probably the case at most young growth companies. My job entails a mix of co-founder and merchandising responsibilities. On one hand, I’m heavily involved with high-level strategy, culture, as well as further developing the business and overall processes. On the other, I’m developing line plans, reviewing designs, testing prototypes and attending fittings with the goal of ensuring our products are living up to our claims and customer expectations.

What is the best part of your job?

EF: My favorite part of my job is working with a team of 80+ fabulous and talented coworkers who I get to learn from every single day. I also really enjoy developing a product that makes our customers, both men and women, more comfortable. There’s nothing better than reading customer reviews and knowing that our product is making even a small difference in someone’s day.

What was your first entry-level job in your field and how did you get it?

EF: The first job I ever had was at a clothing store in the mall called County Seat. I got the job as soon as I turned 15. A friend of mine worked there and helped me get the job. It was the only place that would hire me at that age! Little did I know then that was just the beginning of my life-long career in retail.

What words of wisdom do you find most valuable?

EF: “What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?”

I’m not even sure who originally said this quote but I’ve always loved it. Whenever I think about this question I think about how I would do anything and everything and the only limits I face are the ones I put on myself.

What is one mistake you made along the way and what did you learn from it?

EF: I suppose one mistake I made was not launching women’s sooner. Since I co-founded Tommy John in 2008 women were always coming to me asking for Tommy John to launch comfortable underwear designed to solve the unique problems women face. For so long I put it off because the women’s intimates market was such a crowded space with all the innovation under the sun. If only I listened to our customers then I would have recognized the need for comfortable, functional and sexy underwear that was missing in the market and introduced it sooner.

What has been the most surreal moment of your career thus far?

EF: Probably the most surreal moment of my career so far was when we opened our first store at King of Prussia mall in suburban Philadelphia in October 2017. Seeing the physical representation of the brand we spent 10 years building was such a milestone moment for me and something I’ll always look to as a turning point for us as a brand and business. Now, we’ve launched into the women’s category and have two more stores opening this year!

What do you look for when considering hiring someone?

EF: We look for candidates that are humble, adaptable, mindful, curious and are able to GSD (get sh*t done). But moreover, it’s really important to hire someone that will appreciate and thrive in the tight-knit culture we’ve developed at Tommy John.

What advice would you give to a 20-something with similar aspirations?

EF: My advice is to learn as much as you can in every role you're given. Your first position, or your first five positions, may not be your dream job, but you can still learn and develop valuable skills along the way. I appreciate every job I had throughout my career because each aided me in discovering what I was truly passionate about. At the end of the day, that’s the goal anyway.

What's the one thing that's stood out to you the most in a resume?

EF: The one thing that always sticks out to me in a resume is when the information is presented in a clear and concise manner. A resume is an opportunity to showcase one’s accomplishments and talents, so allow just those important details to shine through!

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