Meet a anti-diva behind Target designs

January 17, 2015 - fall Denim



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    Julie Guggemos folded a sweeping in an area during a Target domicile in Minneapolis where arriving product releases are on display.

    Photo: Jeff Wheeler, Star Tribune

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    Tall, blond and accidentally elegant, Julie Guggemos lopes briskly by a 4 floors of pattern departments during Target domicile like a palomino in reward jeans and high heels.

    “Look during that soothing bedding for underneath $20,” she said, interlude during a mocked-up dorm room where dual staffers are aggregation back-to-college furnishings for subsequent fall. “I adore how there’s cork incorporated into that lampshade.”

    Down a hall, a denim team, surrounded by Mason jars full of rivets, snaps and buttons, has hung adult a store-brand line of tumble lady fashions for her perusal.

    “How are we determining where to trouble a denim? Light rinse is back. That’s so ’90s,” she said, high-fiving engineer Louis Tappan. Pointing to a small faux-leather jacket, she said, “What small lady wouldn’t wish that in her closet?”

    As comparison clamp trainer of product pattern and growth for a big-box tradesman famous as a black of affordable chic, we competence suspect she’d be as formal, and formidable, as Anna Wintour. But Guggemos, while clearly in charge, gives off an tractable vibe, listening some-more than she talks.

    On weekdays, a Roseville-raised executive projects a brew of glam and all-American-girl character while supervising 600 employees. Weekends, she’s adult during a cabin nearby Spooner, Wis., where her family is looking brazen to going snowmobiling.

    What creates her surprising is what isn’t on her résumé — any grave training in design. Asking her colleagues for a tip to her supernatural knack for presaging trends that will fly off a shelves a year after will give we a movement on one theme: The lady usually has an eye.

    From a high-style Threshold home collection she helped rise in 2012 to engineer partnerships with Toms shoes, Faribault Woolen Mills and Lilly Pulitzer frocks, Guggemos orchestrates how Target’s products are combined and packaged. As many as 25,000 a year contingency pass her inspection. She travels a universe and credits her “photographic memory” for maintaining a inundate of visuals that change her choices.

    Although Target can spin some newness fashions in a integrate of weeks — such as T-shirts temperament of-the-moment slogans from amicable media — it customarily takes one month between judgment and growth of a product, and another 12 between signoff and completion. With 6 trend cycles rotating around a year, Guggemos has to demeanour forward during slightest a year, some-more mostly two. She lets her instincts brand macro trends, afterwards determines that will best fit Target shoppers and prices.

    “I wear something from Target each singular day,” she said. (Today it’s boots and a bracelet churned with a higher-end silk blouse.) “It’s all about a mix.”

    Guggemos is a stickler for product testing. No fewer than 1,000 baby bottoms were employed to ideal a fit on UpUp store-brand diapers. When a staff organisation went camping a few years ago to exam out a 10-person tent, they were astounded by a clever storm, and came behind meaningful that they had to make a stakes stronger and supplement some glow-in-the-dark features.

    “We have over 200 patents, with another 160 pending,” she said, permitting a note of honour to climb into a warm tinge that bears a snippet of a Minnesota accent.

    Trust and heart

    Guggemos, 49, started during Target in 1990 as a fondle customer with a B.A. in selling from a University of St. Thomas, operative her approach adult a ranks. Unlike a “mommy track” woes that disease many veteran women, her preference to go part-time for 7 years after a birth of her second child didn’t derail her ascent.

    Her talents distortion not usually in spotting trends though in “maximizing” them — in other words, behaving forward of a bend and flooding stores with a prohibited product before penetrating seductiveness in it dies. She done her initial large dash in 1992 with a assistance of a nonsensical purple dinosaur named Barney, star of a new PBS kids show.

    “I bought adequate Barney pressed animals to exam in a Dallas market, and it sole out in dual weeks,” she said. “I fast stretched a buy and distribution, so as recognition for a uncover grew, so did a sales. Barney fast became a No. 1 toy” for Target.

    Her boss, Trish Adams, executive clamp trainer of attire and home, gave Guggemos an superb trend businessman endowment in 2005 for hopping early onto lace-top chemise insanity and producing a crinkle-fabric chronicle that sole distant and divided over expectations. Equally valuable, Adams said, is a approach Guggemos builds a “trust and respect” of a high-profile designers who form proxy partnerships to pattern lower-priced collections disdainful to Target, and a in-house designers who indeed make them.

    “Missoni was so sold about how a cut had to go adult a seam,” Adams said. “Julie develops a rapport so they feel gentle operative with a inner designers.”

    Guggemos was recently named to a Walker Art Center’s board, one of a many prestigious in town. For scarcely dual years, she has been enrolled during Studio/E, a care procedure in St. Paul that focuses on steering employees by times of change.

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