Why Curiosity Is the Key to a Successful Career with Philip Van Dusen

The Futur


Hope you enjoyed this episode with Philip Inducing Philip Thank you for coming on the show. Hello and and for people who don't know about you. Can you give us the really quick intro until offenders and and I'm a principal of their HAL brand design which is a consultancy Z.. We specialize in brand strategy marketing and designed for small to medium sized businesses and entrepreneurs. Are you a classically trained designer. I am not. I am a a classically trained painter. My masters in painting I used to teach painting back in the day. So how did you go from painting to doing design and brand strategy I I took a well. I like to call it a career web rather than a career ladder Lots of lots of side jobs but they we all made each other stronger and I start off his painter. As I said was teaching university for a little bit and then I came back from teaching in south France and I started my own t shirt company with the monitor types that I had been producing when I was teaching. And this was before the Internet so that dates me and and I walked the island of Manhattan with my low T. shirt sample case selling my stuff and street fairs Manhattan and stuff like that. Eventually over time realized that I didn't really like sales that much and I love doing the design work so I I went to work for one of my competitors about a five million dollar t shirt company that it was in Dumbo Brooklyn back when Gumbo did not have a West Elm. I worked there for about four or five years and it went from designer senior designer to creative director are- quickly and I realized very quickly that being creative director was a lot like teaching. Except you got paid more money and you weren't out of work every nine months so so it's nothing like teaching. Just kidding right this is very good. I've got I've got a couple of questions for you. You're in New York. How are you sustaining yourself? Assault selling t shirts. This sounds like it. Like how do you make ends meet. Yeah I was actually working at a frame shop in the West village same time and then I started doing well enough that I stopped working in the frame shop. But that's also right about the time that the the first MAC started to make its appearance in terms of really being a workable. All design machine. That's when I went to work for this other t shirt company. I see Woo man. You're like early kind of digital artist. If you're talking about the first I MAC and I'm gonNA throw a daycare and you don't have to confirm nor deny the date is Israel. Are we talking like eighty five ish like late eighty S. We're talking very very early. Nineties like okay like ninety nine and is this. The Beige all in one Macintosh. We're talking about yeah. Well Yeah Chrome. mm-hmm monochrome monitor the five K.. Yeah yeah the first one. I remember those days so naive myself to learn. Actually I think the first one the first Mac I had I rented and I rented it from a shop in Manhattan it was a Quadra seven hundred or maybe the one before that I think okay bought was a Quadra four seven hundred but it had like you know two hundred one hundred and seventy five megabyte hard drive in you know how powerful it was. I don't understand people do not understand this. One hundred seventy five megabyte hard drive was a big deal back then. Yeah Yeah I mean the fact that you had. Yeah I don't really get into because we're going to hold out. No I hear here's one little blow your mind. got a black and white laser printer and it cost me thirty eight hundred dollars and just bought one for my office and the toner cartridge was more expensive printer. It costs like I don't know sixty nine on dollars or something like that. I always like that. My Gosh so much change okay. So you're working on a frame shop. Now you're selling t shirts and and when you when you say you're selling tee-shirt is it the way I imagine you come out the design you pay for the printing and then you're sending selling your original artwork on a T.. Shirt is that how that works the up. That's how it worked time went and then printed Ed and I You know ship them. I took them in cases with my old beater car to wherever they were being sold in gift shops and stuff often apparel stores in Manhattan But then when I went to work with other company that we were shipping rain for the United States and stuff like that and that company that five million dollar company they also design t shirts. Yeah we did all original designs. I say we are a huge business in the Caribbean so a lot of resort teas and stuff like that. We also have a lot of things called name drops where you have a design but then you put like Siesta key in the bottom of it or you know Tampa Bay or you regionalize. The design For souvenirs shops and whatnot. Then I I went to work for another licensed. T shirt company That did a lot of character. Art You Know Disney and Warner brothers and stuff like that For about a year and I was managing about ten people at that point and then got picked up by old navy right when they were starting. and Oh wow. An old navy and Was One of the first handful of designers there again very he kind of moved from senior designer to create director and eventually over a period of eleven years moved up to Vice President of graphics Textile Design Trend Trend Packaging and color and so and I had five divisions I was you know managing sixty five people. So that's for how I really kind of gum stripes. I came up in the fashion industry retail fashion industry. And during that time I also got you know one of the things I loved about the jobs. I got your travel all all over the world quarterly so I would fly to Tokyo and Berlin and London and Milan and Antwerp and shop for work so I would just bought Trans Right. Yeah Twelve Trans. So that's where my that's where my trend I came from okay so when you're the VP OF GRAPHICS WCHS trends and all the other things that you put in there for old navy. Yeah what years is now. It was ninety five and I left there in two thousand six right. That's your ten year span. There eleven spent two thousand six. And how quickly were you able to ascend from being new in the door to being VP. I I was a VP within the first five years. Wow and what do you attribute that to like. Why did they pick you of all the people because you wanted to managing in sixty ish people right? Why did it take you to be the guy? And why not the person standing next to you. What what characteristics did you have all? I think one of the things that's always worked to my advantage manages. I'm very left and right brain I have. I have a head for numbers and strategy and the other piece of his people management. You know. That's where the teaching teaching really came in Handy. Because I had developed a decent emotional intelligence so managing people was came easy to me and I also oh you know built great partnerships within the organization so essentially my groups were acting as an internal agency to all the other product divisions so You know I think it was my I built an acumen for finance and budgeting and You know hiring the right people managing and people being a good negotiator with my business partners. That sort of thing. So you're basically doing everything that I wished. I had done at whatever place Jason My career because I expired one day to create a t shirt company Godsell. But I didn't have your your gumption. I didn't have probably even your talent to go out there and sale because I was too stuck in my own brain like this is weird. I don't know I can't sell. What if they see no and so i? I picked a different career path. But you did this and you seem to. I have been able to navigate one situation for another and trade up constantly. Yeah it worked pretty well I mean in the old navy t shirt business. This is just a little fun fact. the old navy t shirt business. Graphic tee shirt business was a seven hundred million dollar a year business and we produce the old navy flag teams the biggest selling t shirt in history one year. We sold one point seven million of them or something like that And we figured it out. It was like three percent of the United States population. Bought one that it was so many t shirts that we had to actually buy cotton futures so before the cotton was even grown. We had to like buy futures on causes to hear of cotton while sprint

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