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My 25 years with Gap Canada

In celebration of Gap Canada’s 25th anniversary, we talked to longtime store manager Raina Stein, who has been with the brand since it first headed north. 

In 1989, Raina Stein was studying at York University to become a French teacher, but her plans soon shifted when she was hired at Gap. Fondly looking back now, she says there’s no doubt her switch to a retail career is directly linked to the brand’s launch in Canada 25 years ago.

“If you got into Gap, it was like ‘Retail University.’ Everyone respected the infrastructure. It was a proud moment when I started,” says Stein, now an assistant customer experience manager at Gap Bloor St. in Toronto.

As Raina tells it, it’s been quite the 25 years.

There was the in-store proposal from a persistent admirer in 1994. There was her sister’s 2000 wedding where she wore a Gap cotton shirt – Raina’s nod to Sharon Stone’s buzzworthy red carpet maneuver. There were the times she dyed Gap white limited edition pieces black – her favourite colour.

But Raina credits Gap’s ability to evolve as one of the main reasons she’s remained with the company.

“Gap has always been innovative and continues to evolve which is what I love about it,” she said. “The core values of the company have not changed. They care about their people and empower their leaders.”

And it’s Raina’s passion that Gap seems to love just as much about her. In this day and age where followers and likes are virtual gold, the loyalty Raina’s customers have to her attests to her charismatic persona that keeps people coming back.

On any given day, you can find her with a pair of skinny jeans draped over her shoulder, dressing some of the same people she first connected with in 1989. The difference now is she’s styling their children and grandchildren too.

“Gap is right on trend and we know what we’re doing,” she says like a proud aunt. “The fabrics are amazing but at the same time we’re getting back to where we came from and people love it.”


Gap Inc.’s Eric Severson to serve on national innovation council

U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker has appointed Gap Inc.’s own Eric Severson to serve a two-year term on the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE).

Eric, senior vice president of Global Talent Solutions for Gap Inc., will join 26 other members in providing advice and counsel to Secretary Pritzker and the Department of Commerce on issues that will help U.S. communities, businesses, and the workforce become more globally competitive.

“Through our ‘Open for Business Agenda,’ the Commerce Department has prioritized supporting entrepreneurs and helping foster innovation, which are key drivers of America’s global competitiveness,” said Secretary Pritzker. “I look forward to working with the Council to advance innovation and cultivate a skilled workforce for today’s 21st century jobs.”

Eric oversees talent management and workforce development across Gap Inc. He’s been a champion in defining what sets Gap Inc. apart as an employer and place to build a career. He has been the driving force behind a number of innovative talent management practices over the years, including our new employee performance process, the Results Only Work Environment (ROWE), and the Gap Inc. Diversity Council.

He also was a major proponent for recent decisions like our plans to increase the minimum hourly wage to $10 in 2015 for U.S. store employees. He’s worked hard to reinforce our longstanding commitment to equal pay for equal work; and aiding the company in earning a 100% score on the Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) Corporate Equality Index for the 9th straight year.

“At Gap Inc., we are constantly evolving the way we do business to attract and retain the best talent in the industry," Eric said. "We recognize that doing more to invest in workforce development, job readiness training and youth opportunity programs is not only a smart business decision, it’s also the right thing to do.”


Hello, Austria! Gap enters its 50th country

Gap was a total scene in Vienna following weeks of excitement for our first store opening in Austria. It also marked a company milestone—our 50th country for Gap brand.

It also marks our 43rd franchise market. Since the start of Franchise in 2006, which was initially launched under the guidance of future Gap Inc. CEO Art Peck, we’ve opened nearly 400 stores across Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy.

On the eve of the store opening, the who’s who of Vienna (bloggers, celebrities, influential press) came for a sneak peek while a DJ performed, accompanied by a string trio – a nod to Vienna’s music heritage (Mozart achieved his first wisps of fame there in the 1700s).

Guests also went wild for the denim and fall collections, with fitting room lines nearly reaching across the store.

The franchise business is integral to the company’s global growth strategy and our overall mission to become the world’s favorite for American style.

Franchise is gearing up for an exciting 2015, so stay tuned for more!


#DRESSNORMAL: Finding the local fashion vibe

It's a pop-up shop for Gap to complicate.

Supporting the brand’s “Dress Normal” fall campaign is The #DRESSNORMAL Project, a travelling shoppable exhibition curated by famed costume designer Trish Summerville (The Hunger Games, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo) and fashion photographer Tommy Ton. 

The concept? Capture the cultural vibe of distinct cities known for their styles and individualism.

The innovative project married Trish and Tommy’s work with resident creative folks across five locations—including Los Angeles, Seattle, Chicago, Atlanta and Brooklyn—snapping photos of locals at their “normal.”

In other words, they translated the culture from each of these distinctive cities—where locals hang out, spend time with friends and what they wear—into visuals of people in Gap attire from its Fall collection (some of which could be purchased on the spot).

The results encapsulated just how very different, and special, normal can be. Check out the images yourself at Gap’s Tumblr page.


2014 Holiday Hiring Blitz

The holiday shopping season is fast-approaching – and so are the “You’re Hired!” phone calls and emails for hundreds of thousands of people. 

More than 800,000 people are expected to nab a seasonal job in the U.S. retail industry this year. This will be the highest number of seasonal hires in 15 years.

Gap Inc., as one of the nation’s largest retailers, is set to hire more than 63,000 people for seasonal work this holiday season. This is basically equal to offering a retail job to everyone in Santa Cruz, Calif.

Gap and Banana Republic are hosting in-store hiring events throughout the week of Oct. 13 - 18, and Athleta and Old Navy are holding all-day events on Saturday, Oct. 18. (Check for local dates and times.)

To see event dates and apply for a job with Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy or Athleta this holiday season, click here.