From Hong Kong to Switzerland and Shanghai, Joyce Chan on working internationally for Timberland
Since graduating from the MA Design Management for the Fashion Industries programme in 2013, Joyce Chan has worked for fashion brands in Hong Kong, Switzerland and Shanghai. After recently accepting a new role at Timberland, we caught up with Joyce to discuss career journeys, the challenges of working internationally and more.
Congratulations on your recent appointment to Director of Product and Merchandising for Timberland! Can you share more about your personal career journey?
Throughout my career I have explored different parts of the fashion industry, before working with Timberland I worked in design and product development. It was during this time I set myself a career goal, to manage a fashion brand. That’s why I chose the MA Design Management programme at LCF. I joined Timberland four years ago in their Asia-Pacific Merchandising Team in Hong Kong to kick start women’s apparel for the Asian markets. In Switzerland I was promoted to the Women’s Apparel Lead and have since relocated to Shanghai after becoming the Director of Product and Merchandising in Asia-Pacific for all product categories, including footwear, apparel, and accessories.
I believe my background in design and product development appealed to the recruiters at Timberland, they were seeking someone with more rounded knowledge to build a varied collection.
Timberland’s guiding principles are centered around ‘respect for people and our planet’. Can you tell us about some of the exciting projects you’re working on that are having a positive impact on communities?
All Timberland employees are encouraged to do their ‘Path of Service’ which is 40 hours of dedicated service for communities and the planet. As a Global Steward in Hong Kong, I initiated the ‘Box of Love’ at Christmas campaign. Timberland shoe boxes were upcycled and filled with donated gifts, then sent to homeless charities, the elderly and to children in the care services. In 4 years, the campaign has expanded to an event in Asia and Europe with 11 countries taking part. It’s amazing that a wild idea has grown into an annual event and that it benefits communities around the globe.
Since graduating from LCF in 2013, you’ve worked for fashion companies in Hong Kong, Switzerland and Shanghai. What were your main achievements and challenges when working in these different countries?
It sounds glamourous to be an ex-pat working in different countries, but it’s hard work that requires grit and determination. Professionally working in other countries for a big brand like Timberland has broadened my scope of fashion business with a global lens
It’s deepened my product knowledge and understanding of our customers’ needs and purchasing behaviours. My biggest achievement has been to expand women’s products, collections, and business strategies at Timberland. We are also developing and producing gender fluid collections. Personally, working and living in other countries has been an opportunity to learn new languages, explore and build connections around the globe. It can be lonely, and you need to adapt to the local work culture quickly. Relocating so often has trained me to become a more flexible, open-minded and creative professional!
Can you tell us about three innovative fashion entrepreneurs or leaders that you feel are ones to watch?
My three innovative fashion entrepreneurs are Christopher Raeburn, Redress and Pangaia:
- Christopher Raeburn is a leader in sustainability and a global creative director at Timberland. Timberland have been collaborating with Raeburn since 2019, the latest collection is called the ‘Earthkeepers by Raeburn Collection’.
- Redress Asia is a non-profit organisation and start-up in Hong Kong passionate about sustainability and educating young designers around the world. Their mission is to help reduce fashion waste whilst providing a platform for emerging designers. Timberland have partnered with the winner of the Redress Design Award 2021, Jessica Chang who will design a small capsule collection in 2023.
- Lastly, Pangaia is a brand that design leisure wear for all genders and ages using innovative technology and biomaterials. I admire their focus on material science and mission to save the environment.
What would your advice be for LCF students who wish to climb to management and senior leadership roles in some of the industries global giants?
My advice would be to remain humble at heart, keep learning and dreaming big! Be willing to take on any challenge, for me this was teaching myself economics, business and math. I knew this knowledge was needed to become a leader, I didn’t let this put me off and instead worked hard to gain these skills. My combined thirst to learn and defined career goal steered my path to where I am today!