How did you get THAT job! Thu Nguyen, Brand Director - Dream Bandits

Updated: Oct 23, 2019

Entering the job market as a graduate or thinking about changing roles/industries as a professional can be a daunting idea – even the most confident of us start that awful line of questioning of:

  • Am I really good?

  • Maybe I just got lucky?

  • Am I qualified?

  • I don’t have the right degree for this role?

  • I don’t have the right experience for this role?

Sound familiar? It definitely did for me, and if it does for you – you aren’t alone.

In this series of blogs, I am interviewing people of different sectors from the fashion industry to understand more about their professional journey, what path they chose for themselves, advice they might give you today and what impact education choices vs professional choices have had on their career today.

First up is the amazing Thu Nguyen, Brand Director of Dream Bandits.

I had the pleasure of meeting Thu last year - she has had a career spanning Buying, Category Management, Wholesale and Brand Direction. She has worked with some of the most familiar brands in the Australian market in senior roles, and interestingly enough her career has not followed the path she thought it would, she generously shares her insights of her career below:

Tell us a little about your career history so far:

I started at the Myer Head Office back in 2009, as a Category Buying Assistant in Menswear, then moved to Forever New where I was part of the International team, at a time where there was a focus on expanding the brand internationally, overseeing the expansion of the brand into the China and South East Asia markets.

After Forever New, I went onto becoming the International Category Manager for PVH Brands Australia, overseeing the Shapewear brand Nancy Ganz, and injecting that brand into the global sphere, dealing with the likes of ASOS, Bloomingdales, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus. I also had the responsibility of managing and expanding the Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger swimwear category across Australia and New Zealand.

I am currently the Global Brand Director for a new fashion brand, Dream Bandits Australia which launched into the global scene April this year, we are doing amazing sales on our Australia and USA e-commerce platform, going strength to strength growing exponentially, and we are on the quest of international domination, rolling out e-commerce partners such as Zalora, and also focusing on our international retailers across the USA, Asia, and Middle East.

Has your career followed the path you thought it would?

I actually was en-route to becoming an Investment Banker post my studies at university - however 'fell into' fashion and have loved every step of the way!

What did you study?

Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in Finance and Marketing at The University of Melbourne.

How beneficial has your education been to your career so far?

Although I have never had any formal qualifications in textiles and design, my commerce degree has been extremely handy when it comes to financial analysis, business negotiations and having an entrepreneurial mindset to be able to maximise all business opportunities.

What advice would you give yourself if you were starting your career again?

Everything is meant to be, and sometimes things don't work out but never give up because it just means you're meant for bigger and greater things!

What advice would you give someone starting out in the fashion industry?

It isn't all glitz and glamour! You must not be afraid to get your hands dirty, hustle, and take on everything to learn as much as you can from every stakeholder of any business!

Always be the first one to put your hand up to help out, and do tasks that are outside of your "job description" you never know what else you can learn, and where that can take you and who you can meet! Oh...and you MUST know how you use excel!

What are some of the most significant milestones you have had professionally?

The most significant professional milestone of mine was becoming the Brand Director at Dream Bandits, help building the business from scratch on the front-end side, across product development, design, sales and marketing.

I have been able to use my previous skills learnt to be able utilise my attributes in full scope alongside an amazing small team to be able to launch an amazing brand in such a short amount of time!

How important has networking and networking tools been to your visibility as a prospective employee?

I believe LinkedIn has been a massive player in helping me make connections, not only as a prospective employee, but also trying to make connections with potential GM's and VP's of retailers, suppliers, and any other important stakeholders that we want to do business with.

I think it is vital to always have your LinkedIn profile up to date, showcasing your achievements and career highlights.

A massive thank you to Thu for sharing her story, feel free to connect with Thu on LinkedIn by clicking here.

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