Monday, November 9, 2009

Designer: Josie Natori

"The novelty of investment banking had begun to wear off," she says. "I just wasn't challenged anymore. I knew there must be something else."

Josie Natori is a Filipina fashion designer and the CEO and founder of The Natori Company.

Natori moved to the United States in 1964 to attend Manhattanville College. After graduating, she worked at Merrill Lynch, where she rose the ranks to become the first female Vice President in Investment Banking.

Much like my recent post about Kandinsky (who at the age of 30 left a successful career in law to pursue painting) Natori (also at the age of 30) made the move from Wall Street to fashion full-time.

Natori had considered a number of other entrepreneurial ventures from opening a McDonald's franchise, to reproducing antique furniture. She settled on fashion after a buyer at Bloomingdale's suggested she lengthen some peasant blouses sent to her from her native Philippines. The reworked garments were sold as nightshirts.

The Natori Company now sells lingerie, sleepwear, loungewear, and other high-end women's fashion to upscale department stores in the US, and to at least 15 countries internationally. In addition to women's clothing, the company is also in the home furnishings industry.

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