If you're in the handbag industry, you don't get much closer to your customer than working the sales floor in an airport store. Melissa Mash did just that, selling Coach COH -1.60% bags at London's Heathrow.
Then 24, she was already a veteran of the leather goods giant, having started out as an intern during her New York University days. In the U.K., she handled buying, visual merchandising, and operations, as well as running a 9-person international sales team.
Crucially, Mash also got to hear from women directly, learning about their "handbag problems," as she calls them. Why were otherwise chic bags often blighted by logos and branding? Did totes have to turn into black holes, swallowing keys and sunglasses?
You can find the full interview on Forbes.
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