From the Philippines To Wall Street To Lingerie Business Owner

A native of the Philippines where entrepreneurship is valued, Josie Natori (pictured), 62, followed her gut instincts and launched a lingerie company, Natori,  in 1977. Today her brand includes four intimate-apparel lines, as well as a ready-to-wear clothing collection, home and bath products, eyewear and fragrance.

Josie shares her sweet story of success with Dinah Eng of Fortune Small Business. Here’s one of many questions Dinah asked Josie about how she got started.

How did you transition to lingerie?

I really wanted to do something connected to the Philippines, so I started considering products to import. I’m a shopaholic, and I love beautiful things, but I never thought about design. But when a friend sent me some clothing samples, I decided to see if there was a market for them. I walked into Bloomingdale’s with some embroidered blouses and happened to meet a lingerie buyer who suggested I make them into nightshirts. Had I landed with a blouse buyer, I don’t think I would be where I am today.

In 1977 lingerie had no style. It was either Victorian or vulgar. Because I had no preconceived notions about what Natori should be, I was able to produce bold, colorful and unexpected lingerie for the time.

Read the entire interview (includes a video clip and a couple of great moment photos) here.

Posted by: Laurel Delaney

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