Juliana Prather, from luxury fashion to SaaS solutions
Hi Juliana, please tell us a little about yourself and your career.
My first job was in International Sales for a luxury fashion jewellery company designing jewellery and accessories for brands like Givenchy and Lagerfeld. It was an ideal training ground for the business of fashion with hands-on exposure to merchandising, marketing, and global sales. I value those experiences to this day; working closely with multi-brand companies like LVMH and global distributors to see how they clearly marketed each brand and celebrated what made each one unique, was fantastic training for me. I continued my career at Liz Claiborne which owned 48 fast-growing brands and led the merchandising and marketing teams for Latin America and Asia. We were launching and growing US brands in global markets and had to drive strategies based on what was going to resonate with local, not US, customers.
I loved building the right teams and managing across borders. Helping people grow in their careers is a true passion point for me. When I started to travel less for my family, I moved to help iconic brands drive their brand strategy and digital marketing. I led the team that relaunched Superga in the US market and took leadership positions at companies like Maidenform and Jack Rogers.
The common theme has been helping brands focus on what makes them unique and building the right teams and strategies to deliver a great experience to their core customers while reaching new ones. Now I get to pull this all together with a leader in retail tech, EDITED, that makes the SaaS solutions do just that.
What are your roles and responsibilities at EDITED?
As Chief Marketing Officer, I lead the teams that tell the EDITED story, work to create an excellent experience for existing customers and drive outreach to acquire new customers. EDITED’s mission is to provide the data analytics solutions retailers need to optimise pricing and assortment strategies and achieve their margin goals. As the leader of marketing messaging, I also have a key role to ensure our team is supporting our employees and initiatives with clear, motivating communications.
It can feel like a non-stop project so it is critical that I can motivate my teams and help them feel empowered, manage life-work balance and grow professionally.
What has been the greatest challenge you’ve faced throughout your career?
Work-life balance is an overarching theme to manage every day – for me, it means staying positive, focusing on priorities and making the decisions that are good for my family including work family, friends and community.
Another true challenge has been navigating the results of companies merging and closing; this can mean difficult choices for a career – do you move to a new city for a position? When do you leave a tough environment? How do you grow skills and achieve your personal goals in the face of unexpected company changes? It creates tremendous stress exactly when you need to think the most clearly.
Likewise, what’s been your greatest success?
My greatest success has been seeing the careers of my teams expand and being a part of their network. Mentoring is a gift and we can do it in many roles in our careers. I’m involved in a number of organisations that help raise female talent up the ladder, and I take great joy in seeing those in my team develop and blossom. EDITED has a great culture of training and development including mentorship that goes hand in hand with that.
How do you advocate for women in business and why is this important to you?
I am very grateful to women leaders who have been mentors to me and those who took chances in giving me career opportunities, so it is absolutely my personal priority to offer that to others. There is no doubt how these women impacted my career. At the same time, I have seen first-hand the issues in the workplace that impact women more – the ability to move for career changes when you have a family is a big one; asking for raises or time for family is more difficult for women versus their male colleagues. It’s important because our work teams are better when they are diverse and we need everyone to feel themselves and empowered in the workplace to achieve their goals.
Tell us about Women in Retail (WIR) and the Stanford Women’s Network – what do you aim to achieve through these organisations?
Professional organisations that put women’s careers and concerns front and centre can make a big difference – especially when they are open not just to executives but all levels of the workforce. I loved my first meetings with Women in Retail because they did just that – they encouraged women from junior through to senior positions in retail to join, as well as welcomed a range of companies to participate, from startups to enterprises. The WIR organisation creates events that have a real impact and cover the topics that matter to people in their careers.
The Stanford Women’s Network NY is one of the many alumni groups that can bring powerful networking and mentoring opportunities to women of all ages as well as offer social connections. I participated early on in my career when moving to New York from California and wanted to learn more about the city. In 2020, I had the pleasure of being asked to join the board to help support new events and connect in a more direct way. Interestingly enough, it led to creating quarterly online events during the pandemic that helped many women leaders stay connected and participate in discussions on trending topics. We did a series that focused on female founders that proved very topical for many women – whether it was learning about starting a company, finding funding, or work-life balance discussions like solutions for better maternity leave, and it really resonated with people during a difficult time.
What would you say has been the secret to your success?
Optimism. I do whatever I can to keep learning and to think positively. I thrive around positive energy and have seen what teams and people can achieve with positivity motivating them. Conversely, it took me too long to realise that I do not thrive, nor do my teams if working too long in a toxic environment. And I find being open to change in a fast-moving industry is critical. Both retail and tech change constantly, and it is my job to find the marketing strategies that work and drive growth even in the face of uncertainty.