How does BJ's Wholesale own brands manager describe the store brands industry?
Store Brands recently caught up with Angel McPherson, the own brands manager for Westborough, Mass.-based BJ's Wholesale Club, to talk to her about the private brands industry, among other things.
How did you come into the world of private brands?
For a little over a decade, I worked for retail corporations in product development and marketing for a consumer electronics company and then on a store brands team with a major retailer. This experience gave me the insight and expertise in the private label industry to pursue and gain a position with BJ’s Wholesale Club.
Describe the private brands industry in one word.
What do you like most about the industry?
Private brands are now more than just the “generic” versions my parents bought to save money. They still deliver incredible value, but they have grown into brands that consumers love and trust.
What one great thing does the industry have going for it?
There’s a lot of opportunity for growth. Products have become more innovative and consumers — especially millennials — are more open to buying private label brands.
Who is your hero and why?
I don’t have one hero, but rather I have many people from whom I’ve learned and have taken inspiration. My grandmother and mother were true matriarchs, caring for their families despite hardships, multiple jobs and battles with cancer. My former boss taught me everything I know about product development, project management and, most importantly, being your authentic self without apology. Friends who dream of something more and pursue their dreams are reminders that I, too, can accomplish anything.
What trait in yourself do you attribute most to your success?
I’m always curious and never stop learning, personally and professionally.
What is the biggest obstacle you have ever overcome?
Being a teen mom. Finishing high school while working and taking care of a child wasn’t easy. I had to grow up fast, and the overall experience was mentally and emotionally difficult. Thankfully, I had my mother’s support so I could work and go to college, and provide a healthy and happy home for my daughter. She graduated from college this year, and I am very proud of the young woman she has become.
What’s the best advice someone ever gave you?
Nothing changes if nothing changes.
It’s 5 o’clock (or later), what do you do for fun?
I have an hour commute, so I am listening to an audio book or catching up with family (using Bluetooth, of course) on the ride home. Once home, I like to unwind and enjoy the quiet.
You have a week off. Where do you go and why?
My next vacation is to Thailand. However, if I have a week off without a planned
vacation, I will likely re-organize something at home.