How Jeneé Naylor went from being a Target employee to lining the shelves of the retailer

BY Preta Peace Namasaba June 7, 2024 12:38 PM EDT
Jenee Naylor. Photo credit: Jenee Naylor

In a full circle moment, Jeneé Naylor launched her first collection as part of Target’s Future Collective line. The designer spent 11 years as a Target employee, working her way up to the role of store director at stores across the Washington, D.C. area. She has successfully leveraged the experience she gained from the retailer to make the transition from team member to collaborator.

“When I was younger, I had my heart set on being a fashion designer. Once I started working in retail, I thought styling would be my focus. At this point in my career, I’m just so happy to serve as an example to others who are also passionate about building a career around fashion,” Naylor said about her fashion trajectory.

Naylor was first introduced to fashion when she was in middle school. She discovered fashion magazines and would spend hours sketching her own designs and ideas. However, it was while studying fashion marketing at college that her passion for fashion truly began to develop. Her first job after graduating from college was at Nordstrom, where she enjoyed being able to style people and help them piece different looks together. Naylor realized that fashion came naturally to her and that she deeply reveled in it.

While working as a store manager at ALDO Shoes, Naylor was recruited by a store manager at Target. She initially rejected the offer because she did not like the retailer’s uniforms but eventually agreed to an interview following some convincing. She got the job at Target and although it was a lot harder than her previous one, it presented an opportunity for career growth. She was an assistant manager for three years and was committed to making it to the C-suite level.

When Naylor was promoted to a bigger store, she discovered blogging and began posting her outfits on Instagram. She wanted to put her degree in fashion merchandising but did not know how to do it. Following suggestions from her followers, Naylor started a blog about her fashion experiences. She did not monetize her blog in its first year as she did not know how to and was satisfied with only sharing content. It was not until she began making consistent money from brand collaborations that the idea of leaving her job and pursuing blogging full-time became feasible.

“My career at Target taught me some invaluable lessons. I learned how to pay attention to the details, mastered the essential art of project management, and transformed into an impactful leader. I honed my ability to strategize and execute plans, which has been such a useful tool within this creator landscape,” Naylor explained how her Target career prepared her for entrepreneurship.

Naylor decided to get serious about her blog after her promotion at Target was revoked. She had already told her friends, family, and peers about getting the position and was shocked and embarrassed by the incident. She was unsure about what the demotion meant for her future and decided it was time to set herself up for success. Naylor saved her yearly bonus from the job, cashed in her stocks, and saved from each paycheck until she had enough money to pay bills for the next 5 months.

In 2019, she started blogging full time.

With the launch of her first collection, Naylor is finally realizing her dream. Her collaboration with Target for its Future Collective line is poetic, a testament to her grit and strategic decision-making. It is inspired by her fashion ethos and includes a curated selection of versatile, chic, and summer-ready pieces designed to cater to diverse tastes and body types. Naylor hopes that the progression of her journey inspires others to chase their dreams.

“People ask me all the time if I’ll ever launch my own clothing brand, and I truly think a partnership like this is the closest I’ll ever get. Partnering, however, with a brand that I have such deep ties to is really something special and I’m still processing it all!” Naylor said about her future plans.