Melissa Gross, Multi-brand Buyer, Los Angeles, CA Jan 08 2015
This letter is in support of the reinstatement of Dov Charney as CEO of American Apparel:
Without bias, or any ounce of doubt, I believe Dov Charney must be reinstated as CEO of American Apparel, for the betterment and success of the business, community and culture he seeded, nourished, and bloomed.
How can I describe life before I began working with Dov? Its simple. It wasn’t life as it could have been.
It was late August 2012, and I had just rejected my acceptance to graduate school. My Bachelors of Science degree didn’t exactly land me the greatest opportunities in the entry-level job market; so I found myself working at a telemarketing agency, selling trade show tickets and essentially trade arrangement opportunities over the phone. I was smart enough to get into medical school, but I could barely qualify on paper to land a relevant and interesting job in the corporate world, but that’s what I wanted. I wanted to work, and let my intelligence and curiosity strive in another field of work.
So there I was, a young lady entrepreneur, with a whole lot of energy and passion, love for science and equations, art, history, fashion and culture, sitting at a desk all day, simply cold calling high level executives, hoping their gatekeepers let the call through.
I woke up everyday at 6 am. I felt as though I gained nothing, made barely any connections, learnt slim to no skills asides for smooth talking personal assistants, and left work at 5 pm on the dot. I made just as much money as I made upon entry at American Apparel, yet I left with no incentives, no added “bonuses” from being so involved, and no satisfaction. I was just one more person living a cookie cutter corporate life, filled with typical everything. I needed to get out of that life, and mentality that only a degree, age and experience is needed on paper to get a chance to do bigger things, or learn from the best.
One evening after leaving that office demotivated and disheartened with the nature of the position I was in, I walked over to the Montreal American Apparel Headquarters to go see Dov. This was not the first time I had met him, yet this was the first time I truly met his world. The world I have come to call my own, and share with many others I have met and connected with since that very first day.
I walked right into a boiler room of American Apparel Employees, dressed in my business suit attire. I looked around and was envious of the young adults, wearing relaxing fashionable attire, creating an amazing vibe and creative setting, while appearing to also have jobs they love, and appreciated for everything they were worth. Granted they had to work more hours than me at the time, but it was evident they knew they were getting a huge chance at doing something bigger than they could have imagined, and sat together like a true pack working on a unified mission.
He introduced me to the team of staff in his whimsical way, toured me through the office and led me to all the cool places in the building, the store, and eventually his home. He was so vibrant, intelligent, and most of all intriguing. His smile, vivacity and energy kept me alert and running until 3 am, even after leaving for work at 6 am the previous day. He was so amazing to me. I was so impressed, and immediately felt like I had learned so many things about business, life and really just everything.
I knew right then and there, I wanted to work for Dov, and be a part of his drive for success and imagination he shared with anyone who was open minded, willing to learn, and appreciated his presence. It wasn’t the brand first, even though some may think it should have been, it was Dov as a leader and boss that was the main point of attraction to me. Over the years of meeting colleagues from around the world, I realize that desire to work for Dov first and not just a brand, was shared with many others. It was what he brought out in all of us that kept us moving, making, growing and hustling.
What Dov Charney brings to any table, especially his own, is 100% passion, brilliance, experience, and most importantly direction. His ability to lead any number of people to greatness more than just once is very strong and consistent and has never been seen in any other light. Even throughout this past few months, Dov to the majority of us remains our leader. It says a hell of a lot that a man on the outside can still remain as impactful as he can. He is the essence of the beauty between those four walls. He is what drives thousands of people to pledge allegiance to the company he has built and shared so equally with us all in the most generous and honorable ways.
I wouldn’t trust any other man or woman than Dov to drive American Apparel to success, as he truly understands what motivates individuals and his employees to greatness. He always is the first and last man standing, and there is no one on the globe who would be able to say anything to contradict that notion. This man, takes all accountability, would learn every step of any trade if needed in order to benefit his business, and would forever know how to share the huge corporation he built with others, making them truly feel as though a piece of it was theirs. To me, and most others, that is a true CEO, a true leader who will always have followers. He is a man who is willing and powerful and would never back away from the everyday struggles of owning and operating a business. He is greatness. He is what these four walls will forever need to soar and maintain its ultimate powers and beauty.
So much of this beauty has already been interrupted, yet is being held onto tightly by all those who have been entrenched by his vision. We will all stand together as he always had it, and remain confident that this man will be honored for all he deserves and be reintegrated into the community he built.
Because of Dov, and the American Apparel Dream he instilled so greatly in me, I can now say I know what kind of environment ensues real life. A life filled with raw passion, focus, creativity, success and ultimate freedom. He led me to see the raw beauties of the world, being human, and shooting for the stars.
I love him. I trust him. I would forever fight for him as an employee and I am proud to say, I do not stand-alone with these feelings. We all want to work for this kind of CEO.