Rising star of the week: Natalie Kudiwa, Temple & Webster

le listed in the feature, where they reveal what motivates them, the work that they’re most proud of and the challenges that they’ve overcome. 

This week, we chat with Natalie Kudiwa, product manager from Temple & Webster.

What was your first job in retail? 

My first jobs in retail were actually working as a sales assistant at EB Games and David Jones in my uni days. I got both jobs at the same time and just decided that two part-time jobs were better than one. Then post-degree, the first time I worked in retail was as a business analyst at a digital agency with clients in e-commerce.

What are some of the initiatives in your company that you’ve led that you’re most proud of? 

I’m most proud of establishing “Prod-yays” with my fellow product team members to dedicate one workday a month to purely developing their skills or knowledge that will help in meeting personal development goals or just stimulate areas of interest.

What have been some of the interesting challenges that you’ve overcome during your career and what have you learnt?

I think one interesting challenge I’ve faced in my career has also been a great opportunity. The changing nature of people’s needs, wants and expectations in retail – driven by a multitude of factors – means that you’re constantly having to adapt and look at things from different perspectives. I think initially this was definitely a challenge, but I’ve learnt that being adaptable is key. This is true whether you’re addressing a different market in a new role or initiative, or your users are adapting, themselves.

What do you love most about your job?

I love being able to step into someone’s shoes and trying to determine what the best experience looks like for that user. Beyond removing friction points in terms of UX, it’s really nice to be able to potentially delight someone with a feature or make them feel happy that they’ve enjoyed the process of their purchase decision and experience. 

It’s also really great to be able to utilise different skills and interests daily, which is something I appreciate about my job as I love that it keeps it interesting. One day it’s diving into data to map out user journeys, the next it’s experimenting with 3D models in AR.

Who is your retail hero and why?

Klasha CEO and founder Jessica Anuna is a retail hero of mine, and her work in making retail in Africa borderless and accessible is really inspiring. She’s studied and worked around the world, and has used her experience to help people all over the continent. 

Another hero would be Carmel Zein, marketing manager at Yotpo. She’s such a driven, hard worker. I don’t know how she’s so good at everything she does… and she does a lot.

If you could swap jobs with anyone in retail, who would it be and why?

I think I’d swap jobs with Single Use Ain’t Sexy founder and CEO Josh Howard. He’s a great example of where creativity, innovation and the drive to fix a genuine problem can get you, no matter the industry experience. So I’d say he’s having a moment right now and it’d be very interesting to be at the forefront of driving sustainability  in a way that is getting people’s attention.

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