THIS MONTH WE’RE FEATURING KATHINE LEUNG, STORE MANAGER OF COACH BURRARD FOR PEOPLE OF DOWNTOWN
Born and raised in Vancouver, Kathine graduated from the University of British Columbia with a bachelor’s degree in History. Kathine decided to continue her education post-grad and furthered her studies in Marketing Communications and Event Planning.
While attending university, Kathine began her career in retail, working part-time at The Museum Company in Pacific Centre. Kathine’s experience at The Museum Company led her to an opportunity at Coach. “I was in the process of starting my own event planning business but was given the opportunity to join Coach for a three-month manager contract,” she explains. Kathine has been working in Downtown Vancouver for 26 years; “Three months at Coach turned into eighteen years, and I have not looked back,” she says.
Founded in New York in 1941, Coach is a global fashion house that believes in crafting items that you can be yourself in. Coach is also known as the “Original American House of Leather” and just celebrated 81 years of business. “The Burrard Street location is a local flagship store that carries the full Runway Expression,” explains Kathine. It’s also one of three stores in Canada that has a Craftsmanship Bar in-store that offers complimentary monogramming and leather care services.
Over the years, Kathine has been a part of numerous initiatives, brand transformations and store growths – all of which are fond memories. One of the most rewarding experiences Kathine has been a part of is the Coach Cares Ambassador Program. “As a company, we are committed to giving back to the community,” says Kathine. Coach is hoping to reach 100,000 volunteer hours by 2025.
Highlights of running her business thus far include hosting unique store events, creating memorable customer experiences, and meeting new people. “The Burrard store was the first to open in Canada back in 2002 – we just celebrated our 20th anniversary this year!” she exclaims. Kathine has had the privilege of leading Coach Metropolis, Coach Pacific Centre, and Coach Burrard – all of which cater to different customer demographics. “Having this opportunity allowed me to grow as a leader as each location had its own unique successes and challenges,” she says. Working at the Burrard flagship store has also been a big career highlight for Kathine; “The Burrard location is where I started my Coach journey…It is such a joy to be able to be the first to introduce new employees to the brand and help to shape their Coach journey,” Kathine says.
When it comes to the future of Downtown Vancouver, Kathine is inspired to see how the city has grown over the past 20 years. “Growth in population, residential, and retail in the Downtown core has definitely shaped the neighbourhood to be a popular work/live destination,” she says. Kathine is proud of the impact that the tourism industry has on Vancouver and remembers how special the 2010 Winter Olympics were for the community. “Being able to experience the energy, passion, and patriotism throughout the city was a once-in-a-lifetime moment!” she says.
You can visit the Coach flagship store in person at 755 Burrard Street.