Alumni Profile: Polly Sinesi
Director of Design for Pink Stores Limited Brands
Provide an educational background including professional experience.
I have a B.A. from LSU’s School of Interior Design. After college, I began my career at Gap Inc., designing Old Navy stores. After four years, I left Gap to pursue a career at Limited Brands, where I have been since 2002.
My first project at Limited Brands was to help a team redesign Victoria’s Secret. The store design was a success and we are still rolling out stores in this design today. Fixture design, lighting design, storefronts, finishes and material specifications and space layout are all part of store design and branding development.
I spent a year in concept design for the Express brand, working on a new denim store concept, as well as a handful of new fixtures and materials in their retail space. Now, I’m the director of design for PINK, a sub-brand of Victoria’s Secret that has recently become its own brand. PINK currently lives in almost every VS store in the chain. This past year, I led a team of designers to design and open two freestanding stores for PINK. Both have been extremely successful and profitable—we expect more to come.
Why did you choose LSU for your education?
I originally went away to school—and for personal family reasons came back to Baton Rouge. I’m so glad I did! I realized quickly out of college that I received an incredible education. It definitely served me well in getting my foot in the door and into a great career path.
How did your LSU degree help to prepare you for your profession?
The professors and teachers at LSU provided a great balance of the practical and theoretical design skills. Materials knowledge, history, and current trends/events were all included. I went into the workforce with a strong balance of all of these things.
Please list any awards or special recognition that you have received.
2005 Design awards, VMSD Magazine, Express Store at Forum Shops at Caesars in Las Vegas.
2002 Design awards, VMSD Magazine, Victoria’s Secret 34th Street store.
What are your plans for the future?
I still can’t say I know “what I want to do with my life.” But, I’m having a blast so far! Retail store design is a fast-paced mix of highly creative design, paired with very functional needs. Understanding human habits and shopping patterns to create an exciting shopping experience is a fantastic challenge. Building in the necessary infrastructure—the ADA challenges, the energy code requirements, life safety, etc., and still balance that exciting environment—that is the challenge.
Besides that you have the business aspects of the job—working in a corporate environment. The politics, the communication and negotiation skills, presentation skills—yes, you can learn them in the work place but having a sound education to start from makes a huge difference.