H&M Waikiki’s Local Link: Rebecca Wong
Since joining H&M’s retail team in 2006, local girl Rebecca Wong has been making strides. She’s now the regional expansion administrator for the company’s West division and was recently in Hawaii to help set up H&M’s first Hawaii store. We spoke with Wong about her journey and how she maintains the aloha spirit in the big city.
Name: Rebecca Wong
Hometown: Honolulu, Hawaii
Resides In: Los Angeles, Calif.
Education: Punahou School, class of ’99; University of Southern California, BA: Art History, Minor: Business Administration
Photo: Odeelo Dayondon
HONOLULU Magazine: What was your first job with H&M?
Rebecca Wong: I was hired in 2006 as the assistant store manager in our San Francisco store. I then became a store manager and proudly ran two locations, which were top volume stores in the country. In 2011, I became the district controller for the Los Angeles area. I am now the regional expansion administrator for the West.
HM: What is a typical day or week like for you?
RW: I coordinate the store openings and renovations of existing stores for the West Coast. I support multiple functions during the opening timeline. In addition to coordinating the store planning with the district, region and corporate teams, I secure the ordering, delivery and installation of the material needed for openings.
HM: What’s the toughest part of working in retail?
RW: Resisting the urge to purchase everything in our stores!
HM: What’s the best part?
RW: The people—our teams in our stores, and our district, region and corporate offices inspire me every day.
HM: How has growing up in Hawaii prepared you one way or the other for what you do now?
RW: Hawaii and the aloha spirit are part of who I am. I take the warmth and positive energy I grew up with into every one of my stores. And its diversity, its mix of people, culture and community, has helped prepare me for the international face of H&M.
HM: Do you envision yourself permanently on the Mainland or returning to the Islands?
RW: I don’t know what the future holds, but my home and heart will always be in Honolulu. I am looking forward to future openings in the Islands!
HM: First job?
RW: When I was 7, I worked with my parents at the Punahou Carnival during their volunteer shifts at the plant booth. I was responsible for the coins. You could say this set me up for retail management.
HM: Which H&M staple is your closet always stocked with?
RW: Basics in every color and in every style! Tank tops, T-shirts, maxi dresses and tights. I can dress them up or down depending on the occasion.
HM: Your most-prized H&M score?
RW: For every guest designer event, I keep an eye out for that one special piece that I have to own. I still have a Viktor and Rolf dress from 2006 that is my go-to outfit.
HM: Favorite designer?
RW: I’m just a Kaimukī girl who grew up in bikinis and surf shorts! My favorite designer is ... Locals Brand Slippers.
HM: Your dream pick for a future H&M designer collaboration?
RW: Vera Wang.
HM: Guilty pleasure?
RW: Malassadas! When I come home, I make sure I eat at least two every day.