We sat down with the marketing head of one of the most iconic lifestyle apparel brands out there, GAP, and talked Fatherhood, FaceTime and The Beatles.
Tell us about your kids, what’s it like being a father?
We have an 8 year old boy, William. I can honestly say that all the cliches of parenthood are true, yet don’t prepare you for what it feels like to be a parent. The connection is visceral and the love unbounded. There’s a great line from the Avett Brothers song A Father’s First Spring that goes “My heart is now ruined for the rest of all times. There’s no part of it left to give.” That sounds about right to me.
Talk to us about your parenting style.
I try (but don’t always succeed) to be fully present when I’m with our son, and fully present when I’m working, but not mix the two. I’m probably a bit too accommodating at times (my wife would say at most times) but always give trust and respect to him as a complete person. We have always believed that we shouldn’t dumb things down for our child. Simple things like not using words like “blanky” when the word he should be learning is “blanket.” We never listened to ‘kiddie’ music with William…we played The Beatles. His life has been richer for it.
What’s the one thing you cannot live without as a Dad?
FaceTime. Nothing can replace time together, but FaceTime has allowed me to always feel connected. Often, William will FaceTime me when I’m traveling and then ignore me— just return to doing his homework or building his Legos. I love that, because it means he is perfectly content but likes just knowing I’m around.
Any piece of clothing you love for kids or like to wear as a Dad when with kids?
For children, the hoodie is essential equipment. Whether in cotton fleece or a soft cashmere, it goes anywhere, with anything and makes children feel safe. It’s like a blanket. For me, I often grab my beat up Belstaff motorcycle jacket. It looks great and has a million places to stash gear.
We like GAP Kids. Any exciting things on the horizon for this line of business?
GapKids is my favorite brand in the portfolio (don’t tell). It’s just so optimistic and joyful. On the product side, we are partnering with Kate Spade and Jack Spade for a whimsical holiday collection. This fall, we are launching a new program during our back to school period called GapKids Class of 2014. The idea is that parents can submit information, video and photographs of their children and we will send them back a “GapKids commercial” starring their child, which they can share with their friends and family. From all the entrants, we will give some of the children a chance to be featured in a worldwide GapKids campaign. Every parent knows their child is special and wants to share their love with the world. We are always so honored that they include us in their family’s life.
How do you manage the duties of fatherhood with the demands of running marketing for an iconic brand like GAP?
Not as well as I’d like to. I travel all the time and that has been hard. But William is now old enough to come with me on trips, or spend they day in the office, which he does fairly often during school breaks. He was recently with me in Los Angeles for the fall Gap advertising shoot. He hung out all day, met some pretty interesting people and ate a ton of sugary snacks. Come to think of it, so did I.
For more on Seth, follow him on Twitter…or just keep checking out your local Gap retail store!