Lauren Fukuhara received a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Oregon. While completing her degree, she launched Hi Tide Designs, selling graphic t-shirts and decals through Etsy and her own site.
Fukuhara joined the UO Sports Product Management program in fall 2016 to learn about materials and manufacturing, as well as how to balance functionality with style. She worked on a product creation team that developed a women’s running jacket and interned for Hanoi, Vietnam-based Maxport Limited, which manufacturers for top sports and outdoor brands like lululemon and Arc’teryx.
Why did you choose the University of Oregon Sports Product Management Program?
The SPM program aligned with my vision of getting into the outdoor product industry. Being from Hawaii, I've always had a strong connection to sport and the outdoors. Coming straight out of undergrad with a business degree and background in design, I knew I needed to elevate myself with higher education to get where I wanted to be. I chose SPM for its hands-on learning, international study tours, access to its Innovation Lab, and for its strong connections to the industry.
What was your favorite part of the program?
My favorite part of the program was my three-month internship in Vietnam at Maxport, a garment manufacturer. Seeing top tier product from some of my favorite brands such as lululemon, Nike, and Patagonia was exciting, but more importantly, getting immersed in the culture of the people and process was extremely eye-opening and humbling. While in Vietnam, I was able to completely design and develop my own technical, 3L completely bonded and seam-sealed jacket, while also being able to try my hand at all of the machinery.
What are you doing now?
I am now in Hood River, Oregon working for Dakine as their apparel developer for lifestyle and snow categories.
Do you have any advice for candidates?
This industry is smaller than you think. It is competitive yet also collaborative. The biggest resources you will get from this program are relationships, as well as the opportunity to meet amazing people that have been in the space before you.