Changing of the guard at Isis for Women

Isis co-founder Poppy Gall has left the company after 11 years to follow other design and creative ventures. Gall, as lead product developer and designer, departed with her stamp firmly on the company’s products with their bold colors, playful prints and small added details.
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Isis co-founder Poppy Gall has left the company after 11 years to follow other design and creative ventures. Gall, as lead product developer and designer, departed with her stamp firmly on the company’s products with their bold colors, playful prints and small added details.

She and fellow co-founder Carolyn Cooke, who remains with the company as president, had shepherded Isis from its debut in 1998 with about 20 styles as a winter-only line and two employees -- Cooke and Gall -- until last month. Today, Isis (www.isisforwomen.com) has 16 employees and about 130 styles for winter and 90 for spring/summer.

“Product development is in good hands,” Cooke told SNEWS®. “Poppy left us in a really great place. She established a good framework for others to follow.

“I will miss her, of course,” Cooke added. “She’s contributed a lot to the company.”

Cooke sent a letter from Isis to its customers and other partners in late September that read, in part:

“As co-founder of Isis, Poppy Gall’s vision and creativity shaped the product we designed and delivered throughout the last 11 years. However, she has recently left her position…and is moving on to new creative ventures. She leaves Isis well-positioned for the future, and I have a deep gratitude and appreciation for her and all that she has done to grow the brand.

“We all wish Poppy much joy and success in her new adventures, and thank her for all that she has given to the company and to each of us.”

Gall, who was not available for comment, had taken a four-month sabbatical over the summer of 2008, a few months after the company brought in Jim Fraizer as an interim vice president for product development in January 2008. Fraizer’s joining the company allowed Gall to move into an overall role overseeing creative design. Cindy Gibson, who came to Isis from L.L. Bean, took over the direction of product development in September 2008, Cooke said. Gall finished the fall 2010 line with the Isis team, although the spring 2010 line was finalized during her sabbatical, Cooke said. The spring 2011 line will be the first without her.

Both Cooke and Gall have not been majority owners since their primary investor took a greater role about two years ago.

Despite Gall’s departure, the direction and mission of the company -- to make a difference in the lives of women and to inspire women to live active lives -- remains the same.

--Therese Iknoian

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