I have been fortunate to have worked for two of the most successful brands in American retail during their time of enormous growth. And at my tenure with Coach I also had to good fortune to work on the start up of Reed Krakoff. I was last part of the turn-around team for Gap where we are finally seeing positive comps. My experience now covers mass market, affordable luxury and luxury.
Banana Republic was just exiting the "safari" years when I started there. I was able to launch the categories of handbags and jewelry while growing existing categories of small leather goods and belts. Under the direction of Mickey Drexler I traveled the world to seek design and materials inspiration and to find vendors with whom I created great partnerships. I was part of the team that completed the concept of offering the customer the opportunity to wardrobe in one place. This created new business opportunities while adding revenue to the bottom line and strengthening the position of the brand.
At Coach I started as team of one when the company was valued at $500 million and was able to build a team of nine while the company neared the $5 billion mark. I collected categories that needed a lift and started many from the ground up to form my own department. I was known to be extremely creative and prolific- with the ability to make an idea come to life. I built families of products that offered branding opportunities to be used companywide. I was the "go to" person for ideas and for help in getting things made- a resource for "what the what" was and how to make it happen. I made a huge effort to foster great relationships with a multitude of cross functional partners and was able to influence the outcome of collections because of my understanding of design, production, the market and the needs of the business. I worked on design process and calendars as well as participating on committees to support new ideas to make Coach a better place to work.
I put together an amazing and invaluable team of individuals and mentored them to be my successors. I encouraged them to focus on design and also on building trustful relationships with cross-functional partners. I worked with them to identify opportunities for their professional and personal growth. The team also became the company “go to” for design ideas and information on execution.
I had the unique experience of not only working on multiple categories- but also working directly with sourced vendors. At the same time I worked at Reed Krakoff - an otherwise separate company with little cross over to Coach. This was an amazing opportunity to further exercise my creative side with a completely different mind set. I loved being a part of creating the DNA that launched the brand. It was exciting to work in the intimate and energized environment of a start up. It was a great learning experience to be able to work with Reed in both environments.
At Gap I was able to streamline the product offering to reflect the Brand ID and to compliment RTW. I focused on infusing all categories with “trend right” details and improved quality on every level. I re-launched Women’s and Men’s bags, which made up for lost business by increasing bottom line. Gap is seeing positive numbers for the first time in 2 years and Accessories are beating company comps by double digits.
I have the ability to concept and communicate ideas to designers, merchants and executives. I know how to create categories of products that stick together and offer branding ideas that can cross all products for brand ID. I understand the needs of the market and the business and can work with merchants to support and evolve the business. I understand production and can partner with PD to get the product on the shelves.