Breakfast with the Boss

Breakfast with the Boss July 21: William Susman, CEO William Susman, LLC 

Selling value in a recession, remaining current in the market and maintaining price / value balance in the eyes of the consumer are business fundamentals that Mr. Susman discussed in relation to global brands as well as their smaller, designer counterparts.  He also encouraged scholars to integrate themselves in the workplace, get to know co-workers, and approach their internships with open minds.  One can identify strengths, he advised, by evaluating which tasks are most enjoyable.

“Mr. Susman not only gave me advice for future internships and jobs, but he revitalized my passion for the one I have now. When I arrived to the office this morning, I made sure everyone knew my name and I decided to take a chance at least once a day for my remaining two weeks.  I feel like I understand the customer and retailer relationship better after one breakfast…” Krista Johnson, Syracuse, Marie Claire Intern

 

Breakfast with the Boss July 26: Karen Murray, President VF Sportswear, Inc.    

Karen Murray discussed a career in the fashion world that began with Sales, came to include exposure in a variety of sectors, and ultimately evolved into her current position which requires a deep understanding of both the product and the departments that make its success possible.  Murray discussed the empowering reality of more and more women in senior level positions in the fashion world and how females thrive in this industry.  She also advised scholars to “think about what you want to do and it will be like you never ‘worked’ a day in your life.”

“I love how Karen spoke about the change of the position of women from when she started working in the industry to where she is now. Her determination and hard work is inspiring. It was also funny to see that the meeting was made up of all females who were all awarded the scholarship because they are the future of fashion, and how much the industry is changing and will change as we go forward in our careers.” Emily Banas, Marist College, Hampshire Group Intern

Breakfast with the Boss July 27: Frank Tworecke, Group President of Sportswear, Warnaco

Frank Tworecke spoke to the turnaround of Warnaco and the entrance of the business onto the international stage.  He attributed the success of Calvin Klein Underwear, of which Warnaco owns the global rights and which is the no.1 branded underwear in the world, to closely managing and controlling points of retail distribution globally.  In managing these diverse outlets directly, he emphasized, one maintains the integrity of the brand.

Tworecke emphasized the forward-thinking and fast-paced nature of the fashion business by summarizing “this is a lot of fun, it changes a lot, and it’s a business of yesterday.”

“I learned that there are a lot of opportunities in this industry and to stick to what you know and what you’re good at and you will find a position that fits you best.  For me, I like dealing with the product and analyzing trends, so merchandising might be a great path for me!” –Brittany Katz, Wash. U., VF Sportswear

“Mr. Tworecke shared his experience of changing strategies, such as color or design details, as soon as a Sales problem is detected. The key is studying the client as much as possible to determine what their necessities are depending on their geographic position and the season.”      –Paola Ricardo, Pratt, Smart Apparel Intern

Breakfast with the Boss July 27: Peter Sachse, CMO Macy’s & Chairman / CEO, Macys.com

 

“The magic of Macy’s,” Peter Sachse posited, is the driving spirit behind the company’s marketing strategy.  With over 800 stores and $25 billion in sales last year alone, Macy’s goal of creating a customer-centric experience in its e-commerce business as well as localizing assortments in its multiple branches has proven incredibly effective.

Sachse addressed scholar questions such as how to cater to and reach an international customer as well as how to maintain the Macy’s flagship identity in regional branches.  In addition, celebrity endorsements and marketing via promotional sales were addressed as signature marketing initiatives.

“As an intern for Macy’s, it was very rewarding to be able to meet with the CMO / CEO of Macy’s.com. Especially as I near the end of my internship, being able to eat breakfast and carry on a casual Q&A with Peter Sachse really shows how much Macy’s cares not only for its employees, but also for the future of the fashion industry.” –Mary Hester Hill, Macy’s Intern

“As the scope of online marketing initiatives expands, it was particularly interesting to hear about how Macy’s leverages the digital medium to drive brick-and-mortar and online traffic through geolocal targeting and customization. Lastly, having introduced international shipping on Macys.com recently, I look forward to experiencing firsthand the strategies set in motion by Peter and his team to engage their global clientele.” –Ji Yun Lee, Li & Fung Intern

Breakfast with the Boss August 2: Peggy Eskenasi, VP Product Development, Kohl’s   

Peggy Eskenasi spoke to key components of “value” for the Kohl’s customer: “style, quality & price.”  The powerhouse department store, which earned nearly $19 billion in revenue in 2010, has succeeded in large part by knowing its customer very well.  According to Eskenasi, nearly two million consumers participate in the company’s market research each year and product is constantly adjusted according to how the customer grows.

Eskenasi recounted an impressive career which began in buying and has evolved into her current position which oversees every facet of Kohl’s product development to ensure quality and innovation.  Eskenasi also reflected that the ability to maximize growth at such an exponential level is one of the most exciting aspects of her position.  Scholars were encouraged to hone in on their skills and focus on amplifying their talents.

“Ms. Eskenasi approaches brand development analytically, but through the process is creative in what brands she seeks out and develops.  The grid method she presented is something that I had only seen applied in text books regarding segmenting your market.  However, she presented it as it applies to our business: as a problem solving tool.  As a result of this meeting, I will definitely consider Kohl’s when searching for jobs this year” -Logan Treacy, SCAD, Bergdorf Goodman Intern

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