Michael Setola – President and CEO, Tharanco Lifestyles

Thurs July 26, 2012

Key Messages and Notes from Breakfast with Mike:

• To be successful in business, any business, it’s important to learn to sell, and motivate people to do things the way you want. In every job you need to be able to sell, convince people why your ideas are the best.

• There are important things you need to learn you will not be able to learn in college: managing life, people, business.

• Don’t be afraid to leave a company, if you feel like your promotion is capped.

• Retail companies – like Macy’s with Tommy Hilfiger – can hold exclusive licenses where the brand is the only department store where the brand may be sold.

• A brand can earn royalties by licensing its apparel and accessories to licensees. Royalties are good, but you have to make sure the brand’s offerings stay consistent, as the number one motivation of licensees is still to make money, and not to build the brand.

• “Sometimes you get slotted, but just get started.” Even if you don’t find your dream job, just find a job. Then find someone in the company who can help you grow.

• PR in the retail business is different depending on the kind of apparel or accessory you are selling. In golf, a big part of it is getting your logo on the best players.

• Trend: outlets – they account for more than 50% of Coach’s revenue, and 35-40% of Ralph Lauren Polo’s. Mike’s company currently has four outlets and will open four more in the near future.

• Trend: consolidation – through the years there have been waves of mega consolidations – that means a lot less people to do business with. Mostly the new companies are stronger, but that is not always the case.

• Trend: specialization – an example is Fisherman and Tobin, which specializes in childrenswear.

• Trend: international expansion – every company that is doing well is doing well overseas.

• “Put your ego aside.”

• “Learn all aspects of the industry. To understand the whole business, you need to ask questions.”

• Although they have a bad rap, without private equity firms, half the retail companies alive and well today would have been bankrupt. Michael Kors, which sold for ~$2 billion, is a classic private equity success story.

• “Have a vision for the white space, and courage to chase the business.”

Notes Compliments of Maggie Jiang


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