Stories related to "Retail".


The Groundwork: A Window on Retail

The average American spends more than 200 hours a year commuting. These are notoriously stressful hours for most, usually spent stuck in traffic or crammed into subway cars. But Davidkhanian has managed to make her morning and evening commutes highlights of her day. For the eight years she’s worked at Macy’s—first as an associate in the merchandising office, now as vice president of market trends—Davidkhanian has walked the 1.2 miles from her home in Midtown Manhattan to her Herald Square office, invaluable 30-minute city adventures. “It feels like I never take the same route twice,” Davidkhanian said during a walk on a sunny morning in late June. Her one regular stop: coffee at Essen on Madison Avenue and 41st Street. “I follow the traffic lights, rain or shine, unless it’s freezing out. It never gets boring.” There’s an undeniable value in analog moments of observation—turning attention to the kind of infinitely varied scenes that unfold in real life versus on a screen. And some studies have shown that walking, like running and other forms of cardio, can help reduce stress as powerfully


This is Working for Me: Sandra Stark, ’95

Fifteen years ago, Sandra Stark, ’95, went west to Seattle to Starbucks Coffee Company, where she worked with three others in new ventures, a group that behaved like a VC firm: buying Tazo Tea, introducing the Starbucks Card, and looking for other growth opportunities. She wasn’t managing a huge slice of the company’s total $22.4 billion business, as she does these days as a senior vice president managing the global product organization, but it gave her a first glimpse of the fast-growing company’s equitable culture. It’s this culture, she says, that informs “what we do and how we treat people—farmers, suppliers, partners in stores, customers—along the way. It permeates everything we do, it sets the tone, and it helps answer many, many questions. It’s our true north and it’s why I’ve been here 15 years.” A native of Waukesha, Wisconsin, and mother of three tweens, Stark recharges with her kids: skiing and playing tennis and basketball. “I have everything I could wish for in my life. Every single day I think, ‘I am so lucky to have this job.’” Coffee is the heart and soul of our business. Product is my responsibility: beverages, food, merchandise. It starts with coffee and expands from there. What’s the strategy? What’s the right portfolio? What’s the innovation? How are we staying ahead? Currently new to the mix are our Blonde Espresso, made with lightly roasted beans; nitrogen-infused cold brew, which is less acidic and richer tasting; and Teavana Tea Infusions. With merchandise, we’re thinking, what do our customers need to create the right coffee experience at home?


Girls Will Be Entrepreneurs

Sharon Burns Choksi, ’98, had always struggled to find clothes she liked for her young daughter. She cringed and her daughter sighed as they walked past an endless number of shirts with only things like “sparkly kittens and dainty butterflies” on the front, she said. Maya, then 4 years old, loved trucks and baseball, but they could never find anything like that in the girls’ section. Instead, they encountered shirts emblazoned with phrases like “cutie pie,” “born to shop,” and “I’m too pretty to do homework, so my brother does it for me!” <br/>“One day, Maya turned to me and asked, ‘Mom, why do boys get all the cool stuff?’ Right then, I thought, ‘I’ll kick myself if I don’t try and do something about this,’” said Choksi. “If a 4-year-old girl was already absorbing that message, something was terribly wrong. Since the big retailers weren’t showing any signs of changing, I decided I had to try and create more positive options for girls.”


A Workday with REI’s Sue Long

A commitment to sustainability is infused throughout the culture and operations at REI, the outdoor-gear retailer headquartered in Kent, Washington. “We believe an outdoor life is a life well lived,” said REI’s sustainability initiative manager Sue Long, ’95. “It’s really fun to work at a place where everyone shares this value.” From promoting green building design to reducing waste in stores, Long implements elegant, thoughtful systems that begin and end with sustainability. She draws from her background as a chemical engineer to reduce waste, streamline efficiencies, and respect the Earth, all while helping REI achieve business goals.<br/>


Taking Inventory

The Challenge: Apple’s customers had evolved, and Cheryl Eng’s retail programs needed to keep pace. Customers could participate in small group demos intended to introduce them to Apple, the Mac, and later iPhones and iPads. But as technology became ubiquitous, basic tutorials weren’t cutting it for Apple owners. Customer feedback showed that “we weren’t meeting their needs. They wanted to capture memories from a child’s birthday party, but didn’t know how to do it in the best way,” Eng said. Addressing this need required a new strategy, not only to enhance the customer experience, but to change the mindset of senior leadership.