A Chat with Christophe Gaigneux,EVP, Boston Apparel Group,
CS: In what ways do you believe you've succeeded?
CG: It's too early to say! But if you refer back to previous assignments, I've been told that I've left behind me strong and empowered teams. I've helped, I think, people to see things from a different angle. The brands in the Special Sizes group have gained in uniqueness in the past few years, and have seem better results.
CS: If a new cataloger came to for advice about running a catalog, what would you say?
CG: Let me know if I'm being too obvious. First, you need experienced people in what is a very technical form of retail. That's key. A strong brand focus is important, as well as product uniqueness and design. Understand your customer and competition. Understand the process and discipline of execution.
CS: Aside from the Redcats brands, what catalog and online brands do you shop at regularly?
CG: I shop at fnac.com, it's a PPR Web site. Also, I shop at Amazon, Pottery Barn, and mainly Redcats/PPR catalogs, because we have a lot of different brands: Brylane Home, Chadwick's, etc. I buy things for my kids there.
CS: Do you have any favorite books?
CG: I don't have any favorites, but I can mention two I've read recently that I really liked. One is in English, it's the last Mitch Albom book, the "Five People You Meet in Heaven." It's great to me, because it shows how your life can change with the people you meet. It just reinforces for me the responsibility we have as human beings. No matter what job you work at, you can influence the destiny of other people. It's a good book.
Another one, totally different, is a French book, an historic biography of "Fouché." He's an interesting character in the troubled French period at the end of the monarchy and the beginning of the revolution through the Napoleon era. He was the police minister, in charge of the police, in the government. Chief of police I believe, from Louis XVI through the revolution through to Napoleon. The ambiguity of this period of time. It's an interesting psychological portrait of this man and the ambiguous time in which he lived. I don't want to make any parallels to modern politics, but it's interesting because even though it's an historic biography, there's a lot of interesting parallels. The author is Stephan Zweig. He's a well-known author in France.