Cover Story: The Top Women in Cross-Channel Retail
Renee Thomas Jacobs, President, NapaStyle
Renee Thomas Jacobs has been the president of NapaStyle, Inc. since 2009. NapaStyle is a cross-channel retailer founded by Chef Michael Chiarello that sells fine products in the home, kitchen, food and garden categories. Over the past four years, Jacobs has guided NapaStyle through a complete turnaround and restructuring. The turnaround included significant infrastructure changes and shifts in marketing tactics and category focus. Successfully managing the cross-channel levers within the business was the primary driver in bringing the company back to growth and profitability. Jacobs started her retail career in 1991 at Title Nine, which she helped grow into a robust cross-channel brand.
TIP: Stay nimble. Keep your brand consistent across all channels and touchpoints while maximizing each channel by category and price point.
Amy Jain, Co-Founder, Baublebar
Amy Jain is a co-founder of BaubleBar, an online jewelry retailer that offers stylish, well-priced accessories under BaubleBar's private label and through partnerships with top designers and brands. Jain conceived BaubleBar with her co-founder, Daniella Yacobovsky, during a project at business school and the two decided to turn the concept into a viable retail business. Previously, Jain was an associate at Centerview Partners, a boutique advisory and private equity firm in New York City. Jain has a B.A. in economics and political science from Yale University and a MBA from Harvard Business School.
TIP: Cross-channel initiatives are an opportunity to humanize your brand for customers. Everyone wants to meet the team and personalities behind their favorite brands, and a focus on creating engaging experiences and services offline — not simply commerce — will further instill loyalty with your fan base.
Beatrice Lafon, President, European Division, Claire's Stores
Beatrice Lafon is the president of Claire's Stores' European business, having joined the company just over a year ago. Lafon grew up in Paris and started her career working for brands such as Marks & Spencer and Dorothy Perkins. In 1991, she moved to River Island as a buying director, followed by further directorship positions at Woolworths and Homebase, where she launched the brand's e-commerce site, the first do-it-yourself transactional website in the world. Lafon most recently lead the sale of TJ Hughes in the U.K. and the repositioning and return to profitability of The Etam Group.
TIP: Always put your customers first and at the core of your plans when making choices about your proposition. Provide seamless integration to deliver a satisfying brand experience.
Anne Martin-Vachon, Chief Merchandising Officer, HSN
Anne Martin-Vachon joined HSN in May 2012 and serves as the home shopping television network's chief merchandising officer. In this role, Martin-Vachon oversees the product development, assortment, pricing, category expansion and merchandising of HSN brands across all product categories. Prior to joining HSN, Martin-Vachon was the chief marketing officer for Nordstrom, Inc., where she was responsible for all marketing and visual merchandising operations for Nordstrom, Nordstrom.com and Nordstrom Rack. Martin-Vachon earned a MBA in marketing and international business from McGill University and a bachelor degree from the University of Quebec in Trois-Rivieres.
TIP: You should always be in tune with the consumer because ultimately you need to follow her, not the other way around. Be externally focused as the world is changing every day. Be nimble, flexible and adaptable.
Pattiann McAdams-Russell, General Manager, Direct Business, Bath & Body Works
Pattiann McAdams-Russell is the general manager overseeing the direct business for Bath & Body Works, a division of Limited Brands, Inc. Prior to joining Limited Brands, McAdams-Russell spent 10 years leading AVON, a global brand on the internet. McAdams-Russell began her retail career as an e-commerce leader with PCFlowers, the first company to transact online through Classic Prodigy Inc.
TIP: To be successful in cross-channel retailing you must have organizational alignment on key brand strategies as well as clarity of roles and responsibilities. Invest in talent that will evolve competencies as you facilitate the transformational initiative. Leverage your brand's key assets; don't reinvent your brand. Customers' needs are evolving quickly and how you transform to maximize the channels to influence and inspire customers will be keys to success.