Cover Story: The Top Women in Cross-Channel Retail
Phyliss Sorese Mosca, President, Ulla Popken
Phyliss Sorese Mosca was named president of Ulla Popken, a cross-channel retailer of plus-size women's apparel, in June 2008, after seven years in a part-time/consulting role with the company. Mosca's commitment to plus-size customers is built upon a deep knowledge of this market from 23 years of experience, including prior senior marketing positions at Silhouettes and Brylane. She oversees all company functions from product development, marketing, IT, customer service and operations to branding direction. During her four-plus years of stewardship, Ulla Popken's sales have grown by more than 65 percent while profits have increased more than tenfold.
TIP: Know your customers and the emotional needs your business fulfills. Be sure what you offer satisfies them better than anyone else and your business can become a true loyalty-producing brand. Gaining that necessary understanding is much faster and simpler today, with an abundance of information at our fingertips. However, recognition of brand inconsistency and lack of authenticity is also faster. Consumers can tune out or, worse, easily and widely share their negative reaction. Discerning and utilizing the abundance of real-time information allows you to best serve your loyal customers while making it easier to find and attract more of them.
Leigh Rawdon, CEO, Tea Collection
Leigh Rawdon co-founded Tea Collection in 2002 to offer children's fashions that celebrate the beauty found in cultures around the world. Tea Collection is a true cross-channel company, with product available at teacollection.com, in Tea Collection's catalog and in more than 500 retailers, including Nordstrom and Bloomingdale's. Tea Collection has been recognized for the last five years in Inc. Magazine's "Inc 5000" list of America's fastest-growing private companies. Rawdon holds a BA in English from Davidson College and an MBA from Harvard Business School. Before co-founding Tea Collection, Rawdon worked in product marketing and in operations with technology-focused companies.
TIP: Before you dive into cross-channel marketing strategy, think hard about your customer's needs and desires. If your product delivers a great consumer experience, it will flourish in any channel.
Shari Rudolph, Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer, Bonfaire
Shari Rudolph is the co-founder and chief marketing officer of Bonfaire, a luxury e-commerce destination offering exclusive first access to the best of next season's designer shoes, handbags and accessories for pre-order. Rudolph is responsible for driving customer acquisition, marketing, branding, partnering, social media, and customer care strategies and initiatives. Prior to starting Bonfaire, Rudolph held posts as vice president, e-commerce at The Wet Seal, a national specialty retailer, and chief marketing officer for Kaboodle, the web's largest social shopping site and a unit of Hearst Corporation. Bonfaire is her second consumer internet startup as a co-founder.
TIP: Shopping has always been social (think Tupperware parties and gaggles of girls at the mall). Now there are more tools than ever to share information, putting a tremendous amount of power in the hands of the customer. Don't be afraid. Embrace it, give up some control and obsess over learning from the customer.
Janet Taake, Senior Vice President, Merchandising, Ulta
Janet Taake has served as senior vice president of merchandising at cosmetic and beauty products retailer Ulta since December 2008. Prior to joining Ulta, Taake was senior vice president and chief merchandising officer for Babies"R"Us from 2006 to 2008. From 2004 to 2006, Taake served as vice president and general merchandise manager, home fashions, for Sears Corporation. From 1998 to 2006, she served in various senior merchandise management roles with Mervyn's (Target Corporation). Prior to 1998, Taake served in senior merchandise management and buyer roles with various national and regional retailers.
TIP: Look at everything you do through the eyes of the customer. Make sure your organization is in lock step to create seamless in-store and online experiences, supported by integrated print and digital marketing strategies.
Daniella Yacobovsky, Co-Founder, Baublebar
Daniella Yacobovsky is 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. Yacobovsky conceived BaubleBar with her co-founder, Amy Jain, during a project at business school and the two decided to turn the concept into a viable retail business. Previously, she worked in finance at American Capital Securities and at UBS Investment Bank. Yacobovsky holds a B.S. from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania and a master's degree in business administration from Harvard Business School.
TIP: Cross-channel initiatives can function as an incredible community-building tool for brands, particularly ones that launched online. We've found that women who shop with us online are SO excited to experience BaubleBar in person, and bring their friends to create a very social and lively shopping environment.