Cover Story: The Top Women in Omnichannel Retail
Welcome to Retail Online Integration's fourth annual list of the leading female executives in the omnichannel retail industry. The women chosen for this list hold top-level positions within omnichannel retail organizations, and are being recognized for their position and scope of responsibility, achievements within their own company, and their involvement within the retail industry. In addition to learning about the career paths of these top retail executives, each woman has provided her top tip for omnichannel retail success in 2014.
Kyle Andrew, Senior Vice President, Global Brand Director, Kate Spade Saturday
Kyle Andrew brings over 25 years of experience in brand development to the Kate Spade Saturday team. With a strong background in advertising, marketing and fashion, Kyle served as vice president of brand communications at Gap for six years, and later as head of marketing at Kenneth Cole. Kyle joined kate spade new york in 2008 as senior vice president of marketing, overseeing all consumer touchpoints for the brand on a global scale, including advertising, web design, social media and public relations. In January 2012, Kyle spearheaded the launch of Kate Spade Saturday, a younger, more casual sister brand to kate spade new york, in a new role as senior vice president, global brand director. Overseeing all aspects of the business, Kyle is responsible for top-level strategy and brand positioning for Kate Spade Saturday.
TIP: Put the customer first. Think about it from her perspective - she doesn't care what channel she's shopping in, she just wants it to be easy. She's in a hurry, she has a lot of options and she wants instant gratification. How can we create an experience that satisfies all her needs and at the same time surprises her? When you start with the customer instead of thinking about the channel, then you can create a seamless omnichannel customer experience.
Barbara Bradley Baekgaard,
Co-Founder and CCO, Vera Bradley
Barbara Bradley Baekgaard is the co-founder and chief creative officer at Vera Bradley; she also serves on the company's board of directors. Baekgaard's design and brand vision drives the development of all Vera Bradley-branded products. She's received numerous awards, including the Alumna of Achievement Award from Marymount College, the Country Living Entrepreneur Award, the IUPUI Spirit of Philanthropy Award, and the Virginia Jenckes Award for outstanding contributions in the field of business.
TIP: Shop through your customers' eyes. Visit and shop through all channels of your business often and take note of what went well and what needs improvement. Stay focused on your customer, as she's the No. 1 priority!
Julie Bornstein , Chief Marketing and Digital
At Sephora, Julie oversees all direct and marketing programs, including Sephora.com, the Beauty Insider loyalty program, in-store digital, mobile, social media, and brand and store marketing. In the past five years, Sephora has established itself as an innovator and leader in digital marketing, doubling the size of its dot-com business through its world-class website, becoming a major player in social media (5.6 million likes on Facebook and 1.24 million Twitter followers) and substantially growing Beauty Insider, among other accomplishments that have made Sephora a leading prestige beauty site online.
TIP: Align your whole organization with proper structure, incentives and domain expertise in the right places. Instill an understanding that it's one eco-system working together that leads to growth in all channels.
Ashley Bryan , Chief Marketing Officer, Moda Operandi
As chief marketing officer of Moda Operandi, Ashley is responsible for the company's marketing and communications, and was integral to Moda Operandi's launch, fundraising, brand building and strategic partnerships. Previously, she was head of marketing and sales at Net-A-Porter, as well as vice president of marketing at BCBGMAXAZRIA. In 2000, Ashley founded 501(c)(3) Safety Organization for Schools (since acquired by AnComm and Reliant), a leading provider of notifications solutions for educational institutions, which have been implemented at thousands of school districts in all 50 states. She has a BA in Economics from Occidental College and a MBA from UC Berkeley.
TIP: The key to success for omnichannel retail is having a comprehensive data warehouse and building a strong, data-driven CRM team to analyze customer information. Moda Operandi engages with elite clients worldwide through our website, app and directly via our stylist team. At the intersection of high tech and high touch, our data is paramount to how we serve clients.
Christina Callas , Senior Vice President of
E-Commerce and Digital Marketing, Hudson's Bay Company (HBC)
Christina Callas is the senior vice president of e-commerce for the HBC Department Store Group, where she manages the company's online businesses. In 2008, Christina relaunched Lord & Taylor's website. Since that time she's driven significant top- and bottom-line growth by revamping all aspects of Lord & Taylor's business, including site operations, marketing and fulfillment. In 2010, Christina relaunched thebay.com, rebuilding the business from the ground up. In addition to launching the e- commerce site, Christina developed and grew HBC's digital marketing programs. Prior to Lord & Taylor, Christina was the vice president of e- commerce for Aéropostale, a national teen retailer. Since its inception in May 2005, aeropostale.com has successfully catered to the growing and demanding teen market. As the vice president of e-commerce, Christina oversaw triple-digit growth rates two years in a row. Christina earned a MBA in General Management from Columbia Business School and a BA in Economics from Denison University. Prior to attending business school, Christina spent 10 years in Boston managing various fiduciary support functions for Bank of America's private wealth management group.
TIP: Think like the customer!