Profile of Success: Fun in the Sun
This month, Margaret Moraskie, vice president of e-commerce for women’s apparel cataloger Boston Proper, discusses her life in the catalog, retail and online trades.
Catalog Success: How did you get started in the business?
Margaret Moraskie: I started in retail with Federated Department Stores [parent company of Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s] out of college in its executive training program. I worked in the stores, then was an assistant buyer for Stern’s in the Northeast. I then moved to Florida and was hired [by Boston Proper] to be an assistant buyer for Mark, Fore & Strike Men’s at the retail level. That was about 14 years ago, and I moved to the catalog side not long thereafter. I was an assistant buyer for ladies sportswear before moving into inventory control, and I joined the e-commerce team in ’99. I’ve had a lot of different roles here.
CS: What do you enjoy most about the catalog/multichannel business?
MM: I love that in the catalog, and especially the Internet, business, you put an offer out there and you get immediate gratification — you see what’s selling. I could send an e-mail today and see what’s selling tomorrow, and then change the store around. You can see the shifts that you make and get imme-
CS: What do you enjoy least about the catalog/multichannel business?
MM: I don’t think there’s anything I don’t enjoy. There are things I sometimes find challenging and frustrating, though. You put something up and maybe you rushed it, and it’s not quite right. You can turn too quickly. Or sometimes not being able to get to data across all channels really quickly. Sometimes I don’t like looking at the models in their bathing suits. You have to have a strong sense of self surrounded by beautiful women day in, day out.
CS: What’s been your most difficult challenge, and how did you overcome it?
MM: As a company, one of the hardest decisions for the senior management team was to divest the other brands. Mark, Fore & Strike was a family brand, so to make that decision and get behind the winning horse was difficult. It didn’t take very long for sales to continue to skyrocket and reap the benefits of those rewards, however. That was a very difficult personal decision, too. I started with Mark, Fore, and there were a lot of us here that grew up with it.
With the Internet, we were kind of like the stepchild in the beginning. Everyone was like, “What’s going on? You’re taking our business!”
Or we were like the kid whose parents went away for the weekend. We couldn’t do just about anything, but we were running under the radar for a long time because it wasn’t a huge percentage of sales. When sales started to pick up very quickly, all of a sudden your parents have come home from vacation and they want to see what you’re doing and how you’re doing it. We’d always operated effectively and efficiently, but it was a challenge to be ignored. And then it was a challenge to have a spotlight on the division, too.
To read or listen to the full interview, click on Profile of Success (Complete Interview): A Chat With Margaret Moraskie, under Related Content at right.
Joe Keenan is the executive editor of Total Retail. Joe has more than 10 years experience covering the retail industry, and enjoys profiling innovative companies and people in the space.