Business changes on the fly created new challenges and experiences.
Editor’s note: This is part two of a two part series. Read Part 1 here: Personal and Business Growth In the Fashion Industry [Video]
International shopping trips provide my design team with great inspiration for new designs and trend right ideas for our customers.
Business became more challenging as the sluggish economy made retailers push for lower prices, greater IMU’s and demand margin assistance if their sales plans were not met. It became necessary to have a sales team who could be strong both on the front end as well as the back end–they could not only make the sale.
Inaddition we also had to monitor the selling reports of their business so that we could make sure that buyer’s margin requests were specifically related to our product and not asking for assistance to support unachieved sales goals for their whole department. The retailer was following a typical markdown cadence and not rushing to mark down goods.
The industry seemed to change from the exciting buzz of market week to show new, fresh, and unique product to the business of fashion. Retail was not looking to take fashion risks.
I sometimes feel that this change in business is what made my boss decide to retire from the industry.
It wasn’t the way he had started his business and it wasn’t how he enjoyed running his business. He felt that it was time to leave the industry and pass the baton over. His son who already was running a separate successful company in the apparel business, would now be heading up the company and I wasn’t sure how things would transition for me.
I think whenever any consolidation happens, there’s always the concern that there will be fall-out
The fallout occurs if there is too much redundancy in employee roles, so I hoped I would continue to be a valued employee who could bring a lot to the table in this new environment.
The switch was made and we continued to follow the same course of business without too much change. It was a relatively easy transition where I continued leading the missy design team.
The biggest change was that I now had a CMO which I was a bit wary of initially, but she allowed me the creative freedom to work as before, gave me insight to things I had not been in charge of previously, and allowed me to collaborate with her on new projects at our company.
She had the additional responsibilities of leading up all other design teams directly as well—jr’s, contemporary, kids, and men’s.
As all of this was happening, my “new” company was also very proactive in looking at other acquisitions that could provide us with upticking areas of growth like jr. knits-which could help enhance our existing knits business.
Related separates which was a totally new area and would in its own way lead the path for our entrée into creating “lifestyle” collections. These acquisitions added on new design teams that also fell under my missy team’s umbrella and my staff grew to be quite large.
My CMO collaborated with me at the initial stages to help get these new teams up and running smoothly. These types of acquisitions would be the building blocks of our new future businesses.
Tina Trevino KBL executive fashion industry challenges
All was still working as before and then…
In general, all was still working as before but with my becoming more involved in additional projects.
And then, I received a big shock, our CMO decided to resign, leaving me with the new job of design director to the entire company. When she called me to her office to break this news, I went into a panic with the fear of taking on so much responsibility.
It’s so ironic that my initial feelings during the original transition from father to son were of trepidation in having to report into a CMO and now I was actually going to miss having her as a mentor. While this was the kind of opportunity I could never have imagined landing in my lap—it was also the kind of opportunity that required a lot of commitment and open-mindedness.
I was very excited to take on this massive role, but also worried I would fail. I didn’t feel like I knew enough about all of these businesses to be successful.
Then change came in a big way
Change came in a big way for me with my new responsibilities and business once again changed as many of our retailers started to build up their own product development teams to strengthen their private label in house brands—no longer were any of our secondary and tertiary company labels important—stores wanted either their own in house brands fully developed utilizing their own internal sourcing teams—very little was going to any outside domestic importers.
They were also looking for national brands with recognition in their stores, and the idea of a celebrity endorsed line was also a strong way for stores to create new fresh brands. Retail became run more corporately by top tier management and now the growth of the internet was really beginning to erode brick and mortar store business.
Next- With all of these business changes, I also had a new list of demands and experieneces to handle….