In this roundtable discussion, apparel and retail leaders emphasis the importance of investing in digital leadership. The 2012 Winter Session of the WWD Digital Forum delves into the new marketing strategies needed to succeed in today’s apparel, beauty and retail businesses—from mobile technology to social-media marketing to e-commerce opportunities. Hosted by WWD editors, the event will feature actionable information, interactive discussions, and opportunities to network with industry peers, and will provide you with the knowledge and tools required to compete in today's tech-driven marketing landscape."
In the early 1980's, Les Berglass started berglass+associates, an executive search firm focused on the wholesale side of the fashion business. Quickly, he recognized that distribution channels were changing. Mr. Berglass saw the walls between wholesale and retail dissolving. Vertical specialty retailers, such as Victoria's Secret, William Sonoma, and Abercrombie & Fitch, were on their way to revolutionizing the way consumers
buy product. Then, in the 90's, he recognized yet another change - the seeds of the digital world being
Understanding that this evolving retail landscape would require a new breed of leadership, Mr. Berglass directed the firm's energy towards finding executives who flourish in an environment of constant change - executives sensitive to the benefits of multichannel distribution, new technology, verticalization, globalization,
and the power of brand. Mr. Berglass knew that contemporary talent would be in short supply, and dedicated his company to filling that void. Under his leadership, berglass+associates has become an effective and wellrespected search firm in the digital retail space â€“ specializing in both pure-play online retailers and traditional brick-and-mortar retailers that are building their online businesses.
Paul Blum was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Kenneth Cole Productions in June 2011.
Mr. Blum is responsible for leading the expansion of Kenneth Cole Productions to a global multichannel social media lifestyle brand. He brings more than 25 years of experience in footwear, accessories, apparel, wholesaling, and retailing to the position.
He most recently held the position of Chief Executive Officer at luxury jewelry company David Yurman Inc. Under Mr. Blum's leadership, the David Yurman business grew significantly and developed into an international luxury brand with strategic retail expansion into Asia and Europe. Also during his tenure, the company diversified its marketing investment with the launch of groundbreaking digital and social media campaigns, and a highly successful e-commerce platform.
Prior to that, Mr. Blum spent 15 years at Kenneth Cole, a time when the company saw some of its largest growth. He served as Executive Vice President before being named President and Chief Operating Officer in 1994.
Lisa Lockwood is News Director for WWD at Fairchild Fashion Media.
As Chief Executive Officer of Bluefly Inc., Melissa Payner has shifted the company from an emerging e-tailer into a cultural brand. She joined the company in 2003 and within the first few months reinvigorated Bluefly with a merchandising strategy built on offering carefully edited designer clothing and accessories that were inseason, on-trend and at incredible values. Over the next three seasons, she implemented her strategy,
culminating in a 2005 advertising and marketing campaign that, despite minimal resources, captured national attention and cemented Bluefly's broadening audience base.
Bluefly is now part of the cultural lexicon, having been referenced everywhere from the CW's cult-hit Gossip Girl to Oscar Winner Diablo Cody's latest film, Young Adult. For three seasons, the "Bluefly.com Accessory Wall" was featured on the Emmy-nominated fashion reality contest Project Runway. Ms. Payner appeared on an episode of Tyra Banks' popular reality series America's Next Top Model; and in 2011, Bluefly's original Closet Confessions series won the Fashion 2.0 Award for best online video.
Last year, Bluefly expanded its portfolio with Belle & Clive, a members-only shopping destination that presents curated selections of important brands via limited-time sale events, and Eyefly, an online portal for fashionable prescription eyeglasses starting at $99.
Ms. Payner began her career at I. Magnin in San Francisco and went on to hold key positions at Ann Taylor, the Pastille division of Neiman Marcus, Henri Bendel and Chicos FAS, where she served as President. In 1997, she joined Spiegel Catalog and after three years was named Chief Executive Officer of Spiegel Catalog.
Ms. Payner graduated with a B.S. in fashion merchandising from Arizona State University.
Les Berglass, CEO and Chairman of berglass+associates, believes that digital branding has "created a new sport." He argues that it's not enough to recruit a top player from an existing digital space, and that brands require a great all-around "athlete" who embraces change.