Technology has changed the way people shop today, but large stores like Neiman Marcus have ridden the wave successfully. Nancy Katz, Chief Executive Officer, has seen this change in her 30 years of being part of the company. Earlier this year, the company pulled the plug on being acquired and decided to stay independent. Certainly the new way people consume luxury goods has given the store a challenge. We were able to get the scoop on how this popular retailer balances fashion and technology.
“I’ve never been bored. I’ve always been challenged,” said Katz. A good thing she isn’t bored. She has her days filled with launching more and more email campaigns and finding ways to reach the consumer who would rather purchase the latest trendy shoes from the comfort of their laptop. For Neiman Marcus, the formula for attracting and keeping customers has remained the same. “For Neiman Marcus it comes down to two key things: beautiful products and world class sales associates,” Katz said. The challenge with online shoppers is that they miss the opportunity to connect with those notable sales associates.
“Our ecommerce business is a big business for us,” she said. “It’s one of our highest priorities. The kind of service we have become famous for over many years, how can you have a similar service experience?” asked Katz. Neiman Marcus is known for their superb, personal service inside the store with sales associates getting to know their clients well. All is not a total loss for t Neiman Marcus, as Katz said, “Our best customers like to do both.”
And Katz knows the Neiman customer very well. “At Neiman Marcus, we are focused on the most affluent consumer. That’s who we are. We are not ashamed or embarrassed by that,” she said. “Our customers can go anywhere in the world to shop, and they don’t need anything that we sell. It’s all about enticing thing with emotions and feelings and making them feel really good about shopping in our store,” Katz explained.
In order to continue the enticement online, Katz got the best on her team. She hired a technology specialist from Silicon Valley. “We needed someone with that Silicon Valley background to help us think very differently,” Katz said. “Even though I knew merchants like myself were very important, we needed someone with that technology background.” she added. That decision has continued to pay off, growing the online business exponentially while sustaining all 41 Neiman Marcus stores.
For those looking to climb the corporate ladder of fashion, Katz had one piece of advice. “I tell them that you need to learn to be flexible. That’s one of the things that has served me well in my career,” she said. As a 30 year veteran, she has worked in many roles. Some roles, she was gently pushed into and she went with it. “I thought that it would be a good stop along the way. I certainly didn’t think it would have been as long as it has been,” Katz said about her long tenure at Neiman. In addition to adding year after year of experience on her resume, Katz said, “I have an amazing collection of handbags.”
To keep up with the latest at Neiman Marcus, be sure to get on their mailing list at www.neimanmarcus.com.
There are not many businesses that can say they have been around since the 1800s especially in the fashion industry. With more and more fashion brands popping up online without a brick and mortar, it is a wonder how companies like Bloomingdale’s still attracts customers. Tony Spring, CEO of Bloomingdale’s, is very aware of the change in the fashion industry. He is also aware of the quality that his organization brings. MillionaireMatch got the scoop on how this fashion staple plans to keep the doors open.
Spring, who attended Cornell School of Hotel and Restaurant Management, always had a passion for hospitality and customer service. It was the people at Bloomingdale’s that convinced him to go into retail, and he’s been part of the family for over 25 years. “There’s no doubt that the retail business has changed,” Spring said. Technology and social media have played a huge importance to that change. But Spring said that Bloomingdale’s still holds true to their identity of being dynamic, bold and ever changing.
One of the key things the brand has incorporated is content. “Sharing great content means having great content means having great content providers,” Spring expressed. Building an audience on social media became very important in the last few years for the brand. “Shopping is a hobby. We love these customers. They’re the core of our contemporary business,” he said pointing out that young and upcoming singles are one of their top demographics. “Our obligation is to make sure we are connected with the most important retailers,” Spring said on keeping up with one their core groups.
Through the years, they have had creative partnerships with popular television shows, concerts and movies. “Bloomingdale’s wants to make sure that our marketing is integrated into everything that we do,” he said. “Create a reason for people to go shopping. Create a reason for people to go to the mall,” Spring added. The goal is to make them think of Bloomingdale’s first when shopping.
As Spring works on creating this new way of shopping for a new generation, he is also aware of a few departments that also need a update: Home and Bridal. “The industry has to figure out what is next in home retailing. I think we have been too stuck in the past. I don’t think we have changed as fast as fashion or other businesses have,” he said. “We are trying to engage the bridal industry. We’re offering couples cooking classes as a part of signing up for the bridal registry. Whether we get 8 or 10 couples any given Saturday or Sunday, it’s another opportunity to showcase us. As a result, they will pick products that they love. We know as retailers, if you love it you won’t bring it back,” Spring said.
His days may be filled with putting out fires and coming up with new sales strategies, but Spring has his priorities in order. “There’s nothing more important that I do than to connect with the youngest people in our organization, and help them grow. I help them see the possibilities in retail. I’m a poster child for this brand,” he said. He also knows that the young also has much to offer. “The benefit of mentoring today is that you can be mentored up or down,” said Spring.
To keep up with the latest trends and fashion, be sure to check out www.bloomingdales.com.
Chase McNary was just a normal guy living in Denver, until his friends encouraged him to go to a casting for a popular television show. He didn’t take it too seriously, but decided to head down to the local casting with a friend. The 6’3” medical sales rep found himself talking to the casting director who told him not to get a girlfriend before the show starts shooting.
Since season 12 of The Bachelorette, McNary has launched two fitness brands. He even had a move to Los Angeles, which he described as being a tough place to date. And he should know. After dating fitness celebrity Paige Hathaway who “stomped on his heart”, he put all his energy into LeisureLetics and Left Side Lion. MillionaireMatch was able to catch up with McNary to hear about his new ventures.
MM: What was it like being on the show and having your love life be public?
Chase: I had no expectations of the show. I didn’t watch the show, and didn’t have a big idea what I was getting myself into. It was also at a time in my life when everything was just saying ‘go ahead and do it’. Nothing was holding me back. It was a little weird. I’m somewhat of a private guy. I don’t typically have those heart to heart open questions in front of people let alone America. It took me a little while to get comfortable with the cameras, and all the people around listening to these heart to heart conversations. You can tell that as the season progressed so did my comfortability with the camera and the crew.
MM: It was rumored that you were currently dating. How do you know when it is time to take a relationship to the next level?
Chase: I’m not dating anyone right now. I was kind of dating someone. What I look for is a girl that is driven, that’s got a future, going places, that’s independent and strong. I want to be more of a supportive figure for a girl, as oppose to a girl leaning on me for everything. That’s just not attractive to me. I like a girl who is emotionally stable, and can handle the ups and downs of life. Also, get through conflict management. I think that’s the biggest part of building a successful relationship.
MM: Did you learn anything different about dating by going through such a public process?
Chase: Yeah, I learned to not be afraid to ask the tough questions to get to know someone faster. Bypass the surface conversation.
MM: How has being on The Bachelorette helped your business?
Chase: After the show, I went right back to work. I was working in the medical device sales field for about three or four months as the show finished airing. I was getting paid from social media and making appearances, so I decided to step away from that [medical device sales]. That just kind of pushed me into the entrepreneurial spirit, and that’s why I started two brands. I ultimately catered to my following which is female, 18-24 years old. I’ve learned a lot about myself, business, contracts and negotiations.
MM: What will Chase be doing two years from now?
Chase: I’m currently studying to be a personal trainer, so I’ll be building my personal brand of coaching. It’s a big passion of mine. I just got my first fitness magazine cover, Modern Fitness. That was super exciting for me. I just want to be a positive influence to as many people as possible through this platform. I’ll be focused on growing both LeisureLetics and Left Side Lion, as well as myself.
MM: Will you ever head back to television?
Chase: Yes, there has been some conversation with other shows. The fit has to be right. I’m not going to do anything that would not fit me. If the right show and opportunity comes along, I’m definitely open to it.
We can’t wait to see him back on the screen. Until then, we’ll keep up with McNary at leisureletics.com.
There is a saying that the way you start is not an indication of how you will finish. Most successful entrepreneurs come from humble beginnings. From being immigrants to being raised in single parent homes, life has offered some of the biggest lessons that help founders navigate the ups and downs of starting a business. Shan Sinha is the perfect example. Sinha is CEO and co-founder of Highfive, a video conferencing hardware and cloud service that makes it easy to have virtual meetings. MillionaireMatch got the scoop on how he went from dropping out of MIT to creating a successful startup.
Sinha who grew up in Texas right outside of Dallas, was raised in a single parent household with his mother and sister after his parents split. Like many single households, it was tough financially. They lived in a two bedroom apartment, and his mom worked multiple jobs to make ends meet. It was a dream for him to attend Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he thought he would major in physics. But something else caught his eye-computer science. It also helped that his college roommates were all working at startups. One roommate came home one day with a $20k check, compensation from his startup being bought out. “I was the oldest and felt responsible for taking care of the family,” he said. Sinha dropped out of MIT to work on his first startups.
Along with his roommate, they launched a mobile enterprise application product that unfortunately was before its time. “We had no idea what we were doing then,” said Sinha. The business failed and led Sinha back to finish school. This time clearer on what he wanted to accomplish.
“The thing that was really magical was the idea of starting from nothing, creating something, and bringing it into existence,” said Sinha on launching again. “Every big company in the world started the same with two people sitting around saying there’s an idea,” he continued. And this time, Sinha struck gold with DocVerse shortly after it went to market. Founded in 2007, DocVerse was a plug-in application for Microsoft Word, Powerpoint and Excel. Sinha was able to raise $1.3 million to get it off the ground. Google later acquired DocVerse.
As most serial entrepreneurs do, he went to the next idea- Highfive. Like many computer science majors, Sinha worked at Google and Microsoft. At both places, he worked on running enterprise apps. At Google, most meetings would happen via video. He noticed how much time was wasted to set up video conferencing for meetings, and the light bulb came on.
“Raising the initial capital wasn’t terribly challenging,” he said due to him having prior successes and coming from Google and Microsoft. They have raised over $45 million. “Highfive brings companies a way to bring easy, simple, affordable video to everyone in their organization,” he explained. It works for in-office conferences and wherever you are with a laptop. The bonus is that it only takes minutes to start your meeting. Highfive works by using a one-time purchase of hardware and monthly cloud service plan.
Sinha used the first six months of starting Highfive to get the right team, secure early investments and to get clear on the service they wanted to offer. As result, they haven’t done any major pivoting. “We had this insight for a product and we put together our initial plans in those first two to three months. Those ideas have lead to a company that’s now 70 people,” he said.
For more information on Highfive, be sure to check them out at www.highfive.com.
There have been a lot of talks over the last two years about innovation in the transportation industry. From self driving cars to purchasing a car from the comfort of your home with an app, the world wants increased safety on the roads and a faster way to get to their destination. By now you probably have heard of Hyperloop, a brewing innovation that will allow travelers to get to new cities in minutes. Rob Lloyd who is CEO at Hyperloop says this isn’t an original idea, but it is one that will change the world. MillionaireMatch got the scoop on how he plans to do that.
“It’s a fifth mode, not a replacement,” Lloyd said. Hyperloop surfaced as an idea thrown out by famous entrepreneur Elon Musk who started SpaceX and Tesla. This privately held company was first founded in 2014, and has hopes to be in full operation by 2021. Lloyd explains that this fast option to transport people and goods in a matter of minutes across cities will not replace the normal options to travel. But it could be a huge benefit to companies like Amazon and overseas brands like Alibaba. “It’s the new broadband for transportation,” Lloyd said. “There’s no schedule on Hyperloop. It’s on-demand. For high speed, we don’t stop at every destination,” he added.
Lloyd has been overseeing the testing grounds for Hyperloop which is called Devloop. The grounds are located in Las Vegas and is the playground for their engineers in addition to the 300 employees at the Los Angeles office. Lloyd has been traveling around the world giving talks about Hyperloop One always including how long it took him to travel to that destination. With Hyperloop One, Lloyd believes he can change the way we look at cities and work. “Hyperloop One redefines our concept of a city,” he said. If you could get to Los Angeles from New York in 45 minutes, that may open up your options of where you can live and work. So how does Hyperloop One actually work? “We use a motor to propel a pod through a tube very quickly. As a result, we can achieve incredible speed as in 1100 kilometers, 700 miles an hour. We have very little resistance, use less energy and go really fast,” explained Lloyd. “Nothing requires new science. It can all be built today,” he added. That may be true, but many wonder why there hasn’t been a live demo yet or if this is really going to work.
Another concern is how much does something like this cost? Well, it certainly isn’t cheap. “Our company is an individual startup funded in the traditional ways a startup is funded,” Lloyd said. To date, they have raised over $275 million with their last round in December of 2017 lead by Caspian VC Partners. Even an investment from Richard Branson is included which also switched up the name a bit to Virgin Hyperloop One, of course.
We look forward to when this is all up and running and a 14 day trip from China to Russia only takes 12 hours as Lloyd proposed. Until then, it’s airlines and planes.
For more information and to keep up, check out hyperloop-one.com.