If you had to choose one word or phrase to describe STORY, what would it be?
How do you define success for your enterprise?
What is the one thing you wish you knew before you opened STORY?
How challenging it is for me personally to hire and manage people
What is the one thing you never want to hear (or, most want to hear) from a customer/user/client?
I believe that all commentary is helpful. I am sure I could list a handful of negative comments and, while I wouldn’t want to hear them, they are part of being in business and will shape our future experiences.
As for what I most want to hear, there are a range of things. Some folks have compared us to Colette and, while I think we are different, it is a tremendous honor to hear the suggestion of that. I would say my favorite thing is learning that customers have been to multiple STORY’s and have different favorites, that there isn’t one runaway issue we got right but that each appeals to different people and they still come to see the next one.
What compan[y]ies (other than your own) are you inspired by, and why?
Quirky and Birchbox are examples of engaging, entertaining and smart business models that are disruptive while being relevant. They both represent business models that have equally compelling and valuable propositions for brands and consumers; they solve a need on the B2B level and provide compelling solutions in the B2C marketplace.
Quirky allows anyone to have the potential to become an inventor and entrepreneur through the submission of ideas and sharing of information with their community; in turn, this process fuels the development of innovative Quirky merchandise for retailers and themselves to sell direct (and the inventor makes money on every sale too!).
Birchbox breaks through the noise of sampling beauty products by allowing a targeted dialogue for prestige brands with beauty consumers. Their subscription model allows customers an opportunity to discover and sample a range of products in a fun and relevant way before they buy.
I also think Alinea in Chicago is impressive in what they are doing bringing innovation to the dining experience.
Where do you see the retail industry headed in the next five years?
I think more digital brands and online businesses will have offline, real life presence and more traditional retailers will integrate digital components to further enhance their retail experiences.
I am not just talking about “kiosks” but value-add technologies like Perch Interactive. In addition, I think we will start seeing coffee shops and other experiences integrated into traditional shopping experiences. As time is the ultimate luxury, and we have so many things fighting for our time, it will be more challenging for retailers to maintain customer and brand loyalty - integrating content in the form of digital experiences and community in the form of other services will be vital.