Week 3 at XRC Labs

Jeffrey Riman: Parsons
Date: November 3, 2015 (Tuesday 7:00-8:30PM)
Track: How to Be a Great Company
Topic: Building and Managing a Productive Core Team

Description: Building a team: your company is an extension of your people. Practically: How do you attract talent? Conceptually: How do you build culture?

XRC RimanBio of Jeffrey Riman: Parsons


Jeffrey Riman is a Professor in the school of Design Strategies at Parsons. He brings over a decade of experience building and managing creative teams at corporations and agencies. His background in managing creative imaging and technology solutions for marketing, design and advertising agencies made him an  early adopter in the space. Jeff served on the customer advisory boards of Ziff Davis and Apple Computer.

Session Notes:


  • School of Design Studies: Artists understand iterative process
  • Background: Fine arts
  • Surprising yourself
  • Art galleries: Discovered art is business
  • Asked to produce something that is marketable
  • Courtesan of creativity
  • When is big big enough? And when is small the right size? Micro communities of small business. “Growth is a lust that is insatiable”
  • Generate value to your company.
  • Most teams have a shared vision and a shared belief in what they are doing

Managing Teams:

Good teams work well alone out of the presence of each other; they recognize they have the ability to bring into the team value.


Susaana Klein: Klein Perry & Nora Levinson: Caeden
Date: November 4, 2015 (7:00-8:30PM)
Track: How to be a Great Retailer
Topic: How to Sell to Retail

Description: Got a product or tech that you want to sell to be used by retailers? If you are tech startup, how do you sell into retail? What is the difference of selling to the CMO and CIO? Who has the bucks?

Bio of Susanna Klein, Klein Perry:
Susanna Klein was the Vice President of Wholesale at Oscar de la Renta, 2012 – 2014, overseeing sales for Ready to Wear and Bridal. While at the house, there was a strong focus on evening wear, trunk shows, VIP client service, and collection merchandising as Sales worked closely with the Design Studio and Production teams. Susanna participated in gown fittings, trunk shows, produced formal fashion shows, and worked closely with all POS to drive selling. She oversaw the special orders process as well as maintained the flow of the brand’s basics / season-less reorder program for knitwear and evening separates.

Before Oscar de la Renta, Susanna managed the Ready to Wear wholesale business at Chanel for the USA, 1999 – 2012, which was the largest RTW wholesale business in the global organization. In this role, she maintained the shop in shop businesses at all retailers, ran the product training program, and managed special events for private clients. She also oversaw visual merchandising, DSA (store sellers) programs, and reported in to the Paris global teams for strategy work that was executed worldwide. At Chanel, she also worked closely with the Accessories, Shoes, and Costume Jewelry categories and has utilized this exposure in consulting projects. She serviced the Chanel boutiques as a client, collaborating on product assortments, visual programs, suggestive selling strategies, and client experience.

Susanna also completed the buyers training program at Bloomingdales. She is a graduate of Cornell University with a Bachelor of Science in Textiles and Apparel Management.

Bio of Nora Levinson, Caeden:

Nora Levinson is co-founder and CEO of Caeden, a pioneer in fashionable wearable technology. Nora graduated from Stanford with a B.S. in Product Design and an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering, before launching into a career in manufacturing and product development. She moved from the Bay Area to live and work in China, developing product and strategy as an employee at Jawbone, Harman, Skullcandy, and Incase. In 2012 she launched her first consumer product company with business partner David Watkins, a brand of luxury cases and accessories called ADOPTED. ADOPTED was launched in Apple stores, and has since expanded to be sold at major retailers domestically and internationally, ranging from Barneys to Best Buy. In 2014, Nora and David founded Caeden, an innovative lifestyle brand that uses technology and design to inspire dynamic and engaged living. In 2014 Caeden launched a line of headphones, and in November 2015 will launch a connected bracelet for mind and body health.

Session Notes:

Selling Retail 101: Nora Levinson – Caeden

  • How did you get Caeden into Apple?

Had previous connections at Apple with previous products that we worked with and we know their exclusivity requirements as a small brand that we could meet that, we knew what their needs were from a business decision and were able to cater to anticipate that. Due to exclusivity you can’t stay at Apple forever if you want to grow/expand

  • Apple is all on consignment

TIP: Find a mentor inside the company that can provide insight for you, ask them to coffee

How’d you get into Barneys?

  • Co-founder shopped at Barney’s so much that he got to be good friends with the salespeople and got their feedback on the product

If you want to get broad penetration in retail you have to look at who the retailers are looking at for through leadership

ex: if x retailer is already carrying you, then they will admire that and want you too

Then they will want to know your data from those other people that you are in

Find someone who is credible first to give you a shot

Actual margin for negotiation is a really tight range for retailers

Negotiation is mainly in sales, discounts, etc.

What are ways to break into luxury market in a short time frame, like accelerator program

  • Hire someone who knows the retail landscape as a SERVICE who knows the buyers
  • Luxury goods have limited space  -what are you going to bring that is different than anyone else?
  • Know people who can get you in touch with retailer, know what they are selling and what you are up against
  • Talk to you consumers and know what they think about the party
  • Brands don’t always have the budget

How do you influence the retailer mindset to try something new?

  • most buyers want to see 3 collections before they commit to buying (fall, resort and spring)
  • trunk shows, focus groups, press day, retailer open house, etc.  – get feedback!

Stick with what you set out to do, but be adaptable to the way that it is perceived by the customer and what the retailers have a need for. Things that you think are going to be great may not always be perceived that way from your customers.

  • Do a credit check on the store before you sell to make sure you will get paid

Service companies:

  • How do retailers evaluate a retailer’s technology? Their internal strategy and budget?

Retailers specific departments put together a business case for the technology they are wanting

Talk to salespeople before the buyers

Better to ask forgiveness not permission

Natalia – asking specific questions about product knowledge, scaling that to boutiques and department stores

  • Be in the stores, be present, follow up with your brand knowledge, etc.

How do you justify brand equity?

Look at your product compared to others

Spend money on marketing if you are asking people to spend a significant amount of money on your product…brand building

People have products, they want to get into retail – what’s the last thing you can say?

  • Working with professionals, do your homework, make sure you understand their competitors, challenges, how is their business, be as prepared as possible for meetings, show how you can add value to them
  • Try and build things gradually and learn at each step of the way before you expand
  • if something isn’t working, don’t put all your eggs in that basket
  • let yourself take the time to build and start with someone small


Paul Schotmiller and Michele Orndorff, Kurt Salmon
Date: November 5, 2015 (7:00-8:30PM)
Track: How to be a Great Brand/CPG
Topic: Customer Segmentation

Description: Next generation customer insights in an hyper connected world. How retailers view thieir customers? What brands are doing this well? And why?

Paul Schottmiller and Michele Orndorff at Kurt Salmon bring their expertise in digital technologies and analytics in the retail and consumer products industry to teach a class on next generation customer insights in a hyper connected world. In this class, you will learn how retailers view their customers and which brands are doing this well

Session Notes:

Next Generation Consumer Insights in a Hyper-connected World

Paul Schotmiller & Michele Orndorff

  • There’s a lot of things happening in IoT – billions
  • There’s a lot of data
  • Use consumer behavior to drive business results

Consumer insights will be a critical element in achieving competitive advantage in an omnichannel world

o   this consumer insight will change competitive landscape
o   will be single greatest force for change

Segmentation is not new, the level of precision in what we know and how we use it is new

  1. customer profiling
  2. RFM is a widely used framework to help understand customer segments and inform interaction strategies
  •       recency
  •       frequency
  •       monetization
  1. Customer lifetime value
  2. Customer life cycle model
  •    example: may be best to spend your dollars on the medium lifetime person to move them to a lifetime value

Examples of companies that are doing consumer segmentation well:

  •       macys
  •       walmart
  •       nordstrom
  •       starbucks
  •       sephora
  • If you have a business that has figured out seamless personalized omnichannel transactions then you have figured out a business that knows a lot about their customers

Brands that are excelling in loyalty:

  •       Coca cola
  •       Nike
  •       REI
  •       Walgreens

If you use your loyalty card, you have opted in and they will use that data/value exchange

Other industries to watch:

  •       transportation and hospitality
  •       financial services
  •       gaming
  •       airlines have a great loyalty programs


  •       mining consumers digital exhaust
  •       decoding social DN
  •       richer physical behavioral analytics
  •       monetizing you
  •       increasing predictive accuracy
  • We have more data than ever before
  • focus on consumer value of the journey and what you’re going to do with it – physical and digital channels

Always start with “what is the real value of this consumer?”

What do you think that you know is true about most consumers?

What drives people to go to different venues?

What is consumer purchase process in 5 years from now?

  • Theme across all channels is the experience!
  • Marketers will be a lot closer to a true 1-1 approach to marketing

There is power in human interaction.

[Reprinted with permission from XRC Labs]