Your resume includes posts at North Face, Timberland, Fossil and now Starbucks – all very strong, well-established brands. What challenges are brands facing these days?
Reinvention, staying true to the brands’ values and heritage, and remaining relevant to your customers, all in the midst of increased competition from larger brands to unique independent start-ups.
So how is Starbucks working to stay relevant?
We have three generations of distinct shoppers/customers that we’re trying to lure to our products and services – the Baby Boomers, Generation X and the Millennials. Brand reinvention is the key, from the products we provide to the environments we offer, as well as a differentiated operational/service model that meets the needs of all these customers.
How is food retailing different from apparel?
Food and beverage is a definite science from an operation and function perspective – apparel stores don’t need to think about sanitizers, mop sinks or grease traps.
How are they similar?
From a design perspective, the challenges are similar no matter what products the brand is offering. We all must create and maintain an exciting and inviting environment that inspires our customers and is a clear reflection of what we stand for.
Aside from the coffee, what’s your favorite part of working at Starbucks?
The opportunity to creatively represent one of the most iconic brands in the world during an unprecedented time of transformation. Those opportunities come around only once in a lifetime.
The caffeine crash at 3 p.m.
Starbucks recently won awards for store designs that emphasize a strong connection to community. Why is localization important in the retail market right now?
Our customers are our most important asset. A respectful, localized approach to store design is our way of appreciating our customers and gives us a platform to celebrate the communities, cities and cultures where we do business.
When you’re not working, what’s your favorite place to travel?
Lake Tahoe, to my family’s home there.
It’s summertime. What’s your favorite pastime?
Going anywhere barefoot and hanging out with my daughter – she still thinks I’m cool.