J.Crew CEO Mickey Drexler started his career as a Bloomingdale's buyer some 40 years ago. Today at WWD's CEO Summit, the "man who dressed America" shared some pretty valuable life lessons. His caveat? "Most of what I say relates to the fashion retail business, most of what I say does not pertain to startup business."
Still, we say you'll get something out of his talk, no matter what you're currently working on.
J.Crew CEO Mickey Drexler is working with two investment firms to take the company private, according to the New York Times' blog DealBook.
This means that if the deal does indeed go through, J.Crew will be removed from the stock market and all public shareholders will be bought out.
Generally, with buyouts like this, the idea is to fix the business out of public scrutiny. And eventually either sell it to someone else or take it public again.
Why might J.Crew want to do this if it's thought as the leading specialty retailer in the US, if not the world? We shop there, you shop there--who doesn't think it's a brilliant store?
Well, despite a transformation in recent years, thanks to Drexler and protege Jenna Lyons, sales have been slower in 2010, dropping for the last two fiscal quarters. Separately, we've heard from sources within the company that while men's sales have continued to rise at a rapid pace, women's have been stunted as of late.
What does this mean for your shopping experience? Probably not much.
"I think the key to success is vision that adjusts on the way, but doesn’t at all falter. It's about not compromising and following your gut to a certain degree, based on knowledge, instinct, etc. And not listing to the naysayers.... You develop strength through adversity. You have to keep moving towards your goal through huge obstacles. It’s not easy. Especially a business like this where there are so many moving parts. You have to build a good team and know who’s good and not good and you have to keep raising the bar on your life. For me it’s always, 'I have to get up and do a little better today and go to work to learn.'" Another reason we idolize Mickey Drexler, via Refinery29.
J.Crew president and creative director Jenna Lyons might be under attack by the right wing nut jobs at Fox for letting her son paint his toes pink, but her boss Mickey Drexler thinks she could be the right person to succeed him when he steps down.
J. Crew Chairman and CEO Mickey Drexler gave his first interview since taking J. Crew private to Bloomberg's For the Record program, hosted by Margaret Brennan. In it, Drexler dishes on everything from the decision to take J.Crew private, expanding internationally, and Jenna Lyons. The full interview airs this weekend but here are the highlights, courtesy Bloombergy TV's In Business with Margaret Brennan:
On Jenna Lyons as his possible successor, and his succession plan:
Jenna Lyons was named president of J.Crew yesterday. The news arrives after several consecutive raises and bonuses for the creative director. Want to get where Jenna is someday? Here are five key components of her success.
1. A Great Mentor
What can we say? Mickey Drexler is a retailing genius. He recognized Jenna's talent in 2003 and helped her to design not only for her customer, but herself. The reason J.Crew works so well is because the designers actually wear and like the clothes that they design. Not so with plenty of other high street brands.
2. Consistency. Jenna's been working at J.Crew since the early nineties, and while we're sure she's had plenty of offers to work for other designers and retailers, she's stuck around, slowly moving up the ranks. Now, I'm not advocating sticking with a dead-end job, but it does feel like people tend to hop scotch from company-to-company without really considering the consequences these days. In the past, my mentors have said to me, "Don't leave a job until you've stopped learning." Just think how different high street fashion would be if Jenna had left J.Crew four or five years out of school.