The LIM Fashion Education Foundation’s “People in the Know” series continued on February 21, with featured guest Jill Hennessy-Brown, the Executive Vice President of Stores at J. Crew.
Drawing on more than 30 years of leadership experience between Banana Republic and J. Crew, Hennessy-Brown covered a range of topics, including the importance of stores versus online shopping, as well as what she looks for when hiring new employees.
Hennessy-Brown also offered advice for working in retail management. She noted that there can be a lot of uncertainty, and with that uncertainty can come a lot of stress. Hennessy-Brown suggested that the audience maintain their focus on what is certain.
“Try not to get too hung up of what is out of your control and just try to see the clearest path of where you want to go” she said.
“The day-in, day-out experience of your customers and your associate team, having a beautiful environment, that’s what you can control. Just try to make a great impression on customers so that they will return and stay loyal.”
She also explained the importance of having both an in-store and online shopping experience, saying, “The stores are the channel of experience and online is the channel of convenience.”
“The customer goes online because they want something fast and easy. If a customer goes to a store, they want to touch it, they want to try it on, they might want to get styled,” she noted.
When asked about what she looks for in new recruits, Hennessy-Brown said she looks for people with complementary talents and diverse skillsets.
“There is always something new and exciting going on,” she said, counseling, “Be ready to work hard and grab opportunities as they come. There is something to learn anywhere you go.”