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Challenges Scaling Michael Kors

Former Chief Marketing Officer at Bottega Veneta, Kering

IP Interview
Published on May 11, 2020

Why is this interview interesting?

  • Risks in scaling distribution too quickly for brands
Executive Bio

Lisa Pomerantz

Former Chief Marketing Officer at Bottega Veneta, Kering

Lisa is a luxury goods marketing veteran and has worked at a handful of the world’s most valuable brands. Lisa is the former CMO Bottega Veneta, the Italian brand with €1.1bn in revenue and owned by Kering, where she has spent a total of 10 years leading marketing during two spells working at the brand. Previously, Lisa was SVP, Global Communications and Marketing at Michael Kors for 7 years after spending 6 years leading marketing for CELINE, the luxury leather goods brand owned by LVMH, in North America.

Interview Transcript

What was the biggest challenge you faced at Michael Kors, as a marketer?

I think the growth trajectory and how you could balance that with the desire to avoid this ubiquity, which started to become more evident, as Michael Kors, the company, moved from a wholesale model, to retail. This was in 2011, 2012 when they had been predominantly reliant on wholesale and they decided to start to build their own retail fleet. It happened very quickly and, before you knew it, you had stores popping up like mushrooms. They seemed to be everywhere. One could say, that’s a requirement to increase revenue and show growth and drive brand awareness, but at the same time, it’s always that balance of, how much, where and what kind. How do you do it in a way so that the customer never perceives you as being ubiquitous, over-saturating a market, seeing the product coming and going. It’s always that balance of how far can you go and how do you shift?

A good example is a Louis Vuitton. It’s a massive company, much bigger than Kors and they’ve done it perfectly. They have done a phenomenal job. They are everywhere; they are huge. But you don’t perceive that because of how the real estate is selected, the amount of product that they allow, from material to shape, and how they assort. Never on sale, no outlets, they control their wholesale distribution, through having their own shops; they own them.

There is a way to do it and I think, at Kors, the biggest challenge was managing this growth and this expectation of 30% increase, quarter over quarter. That’s not a slow burn.

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