Panels

Panel Topics:

#1: From the Ground Up: Building a Successful Retail Venture

This panel will explore how individuals from a diversity of backgrounds have built successful retail or luxury businesses. Each of the panelists brings a unique story of a journey filled with inspiration, frustration, and innumerable lessons on how to build a business in the fashion and retail spaces. They will discuss a range of topics including defining a brand, raising financing, creating a culture, establishing hiring practices, gaining access to retail channels, and developing manufacturing capabilities.

Moderator: Professor Walter Salmon, Harvard Business School

Panelists:
Eva Jeanbart-Lorenzotti, Founder and CEO, Vivre.com  (www.vivre.com)
Dee Murthy, Co-founder and CEO, Five Four Clothing (www.fivefourclothing.com)
Suzanne Obershain, Principal, Castanea Partners (invested in Ippolita in 2007) (www.castaneapartners.com)
Lauren Sharfman, CEO, Ippolita / Seno Jewelry LLC (www.ippolita.com)

#2: E-commerce: Creating Compelling Online Shopping Experiences

This panel will discuss considerations for managing multiple distribution channels and the increasing importance of e-commerce over other sales strategies. Panelists represent companies that sell through a range of channels, from traditional wholesale, to retail specialty stores, catalogs, and exclusively online. They will discuss the reasons behind different distribution strategies, how to manage a brand across sales channels, and the current and future trends surrounding the e-commerce shopping experience.This panel will discuss approaches to capturing the growing online retail shopping market. Panelists represent a variety of e-commerce models, including high-end fashion, shoes, brand-name discount, and event-based e-commerce. They will discuss business considerations relevant to each of their companies–from winning consumers and optimizing the online shopping experience, to managing inventory and fulfilling orders.

Moderator: Professor Zeynep Ton, Harvard Business School

Panelists:
Darcy Penick, Retail Team Leader, Shopbop (www.shopbop.com)
Maria Renz, Vice President, Endless (www.endless.com)
Rachel Shechtman, Founder, Cube Ventures (www.cubeventures.com)
Mark Weinberg, SVP Strategic Planning, Retail Convergence, Inc. (http://www.retail-convergence.com )

#3: Sustainability and Charity Trends in Retail & Apparel

According to EarthPledge, “Fashion uses more water than any industry other than agriculture. At least 8,000 chemicals are used to turn raw materials into textiles and 25% of the world’s pesticides are used to grow non-organic cotton.” Moreover, many retail and apparel companies employ labor practices that are sometimes morally questionable. This panel will discuss the emergence of green and fair-trade products within apparel and luxury goods. Pioneers in this niche market will discuss their unique business models, changing consumer preferences and trends, difficulties working in green and fair-trade businesses, and the role that retail and apparel companies should play in global issues over the next decade.

Moderator: Professor Michael Toffel, Harvard Business School

Panelists:
Rajesh Anandan, Vice President of Corporate and Foundation Partnerships for the U.S. Fund for UNICEF (www.unicef.org)
Howard Brown, Founder and President, Stewart + Brown (www.stewartbrown.com)
Lauren Bush, Founder and CEO, Lauren Pierce and FEED Projects (www.feedprojects.org www.laurenpierce.com )
Sarah Endline, Founder and CEO, SweetRiot (www.sweetriot.com)
Melissa Riggs, Director of Philanthropy and Communications, Nest (www.buildanest.com)

#4: Luxury for the Masses: From Strategic Partnerships to Weekend Rentals

Flash sales bring high-end goods to the masses at deeply discounted prices. Luxury designers partner with mass market retailers to bring exclusive designs in everyday fabrics. Emerging entrepreneurs rent one of a kind apparel and accessories to trendy women through weekend rentals. This is the changing face of luxury and the trend towards fashion… at any (low) price. Panelists from a variety of companies and backgrounds will speak to the different ways in which designers and retailers bring high-fashion at affordable prices and how this trend has changed since the economic crisis.

Moderator: Professor Janice Hammond, Harvard Business School

Panelists:
Robert Deeming, Director of Strategic Projects, Gilt Groupe  (www.gilt.com)
Daria Burke, Head of Customer Experience, Rent the Runway (www.renttherunway.com)
Adrian Gill, Vice President of the International Footwear Division, Puma (www.puma.com)
Christian Siriano, Designer, Project Runway Winner  (www.christianvsiriano.com)
LuAnn Via, CEO, Payless Shoes (www.payless.com)