How To Incite A Creative Revolution in Your Company

How To Incite A Creative Revolution in Your Company

Wanna Start an Innovation Revolution? How to Think and Work Differently to Innovate

Playing it safe and staying with the status quo seems like the thing to do to stay in business. While you might stay in business, your company won't grow much. The only way a business can keep growing is to be innovative.

The Simple Guide To Developing Company Culture

The Simple Guide To Developing Company Culture

If you ask Marcus Lemonis the secret to a great business, he will tell you it is people, products and process. In this investors opinion you cannot have deficiencies in any of the three areas and still build a successful business. It is one of these pillars we will be talking about today, people and more to the point the culture of your company.

Attract Top Executives To Work For Your Company

Attract Top Executives To Work For Your Company

Current Tools Available to Sourcing Executives in the Fashion Industry

It isn’t always easy to find an executive in the fashion industry. Most of the top tier talent aren’t filling out applications on competitor websites trying to find a new job. With that in mind, you need to be smart about how you go about locating the best talent and hire them for your company.

Drive In Top Talent With This One Tip

Drive In Top Talent With This One Tip

If you’re like me, you’ve found yourself wondering why don’t companies put more effort into showcasing their culture. Companies spend a fortune marketing their products to customers to entice them to purchase it. Why wouldn’t they spend a fraction of the same funds to entice top tier talent to work for their company?

Expand Your Market With This Brand Strategy Guide

Expanding Beyond the Core

Can you expand beyond your core customer or client base successfully? There is a school of thought that says this is at best a risky proposition and at worst a dirty one, after all you could go out on a limb to reach a new target and totally miss the mark while simultaneously alienating the people you already have. So is it possible, or perhaps the better question is, should you even try? The answer is yes and yes, but you must be smart about the process and understanding.


Who is your core? Well, in many cases a brand is started by core members. These are the people who are passionate about the product, early to adopt the process or product and are very knowledgeable as well.  You may find your core audience is also very protective and would prefer to keep the product all to themselves, rather than see it spread out to the masses. These are all things you must be aware of and sensitive to if you are going to reach out beyond the core, because expansion does not mean abandonment.

Identify Brand Truth

As you begin looking at ways to expand beyond your core, you want to start by understanding your brand truth. What is brand truth? Discovering your brand truth is a simple process of asking a few basic questions about the business. For example:

  • What is your brand, and what is it not? Understanding this provides you a good idea of not only where your brand is but the extent of where it can go. For example, Victoria’s Secret is a brand associated with women’s lingerie, but not denim jeans. If you want sexy lingerie you will go to Victoria’s Secret but if you want quality denim you might look elsewhere.
  • What is the expertise of your brand? Keeping with the Victoria’s Secret example, they are experts in bras and panties, but will never be the leader in outdoor apparel.
  • What is your brands iconic status? In other words, what does your brand stand for? Victoria’s Secret is known for women’s sexy underwear, not organic cotton.

Expanding Upon Brand Truth

Discussing the above points may tend to paint the picture of locking a brand into a narrow market, but that is really not the case. By understanding your brand truth, you can get a more concrete map for future and successful growth. It is important to also have a good understanding of how your brand is shaped.

  • Product – what you produce
  • Personality – how you produce
  • Point of View – why you produce

Keeping these three things closely aligned in order to achieve success.

Each company will have to determine what makes sense for expansion. One example of this is the supplier who offered cotton fabrics from India to major fashion houses. They soon expanded into fabrics created of coconut and other items. They attempted to move into lace and embellishments but found that those markets and the manufacturing was too complex, and was not in their area of expertise so they exited that market rapidly.

Defending the Soul of the Brand

Once you have determined your brand and begun to expand, you will find yourself in the position of defending the soul of the brand. People will constantly be coming in and out of your organization and you will need to boil your brand down to a phrase or collection of phrases that will instantly define and communicate your brand. Take the rallying cry of Nike  “Just Do It” is a simple idea that guides every step of the process.

Final Thoughts

Can you grow your brand beyond the core without abandoning the soul of your company? Of course, but you must first understand your brand completely. Simplify your brand to the point that it is fantastically easy to defend and remember that No is your best friend. Say no to anything that is not in line with the brand. Simplicity also makes it easier to say yes!


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Photo: Graber Agency

Nothing Beats a Good Fit

Nothing beats a good fit. It just feels right. When placed properly, people thrive, impacting their team, company and the industry as a whole. Sound lofty? The power of a proper fit illustrates why a candidate thrives in one environment and struggles in another. The fit is a good match for a company’s culture, team dynamics, candidate’s personality, purpose, skills and natural abilities. A successful placement is about more than matching a resume to a job description. I acknowledge the invaluable chemistry between candidate, company and team. Finding talent is the easy part, something that every recruiter should be able to identify. Most of my time is spent focusing on fit.

When partnering with HR professionals and hiring managers I help them understand what they need and want from their future team member, leader and employee. This is not always easy. Often times we have one of two views; a highly conceptual notion of who this person is and how they will add value to the company or a detailed list of skills and qualifications. Neither is wrong but both are incomplete. In addition to a list of qualifications and desired skills I believe in understanding a brand’s heritage, company culture, team dynamics, consumer, and aesthetic. Finding the fit all begins with understanding and discernment. Part of my job is to help HR and hiring managers develop a comprehensive picture of the person that will be most successful in their given role and ultimately contribute to the success of the company.

As an industry leader, executive, or CEO what are your goals and ambitions for your company or brand? I’m guessing you have a list of outcome focused goals. What about human capital? Who in your company is thriving and who is struggling? Who is missing? As we begin to look at our list of goals the answers are found in the people, the employees. What could your company accomplish if each team member was maximizing their potential and thriving?

Why does the Fit exist? I believe that when people are in the right environment (for them) they will naturally impact their team members, company and the industry at large in a positive way. They will be loyal, content and they will thrive.

I help hiring managers and human resource professionals take a holistic approach to determining who they need to attract, both qualitative and quantitative aspects. I encourage candidates to develop a sense of self awareness, know their purpose, strengths and to actively pursue personal growth.

Next week we’ll talk about how to get there. How do I find the Fit?

In the meantime, here are some questions to get you thinking…

What are your goals and ambitions for your company / brand? What types of people do you need to attract to your company to be more successful? How will your company’s human capitol impact the industry?

What It’s Like On The Inside

2006_devil_wears_prada_wallpaper_001-1024x740 If there’s a single piece of wisdom I can offer candidates consistent across every job opportunity it’s this: Once you meet the team in person you’ll know in your gut whether or not it’s a good fit. I can tell you all day long about how great the company culture is, the people, the job.

But at the end of the day there’s just something about visiting onsite when you instinctively have a sense for this is right or this is wrong. How well organized was the interview loop? Were you left sitting alone for an extended period of time with no one around wondering what the hell was about to happen next?

Did you meet with potential co-workers, your future boss, HR and Senior Executives? Did they remember to feed you or at least give you a glass of water? How was the tour? Were people smiling, laughing, or exhibiting a zombie like expression meandering the halls. You know the look. If they could only warn you they would.

I’ve said phone interviews are like first dates. If a phone interview is a first date then an in person interview is the equivalent to meeting the parents. After spending all day meeting extended family (coworkers) you’ll know whether or not you can see yourself making a more serious commitment; even accepting a future proposal (offer). Can you live with these people?

As you know, we’re a little obsessed with fit. We define fit as a good match for a company’s culture, team dynamics, candidate’s personality, purpose, skills and natural abilities. We spend a lot of time getting to know the real, authentic you, understand your skill set, what drives and inspires you. Relationships and regular conversations with HR and hiring managers are vital to understanding the needs of the company, their culture and the type of candidates who thrive within their way of life. But again, there’s just something about meeting in person that really brings everything to life. You get an inside look (cue foreshadowing) at what it’s really like to live and breathe their culture.

That’s why we’ve decided to launch a new series, The Inside Look. It’s not that this is really a new practices, we’ve been meeting with our clients for years. We just thought you might like to be in the know as well. Each piece will feature one of our clients. We’ll include physical space and layout, company vibe, what they’re wearing and insights into geographic location. Think mini travel diary. Let’s face it, location is huge. Sorry, we can’t include proprietary information. Obviously. But if you want to know what it’s really like inside, we’ve got you covered.

What kind of matchmaker would I be if I didn’t meet the other half?

Thank You

Thank-you-Blog-Photo-e1398364405571 Remember when your mother always reminded you to say thank you? “What do you say?” she prompted. While most are quick to offer the verbal gratitude for even the smallest gestures a proper thank you in professional settings have become confusing. When do you send a thank you? Is email appropriate or do I need to send a handwritten note? What should I say?

While there are hundreds of blogs that will offer up free advice on how to navigate the thank you landscape I propose that you not only consider the how but the equally important why. First the basics.

Phone Interview

  • An email thank you is appropriate. If you don’t have their email address send it to the person who arranged the interview.
  • Thank them for their time.
  • Outline the top 2-3 reasons why you are interested in the job. You can weave in how your qualifications are a strong match for the role but make sure to highlight something about the company and include a personal touch. It’s likely that the person with whom you interviewed would be your manager. What did you like about them. Make it about more about them and less about you.
  • Keep it short and to the point. Do you like reading novels in email format? The longer the note the less likely someone will actually read it.

In-person Interview

Send a hand written note. I know, you’re probably already groaning. The hand written thank you is actually easier than the email and the response is tenfold. No more than 2-3 sentences including the obvious thanks for spending their time with you. Here’s where you can get more creative and personal. What kind of personal connection do you have to the brand or product? What did you love about the culture? Note something memorable from your visit. Avoid reiterating how perfect you are for the job. That part ended when you left the building.

Why go to all this trouble?

Especially considering many companies do not properly disposition candidates, engaging in the no-response trend. Thank you notes are meaningful and always well received. I love when I open my mailbox and find a hand written addressed envelope. It makes me feel appreciated and I almost never forget the candidates and clients who send them. For these people I would happily go the extra mile. Hiring managers are no different. This industry is about relationships. You never know where someone might end up. Wouldn’t you rather leave a lasting favorable impression? Even if you don’t get the job, a thank you note will set you apart from the impersonal hiring process that our culture has sunken into. Isn’t it the right thing to do?


Photo Credit: All Things Beautiful

Consider Icebreaker. They Get It.


Last Wednesday I attended the Athletic Outdoor Young Professionals kick-off event, held at the trendy Urban Studio. The room was packed, as in, can’t get through the crowd packed. I was pleased to see so many from people out in support of the local industry. Attendance was so great that AOYP founder and committee chair, Taylor Hinshaw noted that next time, they plan to find a larger venue. “We want you to know that it’s okay for someone from Nike to have a beer with someone from adi (adidas),” Hinshaw encouraged. In the spirit of community, Keynote speaker, Jeremy Moon co-founder and President of Icebreaker shared candid stories of humble beginnings, challenges and his vision for the brand. Jeremy Moon’s Path to Portland is an inspiring story, one that many entrepreneurs can relate to on one level or another. Moon’s story was motivating and informative, I even found myself making notes for my own business, but the real stand out of the evening was Rob Fyfe, Icebreaker Chairman. As a retained search recruiter I’ve gotten to know dozens of industry leaders at this level and understand the company cultures from which they lead. I can tell you that the majority does not focus on fit; seeking talent that’s a good match for a company’s culture, team dynamics, candidate’s personality, purpose, skills and natural abilities. But that’s just what Fyfe believes. He shared that at Icebreaker, they look for people who are a good fit for their brand, lifestyle and culture. Someone who is going to get along well with the team. He emphasized the importance of the people in their company. He’s right, Nothing Beat’s A Good Fit. When placed properly, people thrive, impacting their team, company and the industry as a whole. This is a fundamental belief of mine, one I’ve chosen to build my name and business on. It’s one of the top reasons why exceptional talent is either unhappy in their current role or doesn’t receive an offer during the hiring process. They simply were not a good fit. Finding talent is the easy part, our industry is filled with wildly talented professionals. Portland, in my very biased opinion is no exception. I’ll say it again, finding talent is the easy part, finding the proper fit, is quite another. It requires understanding and discernment. Hearing this from Fyfe, a key leader in an organization I personally respect was pardon the cliché, music to this little recruiter’s ears. It’s speaks volumes when spoken from the top. So what do I think you should do? Maybe you should consider Icebreaker for your next opportunity. They get it.


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