New York, N.Y. — Saying it is an effort to help bolster up-and-coming enterprises, Macy’s announced the creation of a one-of-a-kind program covering the business of fashion.
A statement from the giant retailer said “The Workshop at Macy’s” will set the stage for retail business innovation, aiming to nurture and grow the next generation of minority and women-owned retail talent.
The initiative is an outgrowth of what the company said is its long-standing commitment to vendor diversity and to providing customers with unique goods and services that meet their lifestyle.
The specially designed business development curriculum of the workshop is aimed at minority and women-owned retail businesses that are poised to succeed on a larger scale but need additional help on business practices to move to the next level and sustain growth.
The four-and-a-half-day intensive training course will be held in May at Macy’s Herald Square offices in New York City and will be taught by the firm’s seasoned executives and industry experts, as well as key retail partners, the statement said.
Through the annual program, Macy’s is hoping to create a pipeline of viable vendors that will grow to become successful partners within the company’s own vendor community.
“Of the many initiatives Macy’s Inc. has pursued on behalf of our expanding diversity strategy, supplier diversity is an area of special importance,” said Terry J. Lundgren, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Macy’s Inc. “The Workshop at Macy’s is the latest example of our continued commitment to support and grow certified minority or women-owned retail vendors that will allow us to enhance our business, while also providing our customers with compelling product.
“As partners, it’s a true win-win for both the vendor and our company. Macy’s finds and nurtures talented new vendors who can deliver high quality, competitively priced merchandise and these vendors, in turn, see their business grow.”
The course work will include classes on Strategic Planning, Merchandising and Assortment Planning, Branding, Sales and Marketing and Access to Capital.
“The Workshop at Macy’s” will help us to identify and cultivate talent within the minority and women-owned small business community that will keep us at the forefront of innovation and continue to enhance our overall diversity strategy,” said Shawn Outler, Macy’s group vice-president of multicultural merchandising and vendor development.
“Our support will provide these up and coming vendors with the necessary tools to succeed on a wider scale, as well as build a pipeline of exemplary vendors ready and able to provide our customers with unique merchandise that speaks to their various lifestyle needs,” Outler said.
To promote the inaugural program, Macy’s said it has enlisted a few key vendors from its ranks to give a face to supplier diversity success at the company. They include Lisa Price, founder of Carol’s Daughter, who will be one of the program’s expert panelists.
“I know first-hand the challenges small business owners face when looking to grow a successful venture and take it to the next level,” Price said. “This program will be an extremely valuable tool for participants to learn from the best in the business. Hopefully, what they take away from the program will help them identify and create opportunities that will result in long-lasting growth.”
Macy’s is now accepting applications for the workshop. To be eligible, an applicant must be the majority (51 percent or more of equity) owner, co-owner or otherwise have operational control of a business that has been in operation for at least two consecutive years and be its primary decision maker.
Applicants are asked to submit a 250-word biographical statement, look book/line sheets or images of product including costs, resumes on all owners, audited financial statements for the business for two years, fall within the minority and women-owned definition of the program and provide verification of the business as a legal entity, among other requirements.
Applications must be submitted by 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 11. All information, including full program requirements, are available online at macysinc.com/workshop.
All eligible applications will be reviewed and selected applicants will be asked to attend an in-person interview. Final selections will be made after all prospective candidates are interviewed. The program will aim to invite at least 20 applicants to attend the course which will begin on May 9.