shawn-outler_web.jpgAfter what the company described as a highly successful inaugural edition in the Spring, “The Workshop at Macy’s” is returning to mentor and foster growth for up-and-coming minority and women-owned businesses.

The retail 101 crash course aims to help promising enterprises achieve and sustain successful vendor relationships.

The industry first initiative is part of Macy’s commitment to vendor diversity and to providing customers with unique goods and services that meet their lifestyle, a company statement said.

The four-and-a-half-day training course was developed by experts from Macy’s Learning & Development, Macy’s Multicultural Merchandising and Vendor Development and Babson College, along with select Macy’s merchants/vendors.

The curriculum is aimed at minority- and women-owned retail businesses that are poised to succeed on a larger scale but need real-world business practice information and perspective on large-scale vendor relationships.

The workshop allows participants to collaborate with fellow aspiring vendors, gain access to industry experts and solicit one-on-one business coaching. The course work includes classes on merchandising and assortment planning, marketing, financial management and access to capital.

A potential goal is to help create a pipeline of viable enterprises that will grow to become successful partners within Macy’s own vendor community.

The first workshop included 22 businesses ranging from makeup/skincare companies to confectionaries, home textiles and ready-to-wear designers.  

“The incredible success of our

first workshop this Spring paves the way for a new set of entrepreneurs who are hungry to learn from our stable of experts about the ways they can grow their ventures,” Shawn Outler, Macy’s group vice-president of Multicultural Merchandising and Vendor Development, said in the statement. “The support and information made available to workshop participants is invaluable in taking these businesses to the next phase of growth.”

Macy’s is now accepting applications for the next workshop. Applicants must be the majority owner, co-owner or otherwise have operational control of a business that has been in operation for a least two consecutive years and be its primary decision maker.

The application package must include a 250-word biographical statement, look book/line sheets or images of products including costs, resumes on all owners, financial statements for the

business for two years, must fall within the minority and women-owned definition of the program and provide verification of the business as a legal entity. Applications must be submitted online or postmarked by 11:59 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 22.

The program will invite at least 20 businesses to attend the course beginning in early May.

All information including full program requirements are available online at

Photo:Shawn Outler