Karen W. Katz
KAREN W. K ATZ PRESIDENT & CEO, THE NEIMAN MARCUS GROUP, INC.
BY JENNIFER SCHREIER PELCZARSKI
For the last century, The Neiman Marcus Group has grown to a premier luxury retailer and stayed true its founding principles. Proud to call this company home for the past 26 years, Karen Katz has been essential to the organization and continues to raise the bar. This has been achieved through her comprehensive knowledge and intimate understanding of luxury consumer needs, coupled with superior service and merchandise.
“From the moment a client enters the store, they are in the drivers seat because they can choose to shop anywhere,” says, Karen Katz, CEO. “Our goal is to ensure that every interaction is engaging and exceeds expectations.
We are continually looking to find additional ways to raise standards and in turn, create a shopping experience unlike any other.”
Each store seamlessly blends fashion and art, which go hand-in-hand, as new areas are being considered for future locations. The original founder, Stanley Marcus, started the Neiman Marcus art collection back in 1951 with the purchase of a mobile created by Alexander Calder. There are now over 2,500 pieces that include a vast array of pictures, drawings, sculptures and ancient artifacts that have been amassed from around the world.
Today, shoppers find themselves surrounded by these breathtaking works of art. This critical element is integral to the painstaking at- tention to detail that is featured in every Neiman Marcus. The design of each new store incorporates a succinct vision from the drawing board to ground breaking. In turn, an environment of elegance is created that offers fashionable and distinctive merchandise that has been a mainstay of the brand, which was established from the beginning, so many years ago.
Karen has always been the consummate professional. Her business acumen and innovative way of thinking was even more apparent 10-years ago, when an integrated, seamless, multi-channel, e-commerce shopping experience was developed. This was essential to grow Neiman Marcus’s position as the leading fashion retailer.
As markets continue to shift, businesses have to adopt and utilize the power of online technology. For Karen and her team, it was a natural business decision to embrace the power of social media. Now promotional initiatives such as the ‘NM Gift App’ or the ‘NM Editions App’ coupled with the comprehensive information found on the company website, this luxury leader can better serve and communicate with its customers.
Then we must not forget the famous Neiman Marcus Christmas Catalog that first appeared in 1926. For some the holiday season and the catalog can’t arrive soon enough. Its pages are overflowing with a vast array of sparkly, shiny, dazzling, spectacular choices that would complete anyone’s fantasy wish list. As soon as the most recent catalog is completed, rest-assured that ideas are already in the works to find ways to surpass previous editions. It is clear that these books continue to inspire, awe and touch the dreamer that lives within each of us.
Here is just one example of why Neiman Marcus exemplifies not just luxury, but more importantly the care of its clientele: A sales associate in Handbags recently greeted a customer who came into the store to return a Loro Piana scarf her husband had purchased for her. The Sales Associate remembered the customer’s husband taking great care when choosing the gift and kindly asked the woman the reason for her return. The customer simply said she did not care for the item. Without being forceful, the sales associate asked if she knew anything about the designer of the scarf. The customer did not.
With a smile, the sales associ ate told her the history of the Loro Piana family and explained the quality and luxury associated with the brand. She went on to say that Loro Piana cashmere is considered the finest in the world and a truly meaningful gift for her husband to have given her. She also took the time to show the client how the delicate scarves are meant to be folded and stored, in order to preserve their quality.
After their lengthy conversation, the sales associate could sense that her customer was reconsidering returning the scarf and offered to place it on hold to give the client time to think about it.
Sure enough, within two days the woman returned and said that she really wanted to keep the gift.
As the sales associate brought out the scarf, the customer slowly removed a wig from her head. She said, “I was recently diagnosed with cancer and know that my husband was trying to do something nice for me when he bought me this gift — I just had no idea that this scarf was so special until you took the time to tell me about it. I really do love it.”
As the sales associate put the scarf around the customer’s head, she began to tear up and the two had an emotional connection as they hugged. The customer thanked the sales associate for everything she had done and said she felt like it was fate that they had met.
“In order to create higher impact, it’s not just about great merchandise,” commented Katz. “This is about understanding trends, targeted marketing campaigns that appeal to multigenerational clients, showcasing luxury products that will have the strongest appeal and interest, and of course, the non-stop care and unparalleled service that our customers have come to find irresistible.”
The end result is that ‘fashionista aficionados’ of all ages have made Neiman Marcus stores around the globe, a shopping Mecca for generations to come.