I was recently hired by Fashion to Figure (FTF) to be their Chief Innovation Officer. FTF is a plus-size women’s fashion company started by the grandsons of Lane Bryant. The company has been very successful in driving omni-channel sales across 4-wall and eCommerce, but they’re looking to do more. What better way to get innovative than to hire a young person with some pretty good tech skills? I applied for the job, and in my interview, I said, “I’m so innovative.” And they hired me. Definitely lots of lessons to be learned from this situation but that’s for another post. My first innovation for FTF was
My first innovation for FTF was the beginning of what will be their virtual reality (VR) store. They have 26 stores up and down the east coast, and my goal is to create a virtual experience for each store as a way of letting the customer get a closer look and feel more connected to the shopping experience. The VR experience will be purely browsing to start, but in-app buying capabilities will be implemented in the future as a way of creating a whole new interface for the company to drive sales. The reason I believe that FTF should be getting into VR now is because it pays to be the first mover in technological innovations that other traditional retail stores are slow to move on. If FTF can be the first store of its kind to implement a VR experience, they will gain significantly more market share in the long-run because their brand will be consumed in a new and innovative way that will keep people coming back for more.
When FTF brought be on as their Chief Innovation Officer, they said I could also recruit a team to help me brainstorm and create moonshot ideas. I loved this, and took this as a sign that FTF was ready to invest in the future on commerce. I took the liberty of recruiting some pretty heavy hitters. Although no one from the class wanted to take the plunge with me at FTF, I did get my good friend Zucks to work partime in our New York office (he commutes). He’s coding the VR experience for us, and he’s doing a pretty good job considering he runs his own company on the side. Our team is lean, and that’s the way we like it.
I was talking to Zucks the other day and realized that, given all that we are doing, there must be an theorist from the past who aligns with the things we are doing. He thought my question was pretty random, and went back to work, but I was hung up figuring this out for the rest of the day. At the end, I decided that Jensen would be in the most support of my efforts to change the world of fashion retial. I’m trying to make fashion more accessible to people around the world, and Jensen would say that I’m doing a great job of taking mutiple stakeholder opinions into consideration. As a result of my thoughtfulness, Jensen believes we will have great success in our endeavors. I said thanks to my imaginary theorist and got back to work with Zucks.