Karen Katz – Neiman Marcus and Randal Pinkett

Last Thursday was a very busy day, but I had the opportunity to see two very interesting people. I got to attend a speech given by Karen Katz, the current CEO of Neiman Marcus. I haven’t seen many women CEO’s speak, so it was nice to hear….however I don’t recall her once mentioning or complaining about being a woman in the business world, and she’s done great.

She started working at Neimans in 1985 then worked her way up to CEO in 2000. She’s a UT alum and then went to graduate school at Harvard. During her speech you could tell she knew everything about retail from the ground up.

Some things I found the most interesting about the speech:

  • When she first applied with Neimans, she did not get the job.
  • The web-based store at NeimanMarcus.com does $600+ million in sales a year! (I love how NeimanMarcus, Nordstroms and other large retailers setup their websites…I want to find out what they use and copy them).
  • Her favorite brand is Target….says she spends massive amounts of money at Target (Interesting….)
  • “A brand is not saying what it is, it’s what the customer THINKS it is.”
  • Average Neimans shopper has a household income of $200,000+
  • “Selling is a skill to master. You will ALWAYS be selling no matter what you do.

It turned out to be a good speech, and I got a picture with her afterwards:

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The same day, I attended the Austin Big Idea event which helps people start and grow small businesses. The main headliners were Gary Hoover (who I met the day before) and Dr. Randal Pinkett, the Donald Trump-selected Apprentice.

Dr. Randal is actually a really amazing person (and basketball-player-tall). He’s a Rhodes Scholar, graduated with five degrees, owns a multi-million dollar company, and was selected as The Apprentice.

He gave a speech talking about the importance of small businesses, and his experience starting one himself. One main point he drove home was to create a lasting entity….A company that can sustain itself if the founder was suddenly taken away. He got lots of reaction out of the audience, and he actually turned out to be a GREAT speaker!

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Action Plan after the speeches:

1.) Research what NeimanMarcus, Nordstroms, Macy’s use for their online web stores. They all look very similar and have super-simple shopping carts. I like.

2.) Begin process of making small businesses much larger, and delegate some of the work.