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:


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!


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.

Blog posted on: April 25, 2006

15 comments on “Karen Katz – Neiman Marcus and Randal Pinkett

  1. suhao

    hi nev, i’ve been reading your regularly since i was first introduced to it. I think Randal owns 5 companies too and he’s great. I notice that there is a minor change in your short-term goal – you’ve delayed it 15 days later. Good luck on your research.

  2. Dave

    Sounds like you have been busy!

    Nice post, I find it very inspiring the way you are never happy with what you know. You always seem to want to learn more from whoever you can. That is a very good trait to have.

    Keep it up.

  3. Amanda

    My first job was with Neiman’s and Karen Katz was always a very involved CEO. She would come and visit the Chicago stores frequently and spent the majority of her time walking the floor, really paying attention to all the details.

  4. Anonymous

    Geez man….how do you see all these people!? Maybe I’m just from a mid-sized city so I don’t see as many CEO’s walking around. All I can say is, great job and keep up the good work! I may not be able to hear all these people speak, but I can always live vicariously through you :)

  5. Manny

    Hey Nev,

    That Business Holding account is a tad confusing. You’re very vague in your explanation. Is it some kind of deferred revenue account?


  6. Kari

    I worked at Neiman Marcus Palm Beach and it was definitely the worst company I have experienced working for. The store manager is distasteful, rude and inconsiderate, not to mention works her employees by intimidating them and not treating all of her employees with respect and dignity. I am shocked to have witnessed her behavior within the store as well as with her “chosen favorite employees.” I wouldn’t send anyone that I respect to become employed with Neiman Marcus Palm Beach – EVER!

    Sad to see a beautiful store with such potential treat people the way they do in Palm Beach. Good Luck in your future endeavors, if you have any in the next 10 years.

    Sincerely over it and grateful to have moved on,

    Kari Swanson

    1. obadiah

      The worst company I worked for is Neiman, i decided to work for myself, after I lived Neiman. I used to work in the receiving dept in Irving, TX. The worst…..

  7. Carmen Growell

    I’m not sure where you’re getting your info, but great topic. I needs to spend some time learning much more or understanding more. Thanks for great info I was looking for this info for my mission.


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