Retail Gets Real
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Retail impacts everyone, every day, everywhere
NRF’s podcast features unfiltered, insightful conversations with the industry’s most interesting people. Hear retail executives, industry experts, entrepreneurs and influencers discuss trends, their career stories and the future of retail.
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Episode 62: In with the new: When returns are a win-win
Sara Whiffen of tech startup Rohvi describes how she helps retailers like Amy Gardner, owner of fashion boutique Scarpa, build customer loyalty by offering store credit for returns.
Washington, D.C.’s Politics and Prose co-owner Bradley Graham discusses how the independent bookstore is thriving and expanding in the face of change.
Levi’s Brand President James ‘JC’ Curleigh talks about reviving the century-old brand and achieving its ‘vintage and cool’ status.
Danielle DiFerdinando, founder and creative director of Danielle Nicole, on what drives her creative spirit for her handbags and jewelry line.
Jane Fisher and Jenna Kerner, co-founders of Harper Wilde, discuss how they empower women through revolutionizing the way bras are sold.
James Rhee, CEO of Ashley Stewart, discusses his values-based leadership style and taking the company from barely surviving to thriving.
An interview with Kidbox CEO Miki Berardelli. Learn how the company thrives on a technology-first approach and dedication to charitable giving.
An interview with TechStyle Brands’ Traci Inglis, Brand President for JustFab and ShoeDazzle. Learn how the brands fuel innovation through data and customer personalization.
NRF’s Director of Research and Consumer Insights Katherine Cullen explains generational differences in shopping habits and trends in fulfillment and experiences shaping today’s retail.
SVP and CIO Rob Mills discusses how Tractor Supply extends the product expertise it’s known for to the digital world, creating an award-winning online customer experience.
Episode 44: Entrepreneurship’s role in social change
An interview with Buddy Teaster, CEO of Soles4Souls. Learn more about how the nonprofit serves communities in crisis, as well as entrepreneurs in developing countries.
Episode 42: Inside Walmart's next-gen tech incubator
An interview with Lori Flees, senior vice president of next generation retail and principal of Store No 8 at Walmart. She discusses how Walmart incubates next-generation retail technology to help people save money and live better.
Episode 41: Terry Lundgren looks back on a career in retail
An interview with Terry Lundgren, just-retired executive chairman of Macy’s Inc. Hear the retail veteran share some of the wisdom he’s gained over the years and what he sees in retail’s future.
Episode 40: Tomorrow’s cool retail tech, today
An interview with Seth Webb of Tusk Ventures, a curator behind the Innovation Lab at NRF 2018: Retail’s Big Show. Hear about the latest tech that’s poised to transform the retail industry.
Episode 39: Behind the curtain at Retail's Big Show
An interview with NRF’s Susan Newman, SVP of conferences and Angela Elder, VP of event content and education. Hear them discuss the exciting innovations in the past, present and future of Retail’s Big Show.
An interview with West Elm’s Vice President of Innovation Luke Chatelain. Discover how the company develops forward-thinking solutions to improve the shopping experience.
Episode 35: HSN helps make entrepreneurial dreams come true
An interview with Dara Trujillo, vice president of new business development at HSN. Learn more about how the company elevates entrepreneurs with business education, guidance and exposure.
Episode 34: Retail industry predictions for 2018
STORES Magazine Editor Susan Reda takes a look back at the big trends of 2017 and predicts what’s to come in 2018. Learn how trends like AI, VR, mixed reality and more will change retail in the new year.
An interview with Karin Norington-Reaves, CEO of the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership. Learn more about how the nonprofit helps connect retailers with qualified talent.
Episode 32: Let it snow! How retailers prep for the weather
An interview with Evan Gold, EVP of global services at Planalytics, who helps retailers account for weather when they plan their business strategy. Learn about a side of planning consumers often overlook.
An interview with Chris Baldwin, President and CEO of BJ’s Wholesale Club. Learn more about how the company makes strategic decisions that help it stay competitive in the face of change.
An interview with Katherine Cullen, director of retail and consumer insights at NRF, on what retailers can expect to see this holiday, from consumer spending to what gets people in the spirit of the season.
An interview with Karen Katz, CEO of Neiman Marcus. Hear how this century-old luxury retailer adapted to drastic changes in the industry to become a digital winner with a personal touch.
Episode 27: Making the case for retail as a career
An interview with Jerry O’Brien, director of Kohl’s Center for Retailing Excellence at University of Wisconsin-Madison. Learn how he helps reshape the retail career conversation with college students.
An interview with Rick Schart, SVP of supply chain and ecommerce at Stein Mart. Listen to how the industry has evolved to gain more prominence in retail operations.
An interview with Bobby Farahi, CEO of Dolls Kill. Learn how this award-winning fashion brand developed a cult following in a short time.
An interview with Joey Zwillinger, co-founder of Allbirds. Hear how the digital startup got its foot in the door of a long-established industry with direct-to-consumer marketing.
Episode 23: Scott Galloway predicts the future of retail
An interview with Scott Galloway, clinical professor of marketing at New York University. Learn about how retailers can adapt to Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google’s power positions in the retail industry.
An interview with Chef Roy Choi, founder and award-winning chef of Kogi BBQ. Hear how he started the food truck that triggered a revolution in American street food.
An interview with Brian Beitler, chief marketing officer of Lane Bryant. Discover how the century-old company is reshaping the conversation around body equality, and how the brand reinvented to appeal to the modern customer.
An interview with Brack Sullivan and Trey Stewart, talent acquisition executives at The Home Depot. Learn about the hidden roles the company hires for and how it has adapted hiring needs for a changing industry.
Episode 19: How Macy’s finds top talent
An interview with Anne Voller, group vice president at Macy’s Inc. and NRF Foundation board member. Learn about the mega-retailer’s approach to talent acquisition and how retail roles are evolving.
An interview with Anthony Lupo and Brian Schram of Southern Hospitality and Scarlet Oak restaurants. Learn about how they achieve rave reviews in the face of changing consumer tastes and new technologies.
Episode 17: The high point of user experience
An interview with Rob Colenso, senior product manager and UI/UX team lead for Total Wine & More. Learn about how the company gets their highly regulated products to omnichannel customers.
Episode 16: Talent acquisition’s role in business growth
An interview with Chloe Rosenthal, director of human resources for &Pizza. Learn about the popular D.C. pizza chain’s innovative company culture and approach to hiring employees.
Episode 15: The secret sauce for small biz success
An interview with Myles Powell, entrepreneur and founder of 8 Myles gourmet sauces and seasonings. Read about how his passion for food helped him develop a successful small business and listen for mouthwatering recipe ideas.
Episode 14 - How and why NRF forecasts the economic future
An interview with Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist for NRF. Learn about the art and science of economic forecasting as Kleinhenz explains how data is modeled to provide perspective for the future.
An interview with Sarween Salih, owner of athleisure company S3 Active. Read more about her entrepreneurial story and listen to how this small retailer is building a scalable business.
Episode 12: Emerging trends in urban shopping experiences
An interview with Timothy Lowery, general manager at CityCenterDC, and Whitney Burns, senior manager of corporate communications at Hines. Find out how a mixed-use development in downtown Washington, D.C., has worked with retailers and the community to create the hottest space in town.
An interview with David French, NRF’s senior vice president of government affairs, on what it’s like to be a trade association lobbyist on Capitol Hill. Learn more about how lobbyists help the industry and why it’s important for retailers to share their stories with policymakers.
An interview with Cary Kelly, owner of culinary marketplace The Cookery. Learn more about how the business got started and how the company is evolving to stay competitive in a constantly changing industry.
Episode 8: The future of the retail store
An interview with Bluemercury co-founder and COO Barry Beck. Read about his view on changes in the retail industry and listen for insights on how one retailer is adapting to serve a new kind of consumer.
Episode 7: In search of a better fit
An interview with Philip Soriano, co-founder of menswear retailer Hugh & Crye. Learn how the bootstrapped company develops a distinctive brand and unique products, and listen to Soriano’s advice for other entrepreneurs.
An interview with former Macy’s CMO Martine Reardon and Ellen Davis, senior vice president at NRF and executive director of the NRF Foundation. Hear how the changing retail landscape is changing the talent needs of retailers.
An interview with Jill Dvorak, director of merchandising and marketing at National Geographic Partners. Learn about how she helps the world-renowned publisher extend its brand through commerce.
Episode 3: Get ready for Gen Z
An interview with NRF's Mark Mathews about the latest research on Generation Z consumers. Read more about why research is important for retail and listen for tips on what retailers can do to attract the youngest group of consumers.
Episode 1: How Walmart does business in China
An interview with Maggie Sans, former senior vice president and chief corporate affairs officer for Walmart in China. Learn more about how she helped the retail giant cross international borders.
Meet your podcast hosts
Communicator by day and book reader by night, Bill Thorne is senior vice president for communications and public affairs at NRF. In an alternate universe he works as a landscaper, creating paintings with a living palette.
Sarah “Super Woman” Rand is vice president of digital communications at NRF and can magically expand time to fit every task that falls on her plate. When she’s not experimenting with the latest communications trends and organizational behavior, Sarah can be found at local doughnut, ice cream and bakery shops.
From ice cream scooper and J. Crew sales associate to vice president of communications and public affairs at NRF, Katie McBreen is no stranger to retail. As an Idahoan transplanted to D.C., former ski racer, identical twin and new mom, Katie’s interests spread wide and run deep. When she’s not using her gift of gab in the podcast studio, you’ll find her in or dreaming about the mountains.
As student initiatives manager, Shaquayla Mims spends her days in the office marketing events and scholarship programs to Millennials, and teaching them new ways to demonstrate to their boomer parents why jobs in retail are fantastic, actually. Her Sagittarian nature and background in public relations and communications allows her to chat about anything, with anyone, at any given time.
Artemis Berry is vice president of member engagement at NRF. When she isn’t managing communities and programs she can be found reading up on all things tech and helping her toddler (#girlpower) become the next great world leader.
As editor of STORES Magazine, Susan Reda has interviewed many retail luminaries, emerging entrepreneurs, small business owners and retail experts. She loves shopping almost as much as researching a good story, especially about the impact a new strategy, technology or tool can have on the future of retail and the shoppers who make it all possible.
Jessica Hibbard was formerly NRF’s director of online content and communications and the founder of Retail Gets Real. In between collecting startup stories and tracking digital commerce trends, Jessica geeks out about vintage film cameras and unwinds with analog photography.
Tony Fontana was formerly director, communications and head coach of the softball team at NRF. Born to be a storyteller — whether it’s in short form on social media or through dialogue on a podcast — Tony’s love of Chipotle led to his first job as a crew member for the chain.
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