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For Hudson’s Bay Co.’s Shelley Rozenwald, not being afraid to introduce change has led to beauty success.
This story first appeared in the May 30, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Rozenwald, who is senior vice president and general merchandise manager for beauty — she prefers “chief beauty adventurer” — joined the 344-year-old company in 2010 and immediately set to optimizing beauty matters at Hudson’s Bay in Canada and Lord & Taylor in the U.S., revamping installations, revisiting assortments and listening to consumer requests.
“In 2013, we renovated eight departments, actually built six new ones — four of them were flagships,” said Rozenwald, adding that 2013 was the year that the parent company formed its department store group. “And we built a total of 172 installations across North America.”
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In both countries, the beauty business is led by color cosmetics, followed by skin care and fragrance. “We’re at a time right now when one has to be focused on bottom lines, focused on budgets, watching expenses,” she said. “But that does not mean that we have to be boring and unproductive.”
There are two approaches to managing a business, she believes. “The risk taker and innovator versus the Typical Tanya or Safe Sally,” she said. “And on the retail side, it’s very easy to fall into the safe place. Being safe does not work anymore. We at Hudson’s Bay, along with our vendor partners, share in going on an adventure through charted and uncharted territory. And it’s all about taking risks, about innovation and exciting the consumer. And speed is key.”
Still, that also means risking responsibly — taking such measures as examining ethnic mixes frequenting stores, signing exclusive brands and making sure advertising and consumer communications are engaging. “We wanted to take the leadership position with beauty and digital,” said Rozenwald. “We launched the world’s first luxury beauty digital magazine. And it’s doing phenomenally. We get excellent support from all of our vendor partners. We’ve had guest beauty editors such as Bobbi Brown and François Nars and Oscar de la Renta.”