NEW YORK — Adrienne Lazarus, a president of AnnTaylor Stores Corp., has been named president of Intermix, a new position.
This is the first time Intermix has hired an executive from outside its ranks. When Khajak and Haro Keledjian launched the retailer in 1993, Khajak, a finance student, was going to handle the business side while Haro dealt with the fashion. Their roles quickly reversed as Khajak discovered he had a strong style sense and Haro was at ease with numbers. The brothers grew the business from that single store in 1993 to 23 units today, without outside help. But with more growth in the pipeline, they tapped Lazarus, who will focus on driving expansion domestically and internationally as well as online.
Lazarus, who worked at Ann Taylor for 17 years — she was part of the team that launched Ann Taylor Loft — left the company in 2008. “I took a year off because I was just tired,” she said, adding that she wanted to spend time with her young children. During that time, she was introduced to Khajak Keledjian and the more they talked, the more it became clear that they could work together. “I love that it’s a smaller company and that I’m not hindered by politics and bureaucracy,” Lazarus said. “I can move fast and we can be really creative. I love that it’s a small team.” Lazarus and Keledjian decided to start their relationship slowly. For the past year she’s worked part time with Keledjian, getting to know the business and seeing where she can contribute most.
“Adrienne understands who we are and she understands our brand DNA,” said Khajak Keledjian, founder and chief executive officer of Intermix. “Adrienne has implemented a lot of new marketing strategies that are very successful, such as our fall look book, and she’s continuing with more marketing plans to drive full price selling even further. ”
Lazarus, who was charged with cultivating established and emerging designer talent, said she’s identified 46 new designers and is “buying parts of Rick Owens and D&G because they’re relevant to our consumers’ lifestyle.” She will also oversee branding, marketing, visual presentation and client experience. Lazarus said stores are being remodeled and remerchandised to reduce clutter. Stockkeeping units are being cut, there are fewer hanging bars and more mannequins. Intermix has a new logo, shopping bags and collateral.
Lazarus has also been working on market segmentation, identifying client profiles and client types who shop in each of the stores. “When I joined there was a sense that there was just one customer,” she said. “Stores need to have different merchandise. We’re customizing every store based on that consumer’s lifestyle.” Lazarus identified four consumer types: Candice, a mom with teenage girls; Alison, a mother of young children; Sarah, a thirtysomething professional, and Lindsey, who is in her 20s and starting her career. “We dramatically changed the merchandise mix in some of the stores and have seen high-double-digit increases, for example, at the Columbus Avenue store,” Lazarus said. “We have identified another 15 to 20 store locations that we feel good about. We’ve been approached with international opportunities.
Lazarus said she’d never have been able to accomplish as much at a big company. “I have been able to impact so much so quickly,” she said. “This is fast, it’s nimble and it’s creative. There’s nothing holding you back.”
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