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NEW YORK — Susan Sokol has opened her own consultancy, Susan Sokol Consultancy LLC.
This story first appeared in the March 12, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Sokol has worked at major companies such as Calvin Klein Inc., Donna Karan International, Michael Kors, Vera Wang and J.Mendel in senior executive positions. “I’m taking my 40 years of experience and working with iconic and well-known American luxury brands and bringing that knowledge to my clients. For me, it’s the next chapter of my career,” said Sokol.
Her business will focus on key areas such as line planning and product merchandising, wholesale business direction, retail management and pricing strategy, supply chain management and business and growth opportunities.
Since leaving J.Mendel last year as president and chief operating officer, Sokol has consulted for such firms as Mara Hoffman; Lemlem; Hellessy, a day-to-eveningwear firm founded by Sylvie Millstein, and Mackage, a designer outerwear firm. Two of her new clients are Sam Edelman and Narciso Rodriguez.
Edelman said when he made the deal with Kellwood Co. for their first foray into apparel, “we thought it would be great to have someone with Susan’s knowledge and expertise.” His wife, Libby, worked with Sokol at Calvin Klein “and Libby would tell me all about Susan and how great she was. She became a hero to us and we followed her career,” said Edelman, who, along with Libby, ran into Sokol a year ago at Barneys New York, and thought they could all work together.
“Our shoes have a very special integrity about them, from the crocodile in-soles to the power of the logo and the fact that we’re so trend-on. What we saw with Susan was someone who could interpret that integrity to our apparel,” said Edelman.
Mara Hoffman, who owns her own contemporary apparel firm, said, “Susan came in with a holistic approach and looked at all parts of the company, what our strengths were and our weaknesses. She gave great feedback in examining our wholesale business.
“It was awesome to have someone with her expertise and to have a sounding board to talk things through with someone who [is outside the company] and has a different kind of perspective, without judgment. She helped me through tough situations by giving a new perspective to them,” said Hoffman. She said Sokol helped with selecting the new digital media agency and the transition of public relations. “She also made the introduction for a great collaboration that’s coming up in June,” said Hoffman.
Narciso Rodriguez recently hired Sokol as a consultant.
“We’ve been experiencing so many changes here and so much growth. We wanted to bring someone in like Susan to explore new opportunities. She’s very seasoned and very knowledgeable. I launched accessories two years ago, and the collection continues to grow. I value her opinion so much,” said Rodriguez.