Felita Harris (@msfashionbiz) is one of the most powerful women in the luxury retail industry. She has worked with some of the most notable luxury brands and retailers in the industry including Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and St. John. Over the last decade she has held several senior positions at Donna Karan International and is currently the SVP of Global Sales, responsible for sales across 30+ countries. This role has not only expanded her territory reach, it has also broadened her ability to manage cultural and demographic nuances.
We all recognize luxury when we see it, but the definitions are hard to agree on. Some define luxury by price, others by exclusivity, and still other by a list of attributes. As corporations take ownership of many luxury brands, price points fall, and broader distribution put ownership of luxury items into the hands of the masses one thing remains the same. There is an appetite among buyers for luxury brands with a strong brand heritage and legacy.
Blackenterprise.com had the opportunity to discuss the rise of consumer control, what goes into developing high quality campaigns, and how to carve out a career — behind the lens — in the fast paced fashion industry.
Were you always interested in fashion?
Growing up, I was meticulous with my clothing. Everything had to be put together from head to toe. I didn’t realize that my interest in fashion would lead me to create my own exciting career path. Often, we underestimate our natural gifts.
What was that ah-ha moment for you when you knew that this was were you wanted to build your career?
After College I was accepted into the Neiman Marcus management training program in Atlanta, Georgia. Neiman had a huge influence on my decision to pursue a career in the fashion industry.. My ah-ha moment came when I got a promotion to Assistant Manager. I felt accomplished, prepared, and confident. It is during our validated moments of success that we find confidence in our ability to thrive.
Describe the importance of creating quality content when developing campaigns to achieve credibility.
It’s extremely important that creative content is matched with exceptional products and the appropriate distribution channels. It’s the ultimate 360 approach to running a brand. If these three things are aligned, credibility is achieved. Often, brands get sidetracked with focusing too little on the total customer experience.
How has social impacted go to market strategies, and the relationship between brand and consumer?
There is no question that social media has helped to improved the relationships between brands and consumers.
Consumers are looking for information and transparency. Social media has married the two by providing a vehicle for brands to communicate their vision direct to the consumers. At the same time, it has improved the relationship between executives, brand advocates & future fashionistas. I keep my instagram @msfashionbiznyc accessible and answer questions.
What is the most rewarding part of your career?
The most rewarding part of my career is being able to travel around the world and learn about new cultures and ways of conducting business. Understanding various countries, changes an individuals understanding of what a global fashion brand truly means. I feel very blessed to have a career that transcends the fashion industry. Being a sales executive is a universal skill set that involves connecting products, lifestyles, and brand centric information direct to the consumer. With the rapid changes of business, I’m excited to know that I have long lasting opportunities ahead of me.
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