French Creepers are not a bad thing!

Tim ReidDon’t know what a French Creeper is?  No need to worry, neither did I…until four weeks ago when I was given the additional responsibility of running the Macy’s Private Brand Children’s business.  And although it sounds like something that you would want to keep your children away from, a French Creeper is actually a style of infant clothing that is quite cute and very non-threatening as shown below:

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Over my career, I’ve spent all of my time in the menswear business except for a 3-year stint running our young men’s brand, American Rag.  The children’s world is made up of a series of complex businesses that cover newborns through pre-teenage years for both boys’ and girls’ clothing.  I’ve already learned a lot from the teams but have a ways to go.

If you recall from my last blog entry, I wrote that I was addicted to utilizing every free second of time in my life.  Trust me, free seconds are a distant memory.  Over the past month, the balance between work, school and home life has been a bit of a high wire act.  I now have eight direct reports, my team has more than doubled in size and each sits on different floors in the building.  Additionally, we’re in the midst of major strategy planning for all of my areas and I’m just learning the Children’s business.  At the same time in the Executive MBA program at NYU Stern, we’re at an intersection of classes ending and others beginning which adds to the workload.

This led me to think back to the beginning of the NYU Stern Executive MBA program last August.  I met a number of current and former students that faced significant changes and challenges in their personal and business lives that added a greater level of complexity to the program than originally expected.  Some joined new companies with new roles; others completely changed industries.  Some had babies during the program while others got married.  The one common thread that helped each of them navigate these challenges was the support of their classmates.

No matter the situation, someone in the class had already gone through something similar.  They are a great sounding board for ideas, concepts and strategies.  And sometimes, their experience allows them to say, “Take a deep breath, you got this” or sometimes, even better, “Nope, I definitely wouldn’t do THAT.”  In my first four weeks with the new responsibility, let’s just say that I have a certain number of my classmates on speed dial.  Having access to this network of experienced professionals is certainly a luxury.

Right now, I’m flying to Germany as we begin our Global Study Tour, which is a weeklong deep dive into the Eurozone crisis.  We’ll spend three days in Frankfurt and three days in Madrid meeting with leaders of industries along with multiple experts in their fields.  From there, I head to Shanghai for five days for work related meetings.

Next month, I’ll update on these experiences and more. Now, go help the economy and buy some of those French Creepers!

Tim Reid is getting an Executive MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business. He has spent 19 years in the retail industry with The Gap, May Co., and for the past ten years, Macy’s Merchandising Group where he is group vice president of product development and design for Macy’s men’s private branded apparel. Previous posts:

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