Brian Morrison, vice president of visual merchandising for The Container Store, was a featured speaker at Collaborate 2019.
Morrison shared insights into the 40-plus year journey that has allowed The Container Store to grow into the storage and organization products brand leader. Now 90 stores strong, Morrison oversees the presentation of products, in-store campaign support, store layouts as well as development and support of the visual sales teams in each of its stores. The Coppell, Texas-based chain’s stores average 25,000 sq. ft. and offer more than 10,000 products all in the name of helping its customers live a more organized life at work and home.
Morrison also shared insights into its award-winning (honored by the Retail Design Institute) “next generation” store opened last June in Dallas and how technology and vendor partners have played a central role in organizing its future.
About the Speaker: In 1990, Brian Morrison was an Austin college student pursuing an elementary education degree at the University of Texas, when he saw an ad for a part-time sales position at The Container Store. Already a customer, Morrison knew the job would work well for his college career. Fast forward 28 years and Morrison has held many positions pointing to his flourishing leadership role at The Container Store.
Products, materials and instore design strategies are varying in each retail industry sector yet those experiences created are often the differentiator for customers. This session will review how in-house and supplier teams collaborate through ideation and execute during implementation citing examples from Verizon, Samsung, Apple, Stella McCartney and others in the ever-changing retail landscape.
Kevin Fernandes, Verizon’s top brand standards director and Michael Koch, vice president of LOC Associates provided insights into the power of process and partnerships for building customer experiences for the future in and out of retai
Kevin Fernandes is director of brand governance and operations for Basking Ridge, N.J.-based
Verizon. He joined the company in 2007 as a sales account manager before moving to retail merchandising and design. In 2012, Fernandes was tapped to lead retail merchandising as well as design, development and deployment of its new Smart Store in addition to five flagship destination stores. Since then, Fernandes headed strategy and design teams which led Verizon’s Next Gen store design. In January 2019, Fernandes was named to his current position in brand development overseeing all Verizon assets and properties.Prior to joining Verizon, Fernandes spent eight years at the NFL Headquarters leading its management council/football operations.
Michael Koch is vice president of international development for LOC Associates, a San Jose, Calif-based owner’s representative firm for brands including Apple, Google, Disney, LiveNation, Canada Goose and WeWork Companies Inc. (now The We Company). Prior to joining LOC in 2018, Koch was Samsung America’s senior director of store development, playing a key role in the 2016 opening of Samsung 837 in New York City, The 55,000-sq.-ft. facility earned numerous awards and worldwide notice as a top experiential retail location. Koch’s other projects include Apple’s signature locations in Berlin, Barcelona and Turin as well as Guess flagships in Milan and Miami. In addition, he was responsible for Ritz-Carlton locations in Florida, San Francisco and the Cayman Islands.
Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) merchants are a gathering force in the retail industry. These online-only retailers continue to make headlines as they open physical stores. Warby Parker and Bonobos are well-known DTCs, but there are hundreds more looking to make the move to experiential spaces that allow them to find new customers and get closer to existing ones.
But making the leap from online to “offline” physical retailing poses challenges -- barriers to entry are steep – even temporary spaces or pop-up shops are costly due to time commitment, rent and labor.
Two industry vets have a solution to do for retail spaces what Airbnb did for hospitality and WeWork for workplace.
International President Ray Ehscheid, RDI, welcomed Jay Norris and Michael Cortazzo of San Diego-based Guesst to the Collaborate 2019 stage to discuss their retail space-sharing model. Guesst has developed a software solution to connect up-and-comer “guests” with existing retailer “hosts.” Guesst’s “pop share” concept evolves the pop-up store through its match-making platform.
Jay Norris is co-founder and ceo of Guesst. He is a real-estate broker and business strategist with more than15 years in developing experiential marketing concepts.
Michael J. Cortazzo is Guesst’s director of retail operations, responsible for store operations and management, real estate selection, store design, construction and strategic planning. Prior to Guesst, Cortazzo was senior director of real estate and facilities for American Eagle Outfitters.