Exit Interview: Shayne Stephens
Who: Shayne Stephens
What: Marketing Director, Saks Fifth Avenue Canada
What experience are you bringing to the table as the new head of marketing for Saks Fifth Avenue Canada?
Over and above an extensive marketing, public relations and eventing background in the fashion retail arena, I bring a keen understanding of the Canadian marketplace. As well, an established network, both locally and internationally, that we can use to build partnerships and events that will not only resonate with the community, but truly offer Canadians a signature Saks Fifth Avenue experience.
What are you most excited about with your new position?
All of it! To be able to play a significant role in bringing the world’s premiere luxury retailer to Canada, help build it from the ground up and do so in partnership with the best marketing minds in the business - my New York colleagues - is an absolute dream. I'd say I have the best job in the country.
How do you think the fashion industry could be improved in Canada?
There's never been a better time for the Canadian fashion industry. The energy is palpable. We have numerous post-secondary institutions offering world-class fashion programming and organizations like Toronto Fashion Incubator and the Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards working to help future leaders achieve their utmost potential. Where I think we have an opportunity is in pooling our resources as a community and mentoring the younger generation. If we do this, we'll be unstoppable.
How do you plan on not only supporting local talent, but also providing the necessary exposure to them outside of our own borders?
Supporting local talent is much bigger than Saks simply carrying Canadian designers and championing them to the world. By expanding into Canada, Saks is making a huge investment in the Canadian fashion community and providing jobs to hundreds of people in all facets of the industry. As it relates to designers and brands, I think where we can have the most impact is by being accessible and using our expertise and experience to give honest, constructive feedback in an effort to help brands get to the next level.
Having worked at another luxury department store, how do you think consumer buying patterns and the retail landscape will change in 2016 with so many new players in the marketplace?
2016 will undoubtedly be an exciting year for Canadian shoppers because they've never had so many options. Will the landscape be more competitive? Of course. But competition is good. It keeps everyone on their A-game, which is exactly what we plan to bring.
What has been the coolest part of your job, so far?
I'd have to say watching the Canadian team come together. I couldn't ask for a more talented, proven group of colleagues to embark on this journey with. Meeting Bill Cunningham at Men's Fashion Week was pretty cool too, but that's another story.