Categorized | National News

A Retail Genius at Age Twenty-Six

The Clifton Review

The Clifton Review is a tri-weekly column that examines the question of the Clifton project along with the evolution of the war between two billionaires. We covered the start of this war with articles describing the battle over easement rights, the mysterious burning of a home, the blocks to rebuilding, and countless questionable court filings.

The 2018 series salutes fashion mogul Peter Nygård’s Golden Jubilee detailing his rags to riches story and incredible business success over these past fifty years. The Clifton Review will take an inside look at how he did it.

A Retail Genius at Age Twenty-Six

By P.J. Malone

It is not surprising that fashion mogul Peter Nygard was able to turn the failing Jacob Fashions’ business into a multi-million dollar enterprise.

He had missed out on an opportunity to get any training with Nathan Jacob before Jacob passed away. Yet, Peter’s intuitive sense of business kicked in and he had a philosophical approach—even at age twenty-six—that he felt was the key to making it work.

In a series of interviews, these are the thoughts Peter Nygård shared on what was needed in the business based on his past experience with furniture sales:

An apparel manufacturer must be a colour merchant. He must conform to high business ethics; he must establish an identity; he must occasionally dip into the retailer’s merchandising bag; he must be a promoter… Play a fair game and promise only what you definitely can deliver… Timing is unquestionably a key issue; a store has to be reached at precisely the right time, not too early or too late, or a manufacturer will find himself on the outside. (1967 Interview with Bill Martynuik, Winnipeg, CA)

In terms of marketing Nygård set the following plan:​

A promotion campaign consisting of trade and co-op advertising, direct mail, point of sale materials, catalogues, fashion shows and a marketing survey to determine soft spots in the market. We want to know exactly what the consumer is now looking for in a garment. Establishment of a critical path to set deadlines, knowing how long it will take to sample material, order yardage, manufacture the garment, and ship it; and sophisticated sales recording and reporting to be able to analyze sales immediately. (1967 Interview with Bill Martynuik, Winnipeg, CA)

With respect to the use of computers in the business, Peter Nygård explained the following to the interviewer:

It is used to itemize units sold as a percentage of units bought related to time. In this situation it can be more harmful than advantageous for the manufacturer to be in an overstocked position. And where items are rated fast or slow, the smart salesman will put the right amount of his fastest moving items in a department at the peak of the selling season… It isn’t enough to simply have the right merchandise at the right price. The key is to have the merchandise on the shelf when it is needed. (Manitoba Business Journal, October-November 1967)

With no training or experience in the garment business, this was Peter Nygård’s perspective of what would turn around this business he had just bought into. He got to work implementing his ideas, which set him on a trajectory toward exponential success.

How many twenty-six year-olds do we know that can talk like this before gaining experience in that industry?
Nygard didn’t just talk the talk. He walked the walk, and as recently as the 49th year in business, he repeated these same sentiments to his staff in terms of what it takes for them to maintain success and continue the company’s growth.

Like they say, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’.

Nygard International from 800 thousand to 800 million dollars fifty years later, we don’t think it’s broken.

We’d definitely call that retail genius!

Written by Jones Bahamas

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Watch JCN Channel 14 Shows

Jcn Channel 14

Sign in now to see your channels and recommendations!

Join Us on Facebook