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How Nygard Mitigated Business Threats

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.

While the 2018 series salutes fashion mogul Peter Nygård’s Golden Jubilee detailing his rags to riches story, his incredible business success over these past fifty years and an inside look at how he did it, The Clifton Review will also continue to address current affairs as they relate to the good of The Bahamas.  


 How Nygard Mitigated Business Threats

By P.J. Malone 

So how did fashion mogul Peter Nygard save his business when faced with threats to his business in the late 80s? Remember, department stores were looking to move away from polyester products, which was Nygard’s core product.

Well, the first thing he did was pay attention to his intuition that told him the industry was making some moves that could drastically impact his business.

We have seen examples of businesses becoming aware of threats to their business, like the opening of a new business that would compete with theirs; yet, they would do nothing to counteract the threat. Threats are not always easy to spot. So if you can see it coming from a mile away, it’s a blessing. You need to act immediately.

Acting in the face of a threat is very important and the only way to protect your business.

Next, Nygard assessed the risk of those changes to his business. Being very analytical in nature, his assessments went several layers deep. They included a closer look at,

1.Business profits – Nygard assessed how those changes would impact his profits.

2.Business viability – he analyzed the long-term implications for his business survival.

3.Market conditions – He studied the market to determine if the changes in fashions were just a fad or an actual trend heading in a different direction than he was going in.

4.Business relationships – He weighed the impact of the changes on the way he conducted business.

The results of his assessment showed that he needed to make adjustments. More importantly though, it was important for him to continue to listen to his gut as opposed to the noise in the market. Listening to the industry stakeholders meant he would have changed his products completely to jump on the new trend bandwagon.

Nygard came up with a multi-prong strategy to mitigate the threats he faced or eliminate them all together. He also addressed the threats on several levels.

His strategy of opening up his own department stores was focused on maintaining his loyal customer base—the wearers of his polyester fashions.
Not being one to run behind trends, he wanted a way to figure out for himself if this was truly a trend and not a fad. One purpose his business strategy of opening new retail stores served was research and experimentation. This would provide the information he needed to determine what changes were needed if any and what future products he would move to develop.
Being competitively driven to always be the best meant that Nygard now wanted to dominate any new trends. So he got to work creating a silk fabric that had the advantages of being beautiful but stain resistant. Combining that with great designs resulted in this reputation: “Peter Nygard has brought something to Saks that is very unique—a product that is beautifully made with great fashions and creative genius.” (Philip Miller—served as Chairman and CEO of Saks Fifth Avenue in the early nineties)

The way Nygard saved his business was to use his intuition, conduct the risk assessment, identify a strategy to mitigate the threats, ensure long-term survivability, and put himself back on top as the industry leader in the new trend.

This was Nygard’s approach to every situation because the bottom line for him is to always be on top. Is it any wonder that he took a failing business to a level that reaps rewards ofhundreds of millions fifty years later?

Written by Jones Bahamas

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