2013 July 10
From The Daily Summer: Some Kind of Wonder-ful
Giorgio Niro View Gallery
(NEW YORK) Meet the talented creative team who give C.Wonder its kick. Plus! Brand capo Chris Burch fills us in on his minicar collection. Honk when you see him on Main Street!
BY EDDIE ROCHE
Hilary Gaul, creative director/VP of design
HOMETOWN: The suburbs outside of Washington D.C.
ALMA MATER: Rhode Island School of Design, where she majored in apparel.
JERSEY GIRL: “I lived in New York City for 16 years, but currently live in Princeton, New Jersey.”
WHAT DO YOU DO? “I work with a design team to create the products for the store, create the look, style the mannequins, and work on photo shoots for the website.”
BACKGROUND: “I was vice president of women’s design for Ralph Lauren for almost 10 years.”
WHAT IS C.WONDER TO YOU? “It’s preppy with an edge. It appeals to a wide age range of girls in their twenties, as well as to older women. It caters to a more casual lifestyle while still looking put-together.”
STAR SIGN: Aquarius
CHRIS BURCH IS… “A very intense creative visionary who has a sense of what he wants. He can envision the end product before it even goes down on paper. He creates environments that are new. It’s pretty revolutionary in this industry. There are not a whole lot of people who do that.”
Eric Samuel Green, senior director of global visual merchandising
HOMETOWN: Washington D.C.
ALMA MATER: Undergrad at Philadelphia Textile College of Science; grad at Georgetown University
WHAT DO YOU DO? “I handle the interiors of all the stores and the overall store experience. I also work on a lot of the branding. It’s really fun.”
BACKGROUND: Cole Haan, The Gap
WHAT INSPIRES YOU? “Film, theatre, architecture
and interior design. I’m a huge Broadway buff
and appreciate independent artists, not just well known ones.”
BROADWAY RECS? “Matilda was excellent. I love a big over the top choreography moment.”
C.WONDER HISTORY: “I’ve been with them for two- and-a-half years. When I started, we didn’t have any retails stores or a fleshed-out concept. I helped the rest of the team create the DNA and personality of the indoor experience.”
STAR SIGN: “Taurus. I’m stubborn like most Taurus.”
CHRIS BURCH IS… “Eccentric and compassionate. His spirit is infectious!”
Scott Link, vice president of retail
HOMETOWN: Cleveland, Ohio
ALMA MATER: University of Alabama
BACKGROUND: “Most of my career has been at Ralph Lauren, but I spent some time with The Gap.”
DAILY GRIND: “This year it’s about making sure we have the right talent in place. We’re opening a tremendous amount of stores, so it’s all about keeping the team focused to make sure they’re a success.”
STAR SIGN: Cancer
FAVORITE ITEMS: “I’m obsessed with all the home accessories.”
CHRIS BURCH IS… “Energetic, creative and extremely passionate.”
FUN FACT: He’s been on board for four months and is the team’s newest member
Jon Zeiders, SVP of merchandising and production
HOMETOWN: Annapolis, Maryland
ALMA MATER: Vanderbilt
BACKGROUND: “I was the vice president, junior merchandising for Pacific Sunwear.”
FUN FACT: “I was the first employee of C. Wonder. We had no stores, no products, and no name at that time. Now we have over 100 employees in our corporate office alone.”
DO YOU KNOW EVERYBODY’S NAME? “I think so. I’m pretty good. We have a pretty good orientation program. New employees become ‘C.Wonderized’ and hit the ground running.”
STAR SIGN: Libra
BEST DAY ON JOB: “The opening of the Soho store. It was on a gorgeous fall Saturday. We got to the store and didn’t know what to expect. There was a line all the way around the corner. I remember being so touched when customers were asking me about the products and they had no idea how much blood, sweat and tears went into it.”
BIGGEST CHALLENGE: “Keeping up with customer demand. We want to give them newness as quickly as possible.”
Katherine Bahamonde, chief marketing officer and EVP e-commerce
HOMETOWN: Los Angeles, California. (“At this point I have very little California left in me.”)
ALMA MATER: Harvard
BACKGROUND: Prior to her stints at Lululemon and Juicy Couture, she was an investment banker.
FIRST DAY JITTERS? “I knew 100 percent that I made the right decision. There was a lot of high energy, passion and a little bit of chaos.”
COMPANY PHILOSOPHY: “We like to say that you go in wondering and come out wonderful. It’s lots of brightly colored product and a sweetly priced luxury environment with great customer service. That’s the DNA of the brand.”
STAR SIGN: Scorpio
CHRIS BURCH IS… “Passionate! He’s an entrepreneur. He’s a little nutty, but most people that are creative visionaries are. We love him. I’m fiercely loyal.”
PLUS! A Chat With Chris Burch…
How did you end up owning a fleet of tiny cars?
I saw an article in The Wall Street Journal that Bruce Weiner was selling his collection. I thought they were really cute, so on a whim I flew to Atlanta to bid on some of them in an auction. I love little things, like little dogs. And these are just the coolest cars! They’re from the Fifties after the war and were designed in a period when people needed cheap transportation.
What kind of condition were they in?
Some were great and some weren’t. I refurbished them with Eric [Samuel Green] and we wanted to do “things that make you happy” and laugh. There was one that didn’t make it that had hearts all over it. Some have flowers, some have zig-zags, but all had color and made people smile and feel good.
Do they work?
They’re all able to, but most of them haven’t been up and working for awhile. It’s kind of problem when we want to put them in a store because we don’t want oil in the store. But what would be more fun than to go pick up a friend in one of those little cars?
Some of them will be coming to your retail stores!
We don’t know which ones yet. The goal is to spread them all over the country.
Do you have a favorite?
I like the little convertible one the most. It’s just great.
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