Applications for the 2021 Workshop are now open through November 30th

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What You’ll Learn at the Workshop at Macy’s

At the conclusion of the Workshop, you’ll know how to:

  • Present a product line to senior merchants to determine viability of doing business with a major retailer
  • Understand retail industry best practices, merchant requirements and benchmarks for success
  • Identify opportunities and minimize threats to establishing a strong partnership
  • Deconstruct business operations and align them to better grow your business
  • Be able to build and present a strategic plan
  • Gain knowledge on how to build an impactful brand strategy
  • Understand retail math basics

Identifying The Customer

For this session, you'll complete a store visit exercise, built to help you identify your target customer and become familiar with your competition. You'll compare and contrast your findings to that of our subject matter expert, who will present industry-leading research on the Macy’s customer. By the end of the session, you’ll have a better understanding of the importance of identifying your customer in the context of your retail partner.

Achieving Excellence Through Best Practices

We’ll explore the merchant-to-merchant relationship through a panel of buying experts, and you’ll develop a firm grasp on the key elements of a successful relationship with the buyer, including how to address fluctuations in the business, and how to anticipate opportunities and manage to expectations as a vendor.

By the end of the session, you’ll be able to understand the merchant organization structure, how the organization relates to roles and responsibilities within Macy’s, fully grasp the merchant decision-making process when sourcing new vendors, and have a clear understanding of the metrics used to evaluate business performance and the development of high-level merchandising vision, strategies and execution plans. Furthermore, these partners will highlight the importance of building a relationship with your buying partners through collaboration, teamwork and partnership.

Building Your Brand Identity

This session will focus on marketing for the future. In the face of ever-changing technology and consumer expectations, you’ll gain an understanding of how to stay true to your brand identity when launching a brand for today’s consumer. At the conclusion of the session, you'll have an understanding of how to build a brand message and how to maximize your brand’s online presence to ensure your vision is fully executed by developing a content strategy that authentically interacts and engages target audiences.

Maximizing Your Assortment Plan and Production Life Cycle

This session centers on an explanation of the product life cycle, manufacturing efficiency and streamlining the production process. It will also touch upon assortment planning: identifying and addressing emerging trends and strategic growth opportunities. You’ll come away from this session with strategies on how to improve your assortment plan and production capabilities.

Importance of the Ask

This session serves as a capstone to the program, highlighting the importance of “the ask.” Presentation tools and tips will be provided to aid in the presentation of your retail business strategy.

Successfully Accessing Capital

In this session, we’ll explore the various ways to obtain financing. You’ll discover the power of the pitch; learning the best way to present your case to financial lenders and increase your chances of obtaining debt and/or equity financing. In addition, a distinguished panel of lenders will discuss what they offer and what they look for in a potential client.

Entrepreneurial Finance

These sessions focus on developing an understanding of entrepreneurial finance, including the basics of financial planning for business, financial ratios and capital growth strategy. 

At the end of these sessions, you’ll have an understanding of financial planning as well as working knowledge of financial ratios; you’ll also understand the initial phases of capital growth, debt equity and value creation. 

The objective is for you to walk away with the tools needed to achieve long-term financial sustainability, increasing the chances you’ll be able to grow your business into a successful vendor relationship with a major retailer like Macy’s.

Retail Math 101

One of the most widely praised sessions by Workshop participants, this session introduces the calculations and terminology most commonly used for analyzing and understanding a retailer’s business performance. Focusing on the consistent formulas that provide a common language and are used to calculate and discuss business results, Retail Math 101 opens up a whole new world for many Workshop participants and provides a clearer picture of the business of retail.


Mathematical benchmarks for determining success are reviewed, and by the conclusion, participants have a better understanding of the formulas used to determine:

  • How fast or slowly items are selling
  • Stock levels
  • Markdown rate
  • Monthly average of stock dollars being carried by a department over a specific period of time (season or year). 

An understanding of retail math fundamentals is critical, as decisions that impact the customer shopping experience (and therefore, sales and profitability) are ultimately derived from this analysis.