Macy’s hires branding company run by ex-Target designers

Diving brief:

  • In addition to Hiring Emily Erusha-Hilleque, who has spearheaded numerous private label and designer collaborations Target, Macy’s has engaged brand agency Brand Love Lab, founded by another Target design executive.

  • Macy’s chief merchant Nata Dvir hired the company before hiring Erusha-Hilleque, a Macy’s spokesperson said via email.

  • Before founding Brand Love Lab in 2019, Nadine Steklenski was a designer at Target for 18 years, most recently as vice president of design, according to his LinkedIn page. Another Brand Love Lab partner, Noria Morales, spent seven years at Target as Senior Director of Design Partnerships and Influencer Marketing.

Overview of the dive:

When it comes to revamping its house brand, Macy’s is aiming for the bull’s-eye.

In what has been a highly effective merchandising overhaul, Target has taken back some key pages from the old department store playbook, redesigning stores to foster discovery and differentiate its assortments with own brands. Now Macy’s appears to be looking over Target’s shoulder as it tries to deliver on its promise to revamp its private label strategy as part of its Polaris turnaround.

Steklenski’s team was involved in developing Target’s Cat & Jack children’s brand, one of the first to emerge from the retailer’s massive private label reboot, and All In Motion, which recorded $1 billion in sales during its first year, among other brands and design collaborations, Steklenski said in an email.

Brand Love Lab has also worked with Nike, the Food Network and HGTV, according to its website. Morales said via email that the company is no longer working with Target.

We put the customer at the center of everything we do, and we blend art and science to create truly differentiated business opportunities. » Steklensky and Morales noted. “Our experience building some of the most beloved brands and partnerships in retail means we know what it takes, and that’s a big point of distinction between us and other consultancies. We believe deeply in Macy’s vision for the future, and are so excited to help bring that vision to life.”

Retail Speak founder Sanford Stein says Macy’s turning to executives so instrumental in Target’s “cheap chic” revival shows how serious he is about his own private label changes.

“This bodes well for Macy’s potential to build potentially fashionable brands,” he said via email. “That said, it doesn’t right the whole ship.”

Despite losing key executives to a rival, Target is unlikely to lose momentum, Stein said, noting that Target’s revenue and growth are outpacing Macy’s quarter after quarter. “When was the last time you heard someone say, ‘I do my weekly shopping at Macy’s’? he said.

Laura J. Boyer