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FRANÇOIS LE FLOCH, VICE PRESIDENT OF RETAIL – US, MICHAEL KORS
THE RETAIL LANDSCAPE
The first of our Mode Meets interviews with influential people in the fashion and lifestyle industry features Francois Le Floch. His stellar rise from modest beginnings in the French countryside has seen him recently appointed as Vice President of Retail for the US for the globally acclaimed Michael Kors. When you consider other notable positions at global luxury brands such as Tods and Maje, you find someone who is well respected in the luxury fashion industry. We sat down with Francois to discuss where his love for fashion began.
‘I grew up very far away from big glamorous shops. I loved as a teenager working every summer to earn my money to buy my own clothes from super cool brands at the time such as Quicksilver or Levi’s.
I love designer brands and clothes that last for ever because I see them as investment pieces. I could actually buy and wear any brand as long as it is functional and elegant’.
HOW DID YOU GET INTO THE RETAIL INDUSTRY AND WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT IT?
I always wanted to work within a large company and be part of a big team of people. I was passionate about fashion and being in a sales-based environment really appealed to me.
WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST MISTAKE YOU MADE WHEN FIRST STARTING OUT?
As a Junior Manager I made the mistake of thinking everybody is the same but I quickly learnt that everyone has different backgrounds, qualities and weaknesses.
YOU HAVE PROGRESSED WELL AND VERY QUICKLY IN YOUR CAREER TO DIRECTOR LEVEL. WHAT ADVICE CAN YOU GIVE TO OTHERS WITH SIMILAR ASPIRATIONS?
Work hard and smart, know where you want to go and what you want to be. Believe in yourself and get advice and be open to feedback. Don’t be scared to make mistakes. You won’t push boundaries without doing so.
YOUR VIEW ON MILLENNIALS AND THEIR IMPACT ON THE FASHION INDUSTRY?
This particular generation are extremely influential. Both as customers and employees. They look at jobs in a different way than the older generation. You need to prove to them you are a good leader or a fantastic brand to work for.
CAN YOU PLEASE GIVE US YOUR PERSONAL INSIGHT INTO THE MOST CHALLENGING QUESTIONS YOU HAVE ASKED A CANDIDATE IN AN INTERVIEW AND FROM THE CANDIDATE SIDE THE BEST QUESTIONS THEY COULD ASK THEIR FUTURE EMPLOYER IN AN INTERVIEW.
I don’t tend to be asking challenging questions in interviews. My style is a lot more around discussion and sharing experiences. But candidates should know the company values beforehand to ensure they are aligned with their own.
WHAT CITY DID YOU PREFER TO LIVE IN, NEW YORK OR PARIS?
I love both. But New York is more dynamic and has many career opportunities. For the foreseeable future New York is home.
WHAT MOTIVATES YOU EACH DAY?
I like to set myself goals. Achieving those targets is vitally important to staying motivated. I also get inspired by working alongside people who are prepared to go the extra mile.
HOW DO YOU KEEP STAFF AT A SENIOR LEVEL ENGAGED?
You must reward people. Everyone needs encouragement and being told they are doing a good job. But incentivising is key.
WHAT ARE THE KEY ATTRIBUTES DO YOU LOOK FOR IN A CANDIDATE IN AN INTERVIEW WHEN HIRING FOR YOUR TEAM?
I require an individual to be passionate and committed. But they also need to be driven.
TO DATE, WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR PROUDEST MOMENT CAREER WISE?
Each company I worked for had its own unique challenges. But I feel I have been able to adapt to different environments in my career while enjoying success with each. I feel the development of Maje from a niche fashion label to an internationally recognised brand leader in women’s fashion was an achievement.
MODE SEARCH LTD 2020 No. 10889892