A colorful Kate Spade New York handbag. A high-fashion pair of Stuart Weitzman boots. A timeless piece of Coach luggage.
What do these iconic brands and products all have in common? The backing of a tech powerhouse and global house of brands, Tapestry.
Tapestry is using tech to power and weave the e-commerce and digital-first futures of Kate Spade, Stuart Weitzman and Coach, giving its team members the unique opportunity to gain insights and trade knowledge from each brand to chart e-commerce strategies.
“The intelligence that we’re able to access because we have other brands is bar none,” Liana Thompson, VP of global e-commerce for Stuart Weitzman, said. “We’re able to move fast in testing journeys because we know we’ll get insight on what’s worked with the other brands, and what hasn’t. Tapestry is at the center of all of that, facilitating the conversation.”
All of this, Thompson explained, puts Tapestry in a position to ask, “How high is high?” when it comes to the future of e-commerce.
“Based on our growth, our technology and the quality of the people that we have — there’s no ceiling,” Thompson said. “And that’s exciting.”
Built In NYC got a peek behind the curtain from a few of Tapestry’s brand leaders to better understand what it’s like to work on each unique digital brand team, and Tapestry’s ambitions to cement its reputation as an employer of choice — not just in the e-commerce world, but also in the tech industry at large.
Why did you join Tapestry?
Joe Milano, SVP Head of Digital and Global Experience for Kate Spade: I have a real love for the Kate Spade brand. I think it’s a unique, special brand that’s unlike any others. We inspire joy. I love the challenge of being able to express that as a brand to customers in a digital format. At Tapestry, we have the ability to tap into a center of excellence (COE) with digital expertise that would be tough to get at a standalone company. When you’re able to combine Tapestry’s resources with the volume that Kate Spade drives, it allows us to go bigger, broader and deeper with our research and data insights. It opens the doors for a lot of e-commerce possibilities.
Liana Thompson, VP of Global E-Commerce for Stuart Weitzman: One of the reasons why I joined Stuart Weitzman and Tapestry was its size. I came from a large business where lots of the decision-making was slow and layered. Stuart Weitzman was smaller and more agile, but it had the support of a larger organization. I have the opportunity to play around with cool e-commerce tools, and have the technical support that I wouldn’t be able to get with a smaller business if there wasn’t a larger business behind it.
Becca Mignanelli, VP of North America Outlet E-Commerce for Coach: I joined Coach 15 years ago with a passion for the brand and a love for customer data. Coach has a long standing reputation of having ROI in its DNA, which is why I quickly thrived in the environment and culture here. After a number of years I felt the need to experience other brands so I actually left Coach for two years and held roles at two other brands. I quickly realized that there was no company out there that could hold a candle to Coach, and came back to the brand in a new role. The people, passion, agility and perseverance of this brand are just a few qualities that make us best in class.
How does working with a centralized Tapestry digital team enable your brand selling strategies?
Milano: Here’s a perfect example: product presentation. There’s a lot of testing and learning that goes into figuring out how customers best interact with product listing pages. It takes time to gain these insights and then adjust. But having a centralized Tapestry digital team gives us a shortcut. Because we have three brands, we have three different ways of testing across those brands and gaining data. This allows us to take some of those learnings that other brands are doing, such as how they’re organizing or how they’re displaying, and immediately implement the ideas that worked, and avoid the ideas that didn’t.
Thompson: Essentially, it’s a massive time-saver. The intelligence we’re able to access because we have other brands is incredible, allowing us to move fast in testing journeys because we know we’ll get ideas that have worked with other brands. It saves us months of work.
For example, with Stuart Weitzman, we do a lot of testing with an AI language vendor. There’s so many things we can test within that, so the question is, “Where do we start?" To guide our path, we went to our sister brand Kate Spade. They were further down the line with testing and were able to tell us the areas of the website that they had tested and the changes that were most impactful, such as data surrounding the homepage, or the “add to bag” button on our product pages. Insights like this help us build and guide our roadmap for testing.
What sort of projects would tech professionals get to work on if they joined the digital brands team at Tapestry?
Mignanelli: We just replatformed our site in September 2021. That was probably our biggest technical project that we worked on with the Tapestry digital product team. This project is a great example of all of us coming together as one group and communicating and collaborating. We needed to be in lockstep throughout the project in order to meet our pre-holiday replatform date: collaborating through requirements building, reviewing site experiences as development progressed, testing and QAing every scenario to the moon and back on every possible device, and finally, releasing to the customer. Meaningful projects like that create great opportunities for tech professionals.
Milano: At Kate Spade, we’re in the process of transitioning to the platform that Coach and Stuart Weitzman use. But in the interim, we’ve seen a lot of opportunity around speed and stability for the Kate Spade business and sites. We used technical solutions that had a meaningful impact on the way the customer interacted with the sites and that led to revenue increases. This project was a collaboration between the Tapestry IT team, the Tapestry digital COEs, some of the product management teams, and the brand site merchants.
Describe Tapestry’s culture.
Mignanelli: The company is so supportive. I lead one of our four employee resource groups for working parents and caregivers. Historically, Tapestry has always had summer Fridays where we close the office at 1 p.m. Our ERG, in partnership with some other employees, spearheaded a goal of turning summer Fridays into fall Fridays, which then became winter Fridays. Now it’s year-round and dubbed Flex Fridays, where we close the office at 1 p.m. on Fridays. As a parent, it’s life-changing to have four hours to do something for myself.
Thompson: As simple as this sounds, Tapestry cares about our schedules. The company received feedback from multiple teams about having too many meetings. So they implemented blocks on our calendars from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays where people are not supposed to schedule meetings. This time allows people to get work done, or do other things outside of work. For example, sometimes I might have a call at 8 p.m. with a team in China. So I’ll use my 4 p.m. window to go run errands, cook, or whatever it is that I need to do. That dedicated time is so wonderful.
Milano: We’re flexible. Our office in New York City at Hudson Yards is brand new and beautiful. We also have our Kate Spade offices on Park Avenue, which really represent our brand and heritage. But the best part is that we have a hybrid work model. If you need to be in the office for something, come in. If there’s no reason for you to come in, you don’t have to. I love how that support and flexibility gives us the freedom to figure out how we can each be our most successful and productive selves.
Thompson: Our offices are really great. I’m looking forward to the world opening up soon and spending more in-person time with my team. I’ll finally have a place where I can wear my wonderful Stuart Weitzman shoes!