Come Behind the Scenes with Us At Macy's!

Come Behind the Scenes with Us At Macy's!

I couldn't let our time in the Workshop at Macy's accelerator come to an end without sharing a bit of our behind the scenes experience at Macy's headquarters in NYC! The Macy's at Herald Square is almost an entire city unto itself. Besides housing Macy's corporate operations, it is also the country's largest department store.

Three women standing together, one holds a certificate

The Workshop at Macy's is the retail industry’s longest running business accelerator, started 12 years ago by Shawn Outler, Macy's Chief DEI Officer. Ms. Outler started the Workshop well before it was considered important, relevant, or necessary to consider representation on retail shelves. Fast forward to today, and diversity, inclusion, belonging, equity, fairness, and creating pathways for women, minority, and LGBTQI businesses to scale and succeed are common corporate buzzwords and thankfully tremendous work has been done to create more of these initiatives. But it was really fantastic to see and experience first hand Macy's attempt at leveling the playing field and bringing more diverse brands to its customers.

Women standing holding a children's book. She wears a blue printed dress.

So what was our experience like in the Workshop at Macy's? The program is intense - 4 weeks, 3 days a week with a 6-hour daily commitment, plus one week of in-person meetings. Of more than 900 businesses that apply each year, Macy’s selects 25 companies to be a part of the program. It's tightly organized and everyone showed up every day!

I had the most amazing cohort members. Our businesses ran the gamut - fashion and apparel, home decor, fragrances, supplements, skin and hair care, books and toys. Throughout the month, we were immersed in a comprehensive business development program that included building brand identity, financial management, product assortment planning, perfecting our retail pitches, and securing growth capital. Whew… We also got to test the waters of selling at scale through the Workshop at Macy’s online pop-up retail experience. Our products were available at during the month of May (I hope you had a chance to shop our collection)! To sweeten the pot, every business that successfully completed the Workshop receives a $5k business grant. To close out the experience, Macy's hosted a beautiful cocktail reception for members and special invited guests (like Aurora James of the 15 Percent Pledge)!

image shows three women standing before a sign that reads Celebrate.

The programming is amazing, the Macy’s corporate and buying teams are absolutely stellar, but the most remarkable part of the Workshop is the other business owners. After seeing each other on tiny Zoom squares for 3 weeks, it was wonderful to meet in person and learn from one another. There was so much knowledge and inspiration in those rooms! I learned, I laughed, I cried (more than once!), I was humbled, and I was encouraged.

Photos shows a group of men and women standing before a step and repeat backdrop.

If you’re reading this and you’re on your own path of entrepreneurship, the big lesson I’ll share with you from Macy's and having done a few of these accelerators now, is to FIND YOUR TRIBE! Entrepreneurship can be a lonely road. You've probably heard that we must be either bold or stupid to do what we do, and that may be true, but we absolutely cannot do it alone. When I started my first business 16 years ago, I quickly ran out of people to serve as guideposts to help me along the way. This time around, I’m collecting all the mentors, sponsors, allies, colleagues and collaborators I possibly can to help move this thing forward. I encourage you to do the same. Find your tribe. Stay in touch with them regularly, keep abreast of what they’re doing and vice versa - keep them updated on what you’re working on, invite them on the journey. Share your resources and share your knowledge. I’m super thankful for all the amazing business owners I met through the Workshop and the other programs I'm a part of. I CANNOT wait to see where we all go next! I know this was long, so thanks for reading! 

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