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"Growing a Private Family Business & Taking it Public"

Monday, April 16, 2012 at 3:00PM

Distinguished Lecturer:

Oscar Feldenkreis, President and COO: Perry Ellis International Inc.

Oscar Feldenkreis grew up inspired by his father’s entrepreneurial vision and is now President and Chief Operating Officer of Perry Ellis International Inc. In 1980 he introduced Perry Ellis International Inc.’s first major brand, Natural Issue, expanding the company’s scope beyond private-label distribution. Perry Ellis is now one of the leading companies in men’s apparel. In 2008, Mr. Feldenkreis received Entrepreneur of the Year Award from the University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School of Business and is also a National Human Relations Award recipient from the American Jewish Committee. Perry Ellis International has 18 U.S. offices and distribution centers, plus 16 offices worldwide. They own 45 retail stores and over 15,000 stores carry Perry Ellis International products. In 2008, Perry Ellis had 1,960 U.S. employees, 300 employees outside the U.S., $864,000,000, and 14% net income growth over the last year.

Oscar discusses his ‘passion for fashion’ and from his experience he provides guidance to young entrepreneurs.

Define yourself as an entrepreneur:

·         Be passionate and creative

·         Find your mentor

·         Stay kind, caring and humble

·         Appreciate the support of your family

·         Surround yourself with smart people

·         Read a lot

Advice for future business owners:

  • Know your customers better than your competition
  • Effective execution is essential, so be committed to excellence
  • Look for your niche
  • Innovate - never become complacent
  • Take advantage of e-commerce and new technologies
  • Embrace globalization- ‘Don’t be a local follower, be a global leader’
  • See the world and learn about cultures- Diversify product base
  • Be accountable to investors- ‘They are loyal to you so you should be loyal to them’
  • Branding- ‘Speak to the emotions of the customer’
  • Create a distinct company culture and promote high standards of ethics- At Perry Ellis all employees are treated like family, they build passion and loyalty to the company in all their employees
  • Remember: ‘People are your greatest assets’

Watch Video:
Part 1
Part 2

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