Our interview with Trunk Club Operations and Expansion, Ariel Avila on the M1 Podcast (Ep. 17)
- Leadership /
- Mobile /
- Podcast /
The importance of getting the buy in of people who will be using the tools.
Ariel Avila started his career in Wall Street as an investment banking analyst at JP Morgan in the retail and consumer bank. He then joined JP Morgan’s equity research practice before attending Harvard Business School. The then joined Sears and later on, Trunk Club. He is focused on developing and executing strategic, operational and growth initiative. He currently lives in Chicago, speaks English and Spanish, is a runner and enjoys travelling.
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Here are the highlights of our conversation with our guest:
- Ariel shares how he enjoys travelling, in fact, he has been to about 30 countries and his recent trips where Hungary, Austria, Budapest and Vienna. He also loves eating out and discovering new places, is planning to do his first marathon, and is passionate about mentoring and teaching people.
- Ariel started in college as a Political Science major but learned that it was not a practical route. Investment banking caught his attention as it sets a foundation of a career and you get to develop a rigorous analytical skill set. There are also lots of opportunities in this field as you get to work with smart, talented individuals; and get lots of responsibilities at early age. He was assigned in the consumer retail group and tis sparked his interest in retail.
- What his role entails and about his focus on two areas: rolling out test concepts for the brick and mortar side of the business and the alterations group. He adds how he keeps the business going, monitors demand and supply, and keeps an eye on their KPIs.
- How forecasting needs makes them successful and allows them to scale, their rigorous process to onboard tailors, how they source tailors and some of their challenges in hiring.
- Their peaks and valleys and sales patterns for Trunk Club; the hurdles and bottlenecks they experience especially in the people side – stylist to serve customers; and the concepts they are currently introducing to meet their goals in improving customer experience.
- How their back end operations work; and how they ensure that customers enjoy cohesive brand experience while providing individualized service at the same time.
- How mobile impacts Trunk Club customer experience and the initiatives they rolled out—such as messaging, digitizing their tailoring tickets—which enhanced responsiveness and engagement and introduced innovations to an old industry.
- Ariel shares Trunk Club’s differences, similarities and edge compared to its competitors.
Rapid Fire Questions
- Would you put more emphasis on the idea or the execution? How would you weigh each of them and why?
It can be difficult to come up with ideas, strategy and vision but at the same time, if you can’t execute on it, it’s hard for that strategy to come to fruition. Execution has to be pretty tight to be able to succeed. I’ll put 60%-70% for execution and 30%-40% for strategy.
- What is your biggest learning lesson on your journey so far?
The importance of getting the buy in of people who will be using the tools. If they are not comfortable with the tools and your messaging, your strategy is not going to come out the way you want it to come out.
- What is your favorite business book?
On Emotional Intelligence by The Harvard Business Review
- What is your favorite digital resource?
National Retail Federation
- What is your favorite app and why?
My Podcast button in my iPhone
- What is the coolest thing that you are working on right now that you want everyone to know about?
I’m working on opening our Boston looking so if you are in the area, stop by and visit!