From Burlington Coat Factory to Meijer to TJ Maxx to online retailers like Zulily and Wayfair, Michelle Axelrod has worked with a diverse array of retail partners in her time at Kids2. Now serving as the Senior Account Manager for Target, Michelle cites establishing close relationships as key to creating tiny wins for retail partners and strong sales, and notes Kids2’s entrepreneurial spirit makes it a unique place to work.
Q: How would you say you use insights to drive sales and work with retail partners?
A: Insights is part of everything we talk about. Everything we do and initiate with the retailer starts with insights. It makes the conversation easier and so much more impactful.
And what it does is allows us to take a step back. Not only are we in it for the retailer and what benefits them but what’s going to benefit the end consumer. Because if the consumer is happy, they’re going to tell their friends, they’re going to buy it again, they’re going to buy it for their next child, a baby shower, etc., and not only is that retailer going to get more sales, Kids2 is going to get more sales.
The conversation with insights makes it so much more. We’re not just selling to you, we’re showing you what’s needed - here’s what moms are excited about, here’s all the features and benefits of the product, here’s how we’re going to activate and make this item awesome. And once we have the product in the market, we follow through. We see how the sales are and monitor: Was retail at the right price point? Are we struggling? Do we need to look at other options? It’s always insights-led because then it makes us much more valuable partners. We’re not just in it for a one-time sale. We want to create these long-lasting relationships.
Q: During your time at Kids2, you’ve had experience with many different retailers. Can you talk about what it is like to work with a broad array of retailers?
A: It’s been an awesome experience to see how they all operate and what their buyers are interested in because they all have different ways they look at the business. Especially retailers that are completely different, who is their shopper? Who is their target consumer? How do we mold that into what products we have and mold that into our recommendations?
Q: What makes each retail relationship different?
A: Your mindset is totally shifting on how you approach each business. What are the insights you bring to the table to talk about? One of the great things about having so many brands and so many price points is we have something to offer everyone. It’s working to find just the right mix. What is the right blend of it all to give retailers a full statement of what parents are looking for?
Q: What has been your favorite part of being a Senior Account Manager at Kids2?
A: One of my favorite things about the job, and what I also I think I do very well, is relationship building. It’s important that when I’m working with my buyer, it’s not just a transactional relationship, but that we’re getting to know each other, and I’m making an effort to build a partnership beyond the business side.
A: How do you think you’ve grown to be the best since you’ve arrived here?
A: It’s a lot of time, and a lot of challenges. I’ve had stressful times. I’ve had times where I’ve almost felt like, "Can I do this?" And I think what I’ve always tried to do is really use my leaders. I’ve been lucky enough to always have a great leadership team, and I use them a lot. I always think they’re there to help us. I’ve always tried to be very humble to seek out help and seek out my leaders to get them involved in my journey. We have so many awesome people at Kids2.
Q: Tell me more about the best part of working for Kids2 and its culture.
A: The great thing about Kids2 is you are empowered to try different things and be entrepreneurial and go to your leaders and say, "I tried it this way, here’s how it worked, here’s how it didn’t. What do you think I should do differently next time?" To me that’s the best way to learn.