When you think of luxury shoes, some names that often come up are Leifsdottir for Anthropologie, Freda Salvador, Charles Philip, Jack Rogers, Aquazzura – just to name a few. At the helm of branding and production behind these brands is New York based Peter Marcus Group. The group’s partners are industry executives with a combined experience of over 60 years. With bases all over the world, PMG builds products and brands from start to finish, from concept to sale and everything in between including design, sourcing, PR and retailer relations. We sat down with Ivanna Majic, head of production and product development, at the shoe heaven showroom in New York and we talked about a typical day in the life, misconceptions about the industry, and favorite part about the job. [Eye candy to follow]
FOR MANY OF YOUR CLIENTS, PMG DESIGNS, DEVELOPS AND PRODUCES ACCESSORY AND FOOTWEAR PRODUCTS. HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN THE INDUSTRY?
I interned for Rebecca Taylor summer after junior year of college and it really opened up a lot of doors for me. PMG was the license for Rebecca Taylor at the time, which is how I found out about the job. I flew in for the interview, got the job that day, and was out here 5 days later sleeping on my brother’s couch.
HOW HAS YOUR PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE PREPPED YOU FOR THIS POSITION?
I’ve been really lucky to learn from some amazing people. My boss at Rebecca Taylor got me the job I have today and taught me the ropes of the industry. I’ve also been able to work for some extremely successful women who’ve taught me that you don’t need to be a bitch to be on top.
HOW HAS PMG MAINTAINED ITS SUCCESS WITH MANY OF ITS PARTNERSHIPS IN THIS FIELD?
Since we are such a small firm, we are able to give one-on-one attention to every client. We look at what is missing in the market and where you fit into those dips. We then help you design, create and sell a product that is on trend and priced right for your brand.
PMG MAINTAINS ITS EXPERTISE IN SOURCING, PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT, LINE BUILDING, MERCHANDISING, THEIR FACTORY BASE AND SOLID RETAIL RELATIONSHIPS. HOW DO YOU MAINTAIN THE RELATIONSHIPS WITH CLIENTS AND RETAILERS?
Two words: Peter (owner) and Gladys (EVP of Sales). I work with two of the best of the best in the shoe world. Gladys is the most popular girl I know and can sell you the shoes off of her feet like they were gold. I couldn’t have asked for better mentors in this industry. Peter was born into the shoe business and knows everything there is to know. He has been the best mentor I could have asked for!
YOUR PRODUCTION BASE IS PRIMARILY IN ITALY AND BRAZIL WITH ADDITIONAL SOURCING FROM PARTS OF EUROPE AND ASIA. WITH COORDINATION ALL ACROSS THE WORLD, WHAT IS A TYPICAL WORK DAY LIKE FOR YOU?
Good or bad, I have no typical day. Sometimes I’m up at 7AM on a conference call with Brazil or at 8PM with China. The job is definitely not a 9-5 but when you do what you love, you hardly notice. A definite perk is traveling. I was just in Brazil working in our offices there for a week and got to sneak over to Rio for the weekend with our designer.
FAVORITE PART ABOUT YOUR JOB?
SHOES! But I really love what I do and more importantly – who I do it for.
BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION ABOUT THE INDUSTRY?
That it’s glam. I’ve had to unpack boxes in a dark, damp warehouse at JFK to sticker shoeboxes 10 minutes before they were on the Bergdorf sales floor. Now Bergdorf’s – that’s glam.
WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO SURVIVE IN THIS INDUSTRY?
Dedication, honesty and a thick skin.
YOUR SHOWROOM IS SHOE HEAVEN! FAVORITE SHOE AT THE MOMENT?
The fun thing about having a multi-brand showroom is being able to pick shoes for any mood you’re in. When I’m feeling preppy, I wear my Jack Rogers. When I’m feeling sexy, I wear my Aquazzura. When I’m downtown or around BK, I put on my Freda Salvador’s. And when I want a fun pop of color or print, I grab a pair of Charles Philip’s.
ARE THERE ANY OTHER BRANDS YOU ARE LOOKING TO TAKE ON UNDER THE PMG UMBRELLA?
We are launching Trina Turk for Spring. I just put the final touches on the samples that will be in our showroom in a month for the spring market and they are awesome. I see big things for them! We always have about 4 different projects we are looking into at any given moment. There are a few projects we are working on now that I’m not allowed to say BUT they are very, very cool.
YOU’VE LIVED IN BOTH CHICAGO AND NEW YORK. HOW DOES THE SCENE AND VIBE COMPARE?
Chicago is an amazing city but there is this magnetic force that you don’t find anywhere else but New York. It pulls you in and pushes you to do bigger and better. You really do see trends start here and it is extremely motivating, especially in my field.
FAVORITE SPOTS IN NEW YORK?
Cafe Habana for their Cuban sandwiches and elotes. They have a to-go around the corner where you can sit on a stoop in the summer and people watch. The Jane or Westway for dancing with my gals and Flex Mussels for a date spot with the boy.
Photos by Rumala at Peter Marcus Group