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Robert D’Loren: “What you choose to do with your hand, do with all of your might”

With technology constantly transforming the way we live, it is also changing the way we shop. The retail industry has to reinvent itself to meet and overcome these challenges. Personalized shopping, direct selling with replicated storefronts, incorporating AR to enhance the shopping experience, and the creation of a shoppable videos are all significant changes that […]

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With technology constantly transforming the way we live, it is also changing the way we shop. The retail industry has to reinvent itself to meet and overcome these challenges. Personalized shopping, direct selling with replicated storefronts, incorporating AR to enhance the shopping experience, and the creation of a shoppable videos are all significant changes that companies should be prepared to adjust to over the next five years. This will make their supply chains faster, more intelligent, and more efficient. They will need to give their customers what they want when they want it at a fair price. This is all that needs to be done — the challenge is in execution.


As a part of our series about how technology will be changing the beauty industry over the next five years, I had the pleasure of interviewing Robert D’Loren.

Robert D’Loren is an entrepreneur, pioneer and innovator with a 35-year history of success in the consumer products, media and real estate sectors. Founder, Chairman and CEO of Xcel Brands, which owns the Isaac Mizrahi, Judith Ripka, Halston, Longaberger, C Wonder and Highline Collective brands, Robert D’Loren has reimagined shopping, entertainment and social as one, creating a unique omnichannel platform. Bob is disrupting an industry that is ripe for change, and in doing so, is changing the way retail does business. Spearheading and connecting the channels of digital, bricks & mortar, social media and interactive television in order to create a single customer view and brand experience for Xcel’s brands.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I have been a serial entrepreneur and disrupter for nearly my entire life. At age 12, I started my own business while managing the largest paper route in Nassau County NY, that I coupled with a newspaper recycling business. I have never been satisfied with the status quo. I look for industries that are in the process of structural change and innovate solutions for the associated disruption. Ten years ago, Xcel was formed at the precise moment that control over margins shifted from retailers to consumers in the retail sector, and social media changed how we all communicate and socialize. Xcel has been a leading solution provider for many of today’s challenges in the consumer sector, particularly in Interactive TV (QVC, HSN, etc.), where we have generated over 3 billion dollars US retail sales.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

There have been many interesting stories and twists and turns in my career path. At age 34, I developed and pioneered an innovative way to underwrite bonds backed by intellectual property income streams. I formed a joint venture called UCC Capital with Prudential Securities and then recently retired Chairman of EMI Music, Charles Koppelman. The firm quickly became the industry leader in financing music and film copyrights and cracked the code on whole company securitizations, winning us and me countless awards for innovation and deal-making. We ultimately restructured a small publicly traded shoe company (Candies Shoes) and created one of the country’s first and largest brand licensing companies (Iconix). We grew the market cap from 30MM dollars to over 1BB dollars. This lead the way and birth of similar companies and started an industry. The most interesting thing about those ten years of my life was the mashing up of two very different cultures media, entertainment, and fashion with Wall Street all under one roof. I could write an award-winning sitcom about day-to-day activities and office interaction between staff, management, famous clients, and especially me and Charles.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson or takeaway you learned from that?

I started an asset management and funding company when I was 27. It all happened fast. I raised capital, built an office, and hired smart people in weeks’ time. We opened the office, and an industry leader and mentor called me and said — “I just walked by your office and noticed that your sign states that you manage “capitol”; I didn’t know you were moving into politics.” That was to say the least embarrassing as hell and a lesson in the importance of staying in the watchtower and flying down into the details when necessary.

Are you working on any new exciting projects now? How do you think that might help people?

We are working on an extremely exciting project in social commerce. I believe that the future of retailing and social commerce is based on a new model where it will be the many for the many not the one for the many. We have recently launched a digital peer-to-peer home products business that empowers thousands of people with the ability to sell products and earn money from anywhere they are located by using a mobile device, tablet or desktop. All powered through AI enhanced technology, video and live streaming content.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

The future of the industry is all about technology and connecting to the customers. Xcel has always had a clear vision to reimagine shopping entertainment and social media as one thing, creating an omni-channel approach. Technology has dramatically changed the way brands connect with their followers and create brand experiences. These same technologies have shifted control over margin and the influence over trends to the consumer. The retail industry must truly reinvent itself and innovate to meet today’s challenges. You need to stay balanced, never cross over a line that will compromise your integrity and have the courage to change things. Finally, you must stay flexible.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

This is simple — My father. His epitaph reads “What you choose to do with your hand, do with all of your might.” This is from Ecclesiastes 9:10.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

My personal experiences have inspired me to help others achieve their goals. I am passionate about and committed to my community and church. My goal is to help others in the pursuit of excellence, which has the driving force behind my own personal and professional achievements. I also have used my success to be a voice for those that cannot speak loudly for themselves. I have supported charities for children and physically challenged people for most of my adult life.

Ok super. Now let’s jump to the main question of our interview. Can you share 5 examples of how retail companies will be adjusting over the next five years to the new ways that consumers like to shop?

With technology constantly transforming the way we live, it is also changing the way we shop. The retail industry has to reinvent itself to meet and overcome these challenges. Personalized shopping, direct selling with replicated storefronts, incorporating AR to enhance the shopping experience, and the creation of a shoppable videos are all significant changes that companies should be prepared to adjust to over the next five years. This will make their supply chains faster, more intelligent, and more efficient. They will need to give their customers what they want when they want it at a fair price. This is all that needs to be done — the challenge is in execution.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Give people a chance to spend more time doing the important things in life, all while they can make a living to support their families. Nurture the many for the many.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Readers can connect with me through LinkedIn and Twitter. Also, stay connected to Xcel Brands through the social media of all our brands.

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