Name: Warren Satchell
Title: Men’s Fashion Editor, Amazon.com
Born: Richmond, VA
Live: Harlem NYC
Work: NYC & Seattle, WA
- Fashion Editor: Amazon Fashion
- Director of Merchandising: Original Penguin
- Director of Buying: Kenneth Cole
- Director of Buying & Merchandising: Indigo Books & Music
- Product Manager: Gap Europe
- Senior Merchandise Manager: Armani Exchange
- Retail Store Manager: L’Occitane
CreativeTypes: What do you do?
Warren Satchell: Gosh where do I begin…. I drive the seasonal fashion forecast across all men’s categories which means identifying trend stories and key items that align with the global trend forecast placed through the Amazon Fashion filter. I own the Amazon Fashion Men’s voice and partner with cross-functional teams (such as marketing) to build and execute a content calendar and experiences that communicate a strong fashion message, strategically represents our customer segments, and is competitively relevant through editorials inclusive of all digital platforms. I attend seasonal buying appointments anywhere from 20 to upwards of 50 strategic brands per category.
I also aid in content, brand or platform strategy work, as well as any other ad hoc projects such as new brand launches internally or externally and fashion segments on our TV show "Style Code Live", etc.
CT: How would you describe your process?
WS: My seasonal process starts with really understanding the trends happening for the next season at a pretty high level. Those trends get distilled down into an actual seasonal trend forecast, marrying research and relevancy with what I’ve seen from the shows, and data/analytics (as it relates to our platform), all placed through the filter of our customer. That forecast informs our seasonal editorial content calendar, which is our “go-to-market” strategy. The buyers from all the respective teams affected; apparel, shoes, watches, accessories, etc., then receive a seasonal trend presentation which is a tool that aids us all in the market. This helps to inform a percentage of our buys for the upcoming season.
My job in the market is to ensure that the buying teams are building product into their assortments that help support the stories we want to tell on the platform. I also identify brands and product that we potentially want to elevate or surface to help bring those stories to life.
CT: Since you are Amazon's first ever Men's Fashion Editor, what are most proud of so far?
WS: Most recently the two projects I’m most proud of are launching the first two inaugural Men’s focused print campaigns for Amazon Fashion.
Also appearing on the first ever men’s style segment for Amazon’s "Style Code Live" TV show.
CT: What skills are needed to do your job? Is a degree a requirement?
WS: I definitely don't think that there's a degree requirement. Perhaps just advanced studies in areas such as retail math, understanding the product development life cycle, and having an in-depth knowledge of what merchandising really and truly is. Those are some of the basic elements you need to fundamentally have, especially in leu of on-the-job experience.
In terms of personality traits: be willing to learn, be flexible, listen, give up the need to always be right, give 150%. Always maintain a network. A CEO once told me he has at least 5 coffee dates a week. Get to know people, build solid relationships. You don’t always know how people will fit into your life when you meet them but make a habit of nurturing worthwhile professional relationships.
CT: Besides the right attitude and personality, what other skills are you looking for in people you would hire?
WS: What that looks like today vs. what that looked like 10 years ago for me is very different. I think 10 years ago I definitely would've been looking for someone with this sort of linear background in the sense that they'd have buying experience, merchandising experience, they'd have some sort of fashion retail experience. I think today coming full circle and especially working for a digital platform - a brand that is everything to everyone - I think what I look for is someone with an interest level who is passionate and hungry, and someone with a fashion background, but not necessarily a linear one.
CT: What does the career ladder look like for someone with your background in fashion?
WS: I think the beauty in this role is that the ladder can be kind of whatever you want it to be. I've got this experience in buying & merchandising, and now I'm kind of on the editorial, forecasting and marketing side, I can continue in this space doing fashion direction, art direction, creative direction, or I can even go back to buying & merchandising in a role with a global footprint as it relates to ecommerce. I think it really just depends on where your interest lies. It's good to focus and master one discipline before you pursue others, although they may overlap.
CT: What are some of the foundational aspects needed to have a career in fashion like yours?
- First and foremost a drive that includes dedication and a commitment to learning and growing.
- A solid retail background in buying, merchandising or product development is ideal coupled with some digital experience.
- A taste level and the ability to separate oneself from the customer.
- The ability to partner cross-functionally, the ability to lead, own and influence.
- Having a mentor is never a bad idea.
CT: What do you wish you would've known sooner about the fashion industry?
WS: Absolutely nothing! Honestly, nothing could have prepared me for this journey. However three things I operate by are: 1. My mom always told me to be aggressive about everything I want in this life, 2. If you’re not learning you’re not growing and, 3. Recognize when something, someone or some place is no longer serving you; it’s time to move on.
CT: We've all seen "The Devil Wears Prada" and there's this notion that the fashion industry persona is super aggressive, how do you balance taking initiative in your career versus being too thirsty?
WS: The thirst is apparent when you have someone trying to do everything and be everything to everyone. At the end of the day it's about who you work for as much as it's about you, yourself, as a brand. That's something that I don't think everyone considers nowadays when they're like "oh yeah I can do that, and I can do that..." and there's this thirst but you need to consider what this role, project, etc. really looks like. People that are just getting into the industry and starting to work don't always have this consciousness of their own personal brand and what that actually means. As you continue to climb and grow professionally, those are the things that you need to be really clear on.
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Alysha Cassis-Shaw was selected to connect with Warren by receiving MENTORSHIP for her emerging ecommerce brand, Neutral Ground.
Warren and Alysha have bi-weekly meetings about her brand's long and short-term goals.