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December 3, 2010

Retail Design, New York City Tourism, and New Beginnings

by mikediliberto

My wife and I just returned from a trip to New York to visit with my family, and while there we managed to spend one of our days in New York City, where I grew up.

(my family just recently realized that I have nearly reached the point where I have not lived in New York for as long as I lived in New York, and they took this opportunity to remind me of this newly discovered fact several times. Thanks mom!)

We had a chance to have dinner with some friends, who asked my wife what quintessential “New York Things” had I taken her to see.  She quickly responded by recounting our first trip to New York, which we spent riding the subway and visiting every Best Buy in Manhattan, along with a few other smaller retailers. In hindsight, probably not the best first impression that I could have provided, however, it serves as a great metaphor for the motivations that drive me as a retail design thinker.  I am passionate about what I do.  A little too much at times.

I started my career in manufacturing, designing and building merchandising solutions, specifically interactive solutions for brand-new consumer electronics categories like video cameras, VCRs, and car stereos.  Later on, I moved into the sales and marketing side of our business, which was an eye opening experience.

It’s one thing to build some metal shelves and add in some interactivity, it is quite another to understand how to build a solution that is “retail ready”, catering to the needs of deployment, service, and support over a nationwide network of retailers.

Having the experience of knowing not only what we need to build to support the customer, but also the manufacturing background to understand how we can build that solution helped me drive sales and earn a reputation for industry leading solutions.

Now I’ve come full circle, having just taken a position as the general manager of a new fixture manufacturing company in China.  Armed with the dual experience of manufacturing and retail display sales, I am re-entering manufacturing management as a more well rounded professional.  Add to that my recently conferred MBA degree from Thunderbird, and I am feeling pretty enthusiastic to be in a position that makes use of all of my skills and passions.

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