Episode 27: Former CEO The Frye Company Paul Raffin – How Technology Helps Create Retail Experiences

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In this episode, Paul Raffin joins José to talk about how technology is causing retailers to make changes to their businesses not only for growth but to make their customers happy.

Some of the topics/questions we lob to Paul:

  • How is technology being leveraged in order to create experiential formats?
  • What are some of the most interesting and most comprehensive experiential retail formats that you have seen in the market? How are they leveraging technology?
  • It seems that retailers have been trying to keep up with customers rather than leading them. How can retailers with a large store network incorporate technology into their organizations? Perhaps their existing organizations need to change – if so, how do their organizations need to change?
  • Let us talk a little bit about the elephant in the room – Amazon. Its apparel business is expected to grow to $50B in sales by 2020 – about 12% of the apparel market. How can brick-and-mortar retailers respond?
  • Do you think that this technology should be outsourced or create in-house?

Here’s a bit about Paul.

Paul Raffin is an internationally known C-Suite executive, with over forty years of experience managing consumer goods businesses across a wide spectrum of the Fashion Industry spanning department store retail, wholesale, direct-to-consumer, vertical specialty retail, luxury, and trading company, men’s, women’s, kids apparel, accessories, and footwear. Ruffin has held CEO, President or Division President roles at The Frye Company, Li & Fung USA-Mens, Kids and Entertainment Licensing Group, Frette, DZ Trading, Express, J. Crew and Gant as well as Board roles with dELiA*s and Rosie Pope.

Paul is known first and foremost as a highly experienced merchant, having worked with industry luminaries from the late Marvin Traub to Les Wexner and Michael Weiss to William and Victor Fung. These opportunities have provided him with invaluable experience in selecting products which resonate with customers and successfully running a variety of business models at different levels of scale. Raffin has led $1Billion+ revenue businesses as well as more entrepreneurial ventures. Throughout his career, Raffin has displayed a strong track record of Brand Stewardship, producing impressive financial results. An avid student of the industry, he is passionate about the art and science of “pattern recognition” and enjoys discovering innovative solutions aimed at improving results.

Raffin has an impressive track record at building, retaining and managing world class talent. He is committed to investing in the culture within an organization and has had deep experience in synthesizing change agendas. Paul is passionate in leading companies which develop their people and evolve their processes in order to unlock both speed to market and innovation necessary in today’s dynamic marketplace.

Most recently, Raffin has served as President & CEO of The Frye Company, positioning that brand for explosive growth within the Direct-to-Consumer segment. Raffin has also founded a consulting firm, The Merchant Matrix, LLC, whose objective is to optimize the symbiotic relationship between a brand’s promise, and the technology that can help deliver that in an exciting way. Paul was recently featured in a major M.I.T. Sloan School publication about Enterprise Leadership and has recently joined the XRC Lab, an accelerator affiliated with The New School and KSA, as a mentor.



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