Bonnie Takhar, Nicholas Kirkwood and More Sound Off on Year Ahead

Bonnie Takhar, Nicholas Kirkwood and More
Bonnie Takhar
BFANYC.com

We asked five top execs and designers to talk about the challenges and opportunities in the year ahead. Here’s what they had to say:

1. Bonnie Takhar, president, Charlotte Olympia

Top Opportunity: “Developing our retail network and focusing on competitive pricing.”

Biggest Challenge: “Managing our business around the volatility created by geopolitical issues in key markets and fluctuating currency rates.”

Overall Outlook: “Positive, particularly given the strong performance trend in the footwear category.”

2. Dave Grange, president, Lacoste Footwear USA

Top Opportunity: “Prioritizing our women’s business and driving our top-tier trend strategy, alongside building our premium casual and casual-elegance pillars of the collection.”

Biggest Challenge:Continuing to deliver high-quality fashion and lifestyle product while keeping the balance between our rich heritage and future trends.”

Overall Outlook: “Positive. Both the Lacoste brand and Pentland are entering an exciting era. We have new focus and real insight and data about our consumer, which allows us to be much more connected. We have great people, a dynamic culture and positive team spirit which is a pleasure to be a part of everyday”

3. Nicholas Kirkwood, designer

Nicholas Kirkwood's Favorite Shoes Nicholas Kirkwood Courtesy photo

Top Opportunity: “2014 was an incredible year of growth for the business, and I’m excited to show the upcoming collections. There is a real focus for next year, and I’m looking forward to revealing more!”

Biggest Challenge: “I’m always in pursuit of the elusive work-and-life balance.”

Overall Outlook: “New opportunities — that’s what next year is all about.”

4.  Natalia Barbieri, co-founder, Bionda Castana

Natalia Barbieri of Bionda Castana Natalia Barbieri of Bionda Castana Courtesy photo

Top Opportunity: “E-commerce. Our e-commerce business outperformed in 2014, so we are looking forward to 2015.”

Biggest Challenge: “Trying to get our first retail store up and running.”

Overall Outlook: “We will be focusing on wholesale growth and integrating that with e-commerce and retail to improve our margin.”

5.  Sarah Flint, designer

Top opportunity: “Starting this Spring, we will be sold in Barneys Chicago, as well as 25 other high-end retail doors nationwide.”

Biggest Challenge: “Being a small business in a competitive market. But my passion and commitment to my footwear business has turned those challenges into a positive experience.”

Overall Outlook: “I’m thrilled to be heading into spring with such great retail partners. I am continuing to build on each collection and have a great team in place.

For more thoughts on 2015 from top execs, click here.