General manager of Saks Fifth Avenue in Waikiki returns home
The general manager of the new Saks in Waikiki combines isle roots with retail experience
The opening of Saks Fifth Avenue at the International Market Place will mark a homecoming for Shelley Tadaki Cramer, who grew up in the islands and is returning as vice president and general manager of the Waikiki store after spending 18 years in the retail industry on the mainland.
Cramer got her start in the Liberty House buying office 20 years ago before leaving to attend Gonzaga University, where she earned her M.B.A. degree.
“I ended up staying for opportunities, and I’m glad Saks had an opportunity for me to come home, so I’ve come full circle,” Cramer said Monday at the store, where boxes were being opened, mannequins dressed and displays set up in preparation for the store’s grand opening Thursday.
The store will open after a 9:15 a.m. blessing; company president Marc Metrick and model Emma Hepburn Ferrer, granddaughter of Audrey Hepburn, will be among the guests. Ferrer will appear on behalf of Decorte, a Japanese luxury beauty brand available exclusively at Saks.
Beauty lovers will be able
It’s important for me to infuse the Saks brand with the spirit of aloha so that everyone feels that spirit when they walk into the building” Shelley Tadaki Cramer Vice president and general manager, Saks Fifth Avenue
to enjoy Cirque de Beaute, an event featuring makeovers, product sampling, fall previews and demonstrations on the ground floor.
The 80,000-square-foot store will feature shopping on three levels, with a full range of men’s and women’s ready-to-wear, jewelry, shoes and cosmetics.
Waikiki seems obvious territory for a department store, but besides Liberty House-turned-Macy’s, it’s long been a landscape full of high- and low-end standalone boutiques.
Cramer chalks it up to there not being enough parking to accommodate department store traffic, a situation that will be remedied by International Market Place’s 700-stall parking garage.
“Everyone will find it easy to get in and get out,” said Cramer, who intends to offer a product mix that replicates the diversity of boutiques. “We will have items that sell at a $35 price point to a $10,000 price point, a range that addresses all customers.”
Cramer spent her career working in high-end retail for Louis Vuitton, Montblanc, Cartier and Max Mara before joining Saks four years ago. Her last position was assistant general merchandising manager at Saks Fifth Avenue in San Francisco.
She continued to return home every year to visit family, while keeping an eye on the local retail scene.
“Everything has evolved,” she said. “Ala Moana has exploded with every vendor you could imagine, but Saks’ opening will be a game changer for Waikiki.
“Waikiki is known for having an invisible wall between locals and tourists. My goal is to break down that wall to make sure everyone feels welcome,” she said. “It’s important for me to infuse the Saks brand with the spirit of aloha so that everyone feels that spirit when they walk into the building.”
The ultimate service with aloha is embodied by the Saks at Your Service concept, with its “anytime, anywhere” philosophy of catering to clients’ needs. That includes meeting before the store opens or after it closes, responding to fashion emergencies, providing delivery and shipping services and more.
“I’m thrilled to be home,” said Cramer, a mother of two girls, ages 11 and 5. “I was always looking for an angle to come home because it’s what I wanted for myself and my family. It’s a great place to raise children.”
Reflecting the velvet trend for fall, Jenny Kim wears a Marc Jacobs dress embellished with velvet flowers ($895) from Saks Fifth Avenue. Her Loewe Puzzle bag is $1,990 and Giuseppe Zanotti sandals are $845. At left, Robert Kudo wears a Tori Richard shirt ($178) created exclusively for Saks.