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

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - By Na­dine Kam nkam@starad­ver­tiser.com

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.”

PHO­TOS BY DEN­NIS ODA / DODA@STARAD­VER­TISER.COM

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.

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