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Up Close: In Conversation with Joor’s Kristin Savilia

Up Close is Sourcing Journal’s regular check-in with industry executives to get their take on topics ranging from personal style to their company’s latest moves. In this Q&A, Joor’s Kristin Savilia explains how fashion can fight back during COVID-19 and why the business should get away from spreadsheets.

Kristin Savilia Joor
Kristin Savilia, CEO of Joor Courtesy

Name: Kristin Savilia

Title: CEO

Company: Joor

Which other industry has the best handle on the supply chain? What can apparel learn?

Technology has been way ahead with its use of artificial intelligence and machine learning in the overall supply chain. These technologies have been put to use to do everything from delivering more robust forecasting to predicting accurate delivery times.

Last year McKinsey reported that 53 percent of organizations using AI and ML reported increased revenues and 61 percent reported decreased costs. Especially in these times, the apparel industry could see huge gains by putting AI to use.

Of course, AI is only as good as the data that gets collected. That’s where Joor comes in as the leading global wholesale data platform. Our data set is vast enough that it represents the industry overall.

How would you describe yourself as a consumer?

As a CEO with four kids and limited time, I am a convenience shopper. Most of my shopping is done online. Brands without strong digital sites are unlikely to get my business.

As a consumer, what does it take to win your loyalty?

An easy to use e-commerce site and great service. If you take a return back with no questions asked—even if I misordered the item—you have me for life.

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What’s your typical work uniform?

My work outfit is casual. The typical tech company attire is super casual, but I do not go that far. I wear “smart casual.”

Which fashion era is your favorite?

I love the sixties. “Mad Men” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” epitomize my favorite styles. It’s funny, because the clothes really do not look particularly comfortable. I would probably hate dressing that way for work every day, but I just find them classic and beautiful.

Who’s your style icon?

Kate Spade—I admired her simplicity and classic look.

What’s the best decision your company has made in the last year?

We made a number of key partnerships in the last year, beginning with our strategic alliance with Premium Group, and the integration of ORB360 images from Ordre into our platform. All these happened prior to the pandemic. We understood the importance of balancing online and in-person commerce. These partnerships paid more mutual benefits than we would have ever predicted, given the pandemic and its impact on the industry.

Since COVID-19 hit, we’ve picked up a lot more partners, including the British Fashion Council, the Arab Fashion Council, Liberty Fashion & Lifestyle Fairs and the Japan Fashion Week Organization.

We previously offered virtual showrooms on our platform, but in the wake of COVID-19, virtual showroom usage has skyrocketed because they are enabling business continuity for brands and buyers.

How would you describe your corporate culture?

Our company is all about results and getting the best outcomes for brands and retailers in a highly challenging industry. We put a huge emphasis on hiring people who can empathize with the challenges our customers face and deliver great technology. Internally, we focus on transparency and authenticity with one another—that’s my leadership style and I find it’s the approach that works best.

What can companies learn from COVID-19?

Digital transformation is not something that can wait. The companies who were ahead in this area are proving resilient in the face of the pandemic. Others are scrambling to catch up. Our industry has been too slow to transform the B2B side of commerce; the pandemic is making it very clear what already needed to happen.

What should be the apparel industry’s top priority now?

Digital transformation in the supply chain is the most important call to action. The apparel industry is undergoing dramatic change, from shifting seasons to changing consumer preferences to shorter lead times on fewer orders. Brands and retailers must be able to adapt quickly and react to dynamic market conditions. That is not facilitated when working by pen and paper or with spreadsheets.

What keeps you up at night?

Similar to many, I want to move faster. We have so many great ideas, and choosing which to focus on can be a challenge. The pandemic has made many decisions clear, but there are always new products and services we could bring to market. I also want the world to understand the depth and breadth of Joor and how much insight we have to offer brands, retailers and the industry overall.

What makes you most optimistic?

The urgency in which brands and retailers are joining Joor and pushing their own digitization makes me optimistic. This industry is not rolling over. Instead, they are implementing the tools necessary to fight.

Tell us about your company’s latest product introduction/service:

We recently launched Joor Passport—a one-stop shop to streamline the buying experience through a platform that digitizes and unifies the trade show and fashion week experience. The platform delivers a streamlined experience by offering one place to upload data, one website to shop, one app to download and one comprehensive experience.

Joor Passport enables retailers to discover new styles and designers, and brands to generate more connections—regardless of geography or time zone, no travel required. Joor has created unique digital environments for each of our trade show partners so brands can showcase their collections, and invite curated retailers to shop them.