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Ira Neimark

Former Bergdorf CEO Ira Neimark



Ira Neimark started out as a Fifth Avenue doorman and eventually became CEO of Bergdorf Goodman—through hard work, smarts, and being in the right place at the right time. When he took over the venerable fashion store, it was doing $38 million in sales. When he left, $500 million. “It is a gold mine on Fifth Avenue,” he said in his book, Crossing Fifth Avenue. We asked him about some tricks of the trade.

Could you talk a little bit about that Bergdorf transformation?
Well, Bergdorf’s was old, dull, and for the blue-haired set. Not exciting. So we brought the haute couture and the press got interested, the customers got interested, and the business took off. We began adding important fashion designers from France, Italy, and the U.S. and the rest is history.

Who were those designers?
Well, I would say that Fendi, from Italy, was most important because they were very influential, and then Giorgio Armani. Then we convinced Yves Saint Laurent to sell Rive Gauche to us, which was limited.

You also had some great parties.
If you brought a designer in, like Fendi, you announced it to the world—in the Post, Times, Women’s Wear Daily. Whenever we had a fashion show, we wanted movie actors and people like Pavarotti in the audience. That got a lot of press and customers who wanted to come.

How else do you spread the word?
You’ve got to advertise. Repetition is the key. Tiffany’s runs in the same position in the Times, and it works. You’ve got to advertise and you’ve got it do regularly.

Tell me about meeting Princess Diana.
The British Fashion Council held a major ball every six months. Princess Diana was the hostess. I was invited to meet her, so I called Turnbull and Asser and ordered a tie in her favorite color. When we were introduced, instead of saying, “I am glad to meet you,” as most people do, I said, “Your Royal Highness, I went to Turnbull and had this tie made in your honor.” And she said, “Mr. Neimark, the blue tie matches your eyes.”

And then you met her again?
A year later Diana was the hostess at another reception, so I wore the same tie. And she said, “Good evening, Mr. Neimark, you’re wearing our tie.”

Where do companies get it wrong—why did you succeed?
Managing inventory. I think it applies to anything—automobiles, pots and pans, or couture, there has to be a strategy and a tactic as to how much inventory to have at any given time. Most people just hope their old inventory will go away, but it won’t.
 

How do you price things in a recession?
You can’t just cut prices—people will expect those prices once things turnaround. Instead, find ways to add value. If you’re a gas station, wash cars that fill up. A clothing store should bring in designers no one else has. Offer something that no one else does.

How about customer service?
Treat the customer as if she is entering your home. I go into stores now, and it’s appalling. A customer holding a full-page ad goes to the store and can’t find a salesperson. It’s beyond my comprehension. This is a major failing.

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January 2019

The Bruce Museum is organizing an exhibition of small artworks created entirely by the public for the public. We invite art lovers of all ages, interests, and abilities to submit a depiction of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bruce Museum
One Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
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Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Website »

More information

In this key moment in our national history and the struggle for women’s equality and freedom of expression, the Fairfield Museum’s exhibition “Flappers: Fashion and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Website »

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The Imagination Movers are a rock band for families and the Emmy-winning stars of a hit TV series seen worldwide on the Disney Junior channel. There are 76 episodes of "Imagination Movers...

Cost: $22.50 - $70.00

Where:
Wall StreetTheater
71 Wall Street
Norwalks, CT  06850
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Sponsor: Wall Street Theater
Telephone: (203) 831-5004
Contact Name: Jeanne Moore
Website »

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World-renowned medium Thomas John is a trusted advisor to influencers and celebrities, including Courteney Cox, Sara Gilbert and Goldie Hawn. He stars on Lifetime’s “Seatbelt...

Cost: See Website

Where:
Ridgefield Playhouse
80 East Ridge Road
Ridgefield, CT  06877
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Telephone: 203-438-5795
Website »

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The Bruce Museum is organizing an exhibition of small artworks created entirely by the public for the public. We invite art lovers of all ages, interests, and abilities to submit a depiction of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bruce Museum
One Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Website »

More information

In this key moment in our national history and the struggle for women’s equality and freedom of expression, the Fairfield Museum’s exhibition “Flappers: Fashion and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Website »

More information

The Maritime Garage Gallery’s latest exhibit features works inspired by art in public places. “Street Level ” brings to life the notion that public art can transforms...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Maritime Garage Gallery
Website »

More information

Show More...
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The Bruce Museum is organizing an exhibition of small artworks created entirely by the public for the public. We invite art lovers of all ages, interests, and abilities to submit a depiction of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bruce Museum
One Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Website »

More information

In this key moment in our national history and the struggle for women’s equality and freedom of expression, the Fairfield Museum’s exhibition “Flappers: Fashion and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Website »

More information

The Maritime Garage Gallery’s latest exhibit features works inspired by art in public places. “Street Level ” brings to life the notion that public art can transforms...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Maritime Garage Gallery
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Bruce Museum is organizing an exhibition of small artworks created entirely by the public for the public. We invite art lovers of all ages, interests, and abilities to submit a depiction of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bruce Museum
One Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Website »

More information

The Maritime Garage Gallery’s latest exhibit features works inspired by art in public places. “Street Level ” brings to life the notion that public art can transforms...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Maritime Garage Gallery
Website »

More information

Wednesday, January 16, 12:30 – 1:30pm: Country Acres & Cul de Sacs in Connecticut: 1938 - 1952 Join Dr. Jay Gitlin, history professor at Yale University and Fairfield Museum curator Laurie...

Cost: Members: Free; Non-Members: $5

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Sponsor: Fairfield Museum and History Center
Telephone: 203-259-1598
Contact Name: Visitor Services Manager
Website »

More information

In this key moment in our national history and the struggle for women’s equality and freedom of expression, the Fairfield Museum’s exhibition “Flappers: Fashion and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Website »

More information

Sleep is the pillar of solid physical and mental health. The science of sleep has made strides in recent years due to advanced medical technology, and the results of sleep deprivation are sobering....

Cost: free

Where:
Pequot Library
720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT  06890
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Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346
Contact Name: Pequot Library
Website »

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Join us to explore adventures in stories about Alice in Wonderland, animals, and games!

Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »

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The Bruce Museum is organizing an exhibition of small artworks created entirely by the public for the public. We invite art lovers of all ages, interests, and abilities to submit a depiction of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bruce Museum
One Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Website »

More information

The Fairfield Chamber of Commerce is hosting its annual 2019 Economic Outlook Breakfast at the Brooklawn Country Club in Fairfield on Thursday morning, January 17th (Snow date: January 18th). ...

Cost: Chamber Members: $40 Non-Members (Public): $50

Where:
Brooklyn Country Club
500 Algonquin Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
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Sponsor: Fairfield Chamber
Telephone: 203-255-1011
Contact Name: Krista
Website »

More information

Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the Hartford Boat Show (HBS50) features the newest boats on the market including center consoles, fishing boats, luxury cruisers, deck and pontoon boats, sport and...

Cost: $12 in advance online, $14 at the door, $10 Senior/Military one day pass

Where:
Expo Center at Mohegan Sun
1 Mohegan Sun Blvd
Uncasville, CT  06382
View map »


Sponsor: Connecticut Marine Trades Association
Telephone: 860-767-2645
Contact Name: Kathleen Burns
Website »

More information

In this key moment in our national history and the struggle for women’s equality and freedom of expression, the Fairfield Museum’s exhibition “Flappers: Fashion and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Website »

More information

Dr. Dan Villiers, co-founder of the Anxiety Institute in Greenwich, Conn., will give a free talk titled In the Trenches: Family Impact and Parenting Strategies for Anxiety and OCD. Dr....

Cost: 0

Where:
Greenwich Town Hall
101 Field Point Road
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: NAMI Southwest CT
Telephone: 203-400-6264
Contact Name: Karen West
Website »

More information

The Maritime Garage Gallery’s latest exhibit features works inspired by art in public places. “Street Level ” brings to life the notion that public art can transforms...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Maritime Garage Gallery
Website »

More information

Robert Kalm discusses his documentary Self Make: The American Dreams of Philip Musica, about the notorious swindler Doctor Frank Donald Coster, also known as Philip Musica, who was a respected...

Cost: Members: Free; Non-Members: $5

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Bruce Museum is organizing an exhibition of small artworks created entirely by the public for the public. We invite art lovers of all ages, interests, and abilities to submit a depiction of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bruce Museum
One Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Website »

More information

In this key moment in our national history and the struggle for women’s equality and freedom of expression, the Fairfield Museum’s exhibition “Flappers: Fashion and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Website »

More information

Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the Hartford Boat Show (HBS50) features the newest boats on the market including center consoles, fishing boats, luxury cruisers, deck and pontoon boats, sport and...

Cost: $12 in advance online, $14 at the door, $10 Senior/Military one day pass

Where:
Expo Center at Mohegan Sun
1 Mohegan Sun Blvd
Uncasville, CT  06382
View map »


Sponsor: Connecticut Marine Trades Association
Telephone: 860-767-2645
Contact Name: Kathleen Burns
Website »

More information

The Maritime Garage Gallery’s latest exhibit features works inspired by art in public places. “Street Level ” brings to life the notion that public art can transforms...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Maritime Garage Gallery
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Bruce Museum is organizing an exhibition of small artworks created entirely by the public for the public. We invite art lovers of all ages, interests, and abilities to submit a depiction of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bruce Museum
One Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Website »

More information

In this key moment in our national history and the struggle for women’s equality and freedom of expression, the Fairfield Museum’s exhibition “Flappers: Fashion and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Website »

More information

We invite you to join us at Dojo Fairfield on Saturday January 19, 2019 when we host the founder/CEO of C.O.B.R.A. Self-Defense, Chris Sutton, for a one-day self-defense/ASRP (Active Shooter...

Cost: $129.00

Where:
DOJO FAIRFIELD
2317 Black Rock Tpke.
FAIRFIELD, CT  06825
View map »


Sponsor: DOJO FAIRFIELD
Telephone: 203.319.9989
Contact Name: Karina Gramesty
Website »

More information

Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the Hartford Boat Show (HBS50) features the newest boats on the market including center consoles, fishing boats, luxury cruisers, deck and pontoon boats, sport and...

Cost: $12 in advance online, $14 at the door, $10 Senior/Military one day pass

Where:
Expo Center at Mohegan Sun
1 Mohegan Sun Blvd
Uncasville, CT  06382
View map »


Sponsor: Connecticut Marine Trades Association
Telephone: 860-767-2645
Contact Name: Kathleen Burns
Website »

More information

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