Featured: La Presse

Translated from La Presse

GROUPE DYNAMITE HIRES AN AMERICAN TO STEER ITS EXPANSION

LA PRESSE

MARIE-EVE FOURNIER

An American with extensive experience in retail has been recruited by Montreal retailer, Groupe Dynamite, as president. In office just before the pandemic, Elizabeth Edmiston spent the last seven years in Hong Kong where she worked for Levi’s and Calvin Klein after stints at Victoria’s Secret, Polo Ralph Lauren and Gap.

During a phone call, Dynamite and Garage owner, Andrew Lutfy, raved about Ms. Edmiston, who was discovered after nearly a year of searching around the world. “I am blown away to have her. She is a remarkable woman. […] She likes to create value; she’s a growth-oriented person.”

The very specific expertise that was sought “does not exist here”, according to the businessman, which explains “this big move” from Asia to Quebec.

The news has not yet been released publicly due to the pandemic. La Presse discovered that Elizabeth Edmiston was the new president of Groupe Dynamite when she attended a retail webinar in the United States a few days ago.

The leader moved to Montreal in the middle of January with her family and took office a few weeks before the pandemic.

“We had a 30-day, 60-day, 90-day plan. Look, after two weeks, I didn’t know where the paper was, the document. It all fell apart. We were agile. […] Every day was like a week, every week was like three months. At worst, we had 90 or 95% of our staff on temporary layoff,” says Andrew Lutfy.

Elizabeth Edmiston doesn’t know where to start when asked to describe her first month on the job. She bursts out laughing before saying that it was “like a shock, a wave”.

“I had to manage the growth, but I was closing the stores. We have taken such quick action. It was an amazing crash course… that I wouldn’t recommend to anyone!”

Elizabeth Edmiston

Events obviously continue to jostle on both sides of the border. While the stores have just reopened in New York, they are now closing in California. In Quebec, the two DIX30 stores had to be closed because employees had contracted COVID-19 “after going for a beer at the Mile Public House”.

HANDING OVER THE REINS AFTER THREE YEARS

For more than three years, Andrew Lutfy had run his company of 6,000 employees himself.

We all recall that in winter 2017, Anna Martini left Groupe Dynamite to everyone’s surprise in the retail industry. The accountant by training was president of the company for almost 13 years. Andrew Lutfy had convinced her in 2004 to leave Deloitte, after 19 years of service, to devote herself to fashion for young women. The reasons for her departure remain confidential.

The businessman says he took the reins because the company needed “strategic repositioning.”

In the process, Groupe Dynamite set up its first board of directors last year. None of the members are part of the owner’s family, says Lutfy. Rather, they are “growth-driven” people with expertise “in the world of luxury, technology and private finance.” Their meetings led to the search for a new leader.

AMBITIONS IN THE UNITED STATES

Elizabeth Edmiston, who was unfamiliar with the Montreal company, told us that she took the job for personal and professional reasons. She wanted to come back to live in America to be closer to her family, and she was stimulated by the challenge. “I like building brands and prefer vertically integrated companies. […] I also like to grow brands internationally. So this is a dream job for me. […] Both brands have so much potential.”

Growing the business will be Ms. Edmiston’s primary mission. The number of stores could double again in Canada and “tenfold in the United States”, supposes Mr. Lutfy.

Groupe Dynamite has 350 stores, including 120 Garage and 3 Dynamite south of the border. These are “still quite profitable”, which in itself is quite an achievement, according to the businessman. “To be profitable [in the United States] is almost impossible!”

The new president also believes that her home country “is not an easy market” for foreign brands, but she believes she has the expertise to conquer it.

Read the original article in French at La Presse

A message to our community.

This is an unprecedented moment in our lives, and we’ll continue to be committed to the well-being of our community. 

Respecting social distancing efforts to slow down the spread of COVID-19, our stores have temporarily closed. Additionally, an Employee Relief Program has been set in place to help our employees through this unimaginable time.  

You can always reach out to us on our social media platforms with any questions or concerns you have. 

We’re always here for you. Remember to be there for each other.

IT SPRINTS AND DEMOS

At the end of every sprint on Friday, while sitting on our big comfy couches in our casual open space, we learn from the 8π & Brain squads who present impacts delivered during the sprint. Whether they are releasing cool features for the Store Associates app or a near-real-time Omni-channel inventory memcache system for other teams to reuse, there is always something to learn. This is also a perfect occasion for anyone in the company who wishes to attend these public demos to give feedback and suggest new features for the product line. It’s amazing to see how the products consistently evolve from one iteration to another.

#agile #leanandmean #8πSquad #brainSquad #lifeatGD #product #technology #ibelong

MADISON DURRETT, COMMUNITY AMBASSADOR OF THE YEAR

Groupe Dynamite and its employees are proud to give back to the community by supporting non-profit organizations such as Centraide, the CURE Foundation, the Starlight Children’s Foundation, and many more.

Some employees even find the time to go above and beyond by initiating their own in-house campaigns and making the most of their time off by giving back to their community.

It’s the case for Madison Durrett from our Tacoma Mall Garage store.

In addition to her store Manager role, Madison is involved in various levels of her community. This past year alone, she has:

1)     Participated in organizations affiliated to a local church called Next Gen Youth as a leader and mentor for high school girls.
2)     Taken part in The Tim Tebow Foundation and their famous “Night to Shine”, an unforgettable prom night experience for people with special needs.
3)     Participated in the Ronald McDonald House Charities for which she organized a Christmas toy drive with 4 of our stores and collected donations so the house guests could be cooked for and served when their kids received their treatment. 
4)    Initiated and organized activities, which included the opening of a thrift shop to collect clothing and charitable donations to help students pay for school fees.

Due to her commitment and hard work making a difference, Madison was awarded the “Community Ambassador of the Year” award at our GDA Gala last week.

Our GDA gala is a VIP annual event during which our Executive team recognizes our best talents from the stores.

We couldn’t be prouder of Madison’s astounding achievements and are grateful to count her as part of our Groupe Dynamite extended family!

Congratulations Madison!

Let’s dance!

Fashion retail inspires us to bring our most driven, curious, innovative and creative selves to work every day.

We love what we do and have tons of fun doing it!

We feel it’s a privilege to create beautiful products and build meaningful partnerships with our colleagues while leaving our mark in the retail world. We’re dreamers with a golden heart, going against the tides, thinking outside the box. Sometimes, we even have a few seconds to spare to let loose and bust a move!

See for yourself, and get an exclusive peek at our very own GD Anthem 😉

 

ANNUAL EVENTS

ANNUAL MEETING

Prior to the holiday break, all employees gathered in our Atrium for an action-packed Annual Meeting. Our Executives presented the Company’s strategic highlights for the months to come and our Design teams showcased the Garage and Dynamite spring 2019 collections in two inspiring fashion shows–complete with a bustling cheerleading number!

A HOLIDAY FUNFAIR

We ended things on a high note with our traditional Holiday Party.

A pink and blue funfair welcomed our guests as hors d’oeuvres were passed around.

The night was a huge success thanks to our in-house DJ, live sax player and delicious holiday feast, including a festive dessert table full of colourful cake pops, s’mores and cotton candy bites.

Groupe Dynamite on the winner’s list for Montreal and Canada’s Top Employers for Young People!

We are immensely pleased to announce that, for the second time, we have been named one of Montreal’s Top Employers! Also, for the fourth year in a row, we have won the award for being one of Canada’s Top Employers for Young People!

At Groupe Dynamite, we are dedicated to investing in our current talent and future generations, and creating a work environment where everyone can flourish. Here are a few reasons why we won these awards:

  • Graduate Rotational Program
  • Our corporate events, such as the Annual Meeting, the recruitment cocktails, and the summer BBQ
  • Innovative and creative work space
  • Recognition programs both in stores and at HO

The Montreal’s Top Employers and Canada’s Top Employers for Young People editorial competitions are organized by the Canada’s Top 100 Employers project. These special designations recognize the employers that lead their industries in offering exceptional workplaces.

Canada’s Top Employers for Young People:

More details concerning our nomination as one of Canada’s Top Employers for Young People here.

Behind the jeans – All you want to know about jeans!

Our Denim team participated in a 4-video miniseries called “Behind the jeans”, shared on our Garage website and our social media. In these videos, our denim experts, through quizzes or challenges, share maintenance tips, explain the process behind creating jeans and answer a few questions to test their denim knowledge!

Filmed over the course of one day with 11 members from our Head Office’s Denim team, this mini-series was made to entertain and educate you about one of our feature product from Garage’s fall campaign! Our team had a lot of fun with this project and we hope you discovered more about our favorite and timeless staple: jeans!

 

  • Put your jeans in the dryer? Never wash your jeans?

Discover surprising answers about the do’s and don’ts related to the maintenance of your jeans in video # 1! What’s the difference between mom jeans and girlfriend jeans? Which style is best for each silhouette?

 

  • What’s the difference between mom jeans and girlfriend jeans? Which style is best for each silhouette?

In video # 2, you’ll find all the info on all the different types of jeans!

  • Jeans: research, teams, tests, final products and in-store delivery. All explained in 90 seconds!

In video # 3, discover the creative process behind the jeans you find in our stores!

  • We test our experts’ knowledge!

Our Denim team was put to the test in video # 4 by answering a short quiz to test their knowledge!

Happy screening!

 

 

Boho BBQ

True to tradition, we took advantage of one of summer’s last hot sunny days to get together and enjoy delicious grilled food during our summer BBQ.

Everyone enjoyed tasty and festive dishes; poke bowls, tacos, gourmet fries, waffles, churros and margaritas were among the favorites on the menu.

It was also an opportunity for our leaders to put on their aprons and work the grill to serve more than 600 people!

This great summer rendezvous, eagerly awaited each year, offers everyone a well-deserved break before entering the fall season!

Talking Trends with Chanel

Outgoing and passionate, Chanel just loves to make people laugh! She’s a woman with incredible taste and a sense for fashion. Communicator of trends, Chanel is responsible for building monthly fashion content based on upcoming Dynamite collections. She’s the link and connector between the Design and Marketing teams. Her mission: build strong campaign messages and communicate product ideas and trends to our customers.

This fall, be on top of your game with Chanel’s latest fashion tips.

Where do you find your inspiration or feel most inspired?
I’m inspired by old and new, those who do and think differently. When I lack inspiration, I’ll change up my routine: take a walk, a trip, go talk to people about something totally off-topic, watch a documentary. Inspiration can come at the most random times from off-beaten paths.

Describe your killer look.

I love the simplicity behind a really good look made up of great pieces. You can’t go wrong with a good-fitting pair of denim, a basic black or white t-shirt, a leather jacket and amazing heels.

Who’s your fashion icon and why?
I always seem to have a different answer whenever I get asked this question. A constant icon is my mom. In her twenties, she had the best outfits, and was always fully accessorized from head to toe and with crimson red nails. But if there’s someone you want to Google for past and present inspiration, I’d say Jackie Kennedy because of her classic American style, Princess Diana, Victoria Beckham, and as of late, Gilda Ambrosio for her Italiana tomboy-meets-glam looks.

This fall…

  • What trends should we look for?
    For fall, you’ll notice a lot of pieces taking cues from the ‘80s. There’s also an English tartan and collegial trend where you’ll see lots of plaid, herringbone and colourful checks. Animal accents, such as leopard or python, will be impossible to miss. (If you need a crash course or inspiration, rewatch “The Nanny” or “Clueless”.)
  • What’s the “in” colour?
    Fall is eclectic and nearly limitless, so there isn’t just one colour we should all jump on. Lilac and lavender sweaters are light and romantic, mustard yellow is rich, and a bold red will make a statement.
  • What are the top prints?
    Checks in reds, browns and caramels. Leopard is back with a vengeance for fall.
  • What is the Dynamite item we should all line up for and why?
    Without a doubt, a check blazer will take you places. Wear it with jeans, pants or a skirt, or over a cami, turtleneck or basic t-shirt. It’s the most versatile item to own, not only for fall, but throughout the year.
  • What is the must-have jacket?
    A bouclé coat or a long check wool coat.
  • Closet cleaning: what items must go?
    This year, just before summer hit, I purged my closet and got rid of anything that I have not worn in 3-6 months and pieces that just didn’t excite me anymore. Skinny jeans are great, but for fall, try a wide leg or a crop flare. Summer crop tops can be swapped for turtlenecks.
  • Accessories: less or more?
    Think fine and dainty on your neck and hands. But a statement earring every once in a while never really hurt anyone either…
  • What is the biggest fashion faux pas?
    I try not to cancel anything out and say “you shouldn’t wear this or that” because in a few months, you’ll most likely be wearing what said you’d never wear. But what I know for sure is that you should always over dress and don’t wear overtly sexy pieces to the office. Oh, and let me tell you, I was not a fan of the micro, Matrix-looking sunglasses this summer. I think a lot of people are going to look back on that and have some regrets.
  • Tailored and tight or loungey and loose?
    Anyone who knows me knows I’m all about tailored looks. The only time you’ll catch me in loose pants that aren’t palazzos or wide-leg is probably at the airport. Maybe a hoodie at the gym. 
  • Shoes/boots to fall in love with?
    If you want to have fun with footwear this season—and give your skinny pants an update—opt for a ruched boot that you can wear over pants and pair it with a chunky sweater. A short bootie in a python print is great with a mini skirt or even jeans.