- 1987 January 16 (Creation)
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MPEG file: 64.2 MB; 46 minutes, 46 seconds. Original Media Format: Cassette
Name of creator
Barbara Bass joined Bloomingdale's in 1980 as Operating Vice President for Branch Store Merchandising and remained with the company for almost seven years. Before coming to Bloomingdale's, Bass had worked for Burdine's, another division of Bloomingdale's parent company, Federated Department Stores. In April 1985, Bass was promoted to Executive Vice President and General Merchandise Manager at Bloomingdale's. This interview takes place roughly one month before Bass was named Chairperson and CEO of San Francisco's I. Magnin & Company, another division of Federated. While she praised Bloomingdale's equal treatment of women in the workplace, her new role at I. Magnin & Co. made her the first female CEO of any of the Federated divisions.
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Estelle Ellis was born on November 12, 1919 in Brooklyn, New York. After graduating from Hunter College in 1940, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and a minor in Journalism, Ellis began a career in publishing. Ellis was crucial in the founding of Seventeen magazine in 1943, assisting Helen Valentine with design and advertising for the magazine. In 1958, Ellis founded Business Image, Incorporated, a creative marketing firm that stressed the importance of market and product positioning. Her company worked primarily with Condé Nast publications but other businesses, such as Yves Saint-Laurent Fragrances, Evan-Picone, AT&T, and Scoville, hired Business Image as well. Beginning in the mid-1960s, Ellis began working with the Fashion Institute of Technology, creating programs and fundraising campaigns to help with financial support. During the 1990s, Ellis focused on writing, co-authoring At Home with Books: How Booklovers Live With and Care for Their Libraries (1995), At Home with Art: How Art Lovers Live With and Care for Their Treasures (1999), and The Booklover's Repair Kit: First Aid for Home Libraries (2000). Estelle Ellis passed away on July 12, 2012.
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This interview covers broad subjects including women in the retail industry, family work balance, and the evolving role of the department store. The majority of the conversation concerns Bloomingdale's CEO at the time, Marvin S. Traub, with whom Barbara Bass worked closely. Bass talk about Traub's strong relationship with his wife, his high energy, his excellent listening skills, and his long-range style of thinking. Bass describes Traub as being pragmatic, and credits this as the reason why women and men are given equal opportunities in Bloomingdale's. Bass doesn't provide much information about her own job, only to describe her role as that of a "liason between the store line and the merchandising organizations." Though this was a time when there was speculation about the future downfall of department stores, Bass is positive in her statement that department stores will remain relavant as long as they continue to evolve with the customer. While Bass observes trends at this time to be less fast and severe than in the past, she does talk about Bloomingdale's as the birth place and death place of new trends. She then describes Bloomingdale's customer to be upscale, educated, "young-thinking", and traditionally dressed.
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AOH163_02 is silent from 00:30:56 to 00:46:36.
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