This series consists of 14 oral history interviews, which discuss the history of Bloomingdale's, President Marvin Traub, as well as the store's current status and future plans. Interviews were conducted between November, 1986 and January 1987 by Estelle Ellis.
In this conversation, Marvin S. Traub talks about his start at Bloomingdale's, and details his first seven positions at the company. He describes the Bloomingdale's customer as being someone who is interested in change and forward fashion, someone who "likes different things at different times" and who expects Bloomingdale's to alert them to the newest trends. Traub expresses his pride at helping to develop the careers of some of the industry's influential designers and executives and credits Bloomingdale's success to its team of talented and respectful employees. Traub talks about the role his wife has played in his life and he discusses his three children and their endeavors. In discussing some of the major changes at Bloomingdale's during Traub's tenure, there is mention of the Country Promotions, the branded shopping bags, the in-house boutiques, and Bloomingdale's role as a cultural center within a community. Traub referes to several different people as role models and peers, including Jed Davidson, Martha Graham, Bill Blass, and his wife, Lee.
This conversation has three main components: first, Tomchin discusses his work in the home furnishings department, consolidating the department into one cohesive collection under the guidance of a fashion director, similar to the structure of the clothing departments. This allowed the department to present more fully developed design ideas to the customer, encouraging the customer to work as her own decorator, just as the fashion departments allowed her to be her own stylist. Next, Tomchin speaks at length about Bloomingdale's emphasis on exclusivity of product, whether through the development of Bloomingdale's own signature products, through the introduction of new international products through the country promotions, or through the collaborative efforts between Bloomingdale's and manufacturers to create products that would be of special interest to the Bloomingdale's customer. This convseration focuses heavily on the importance of the educated buyer in understanding other cultures and being able to translate the excitement of products to the customer. Finally, Tomchin speaks to the major contributions and milestones of Bloomingdale's CEO Marvin S. Traub, who opened 5 new Bloomingdale's stores during the first 8 years of Tomchin's tenure with the department store. Traub is described as having a parental sense of care and interest in the store and as having a level of respect for the customer that translated into thoughtful selection and exhibition of products.