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Company: Xcel Brands, Inc., New York, NY USA
Category: ;Employer of the Year – Retail

Entry Title: Xcel Brands, Inc.


A leading retail disruptor, Xcel Brands was founded in 2011 by Robert (Bob) D’Loren, who recognized that retail as we know it must change. In response, Xcel delivered the first-of-its-kind ‘fast to market’ model to the fashion industry with the goal of reducing production time and delivering consumer-driven fashion and lifestyle goods to consumers, without sacrificing quality, in as little as 6 weeks – that’s 530% faster than the industry average of 6-9 months.

Tech-Driven Solutions

Technology and data science are shaping the future of retail. At the core of Xcel’s innovative supply chain is the company’s proprietary Integrated Technologies Platform, which Xcel Brands continued to refine and perfect in 2017-2018. This state-of-the-art platform is focused on adopting new strategies that emphasize increased flexibility and faster-paced production windows to adapt to increasing competition and giving customers more control of their shopping experience. 

Xcel Brands is leveraging market-leading technologies to improve its ability to identify and execute on emerging design trends and inventory opportunities – all under one roof. These technologies include trend analytics, consumer insights, AI, data science and design technology such as 3D sampling and algorithm-based design. Xcel Brands has partnered with leading technology companies to test and refine weekly while in the design phase, identifying styles with the highest consumer interest developed proprietary search capabilities by decoding and classifying social, search, and ecommerce SKU data. Xcel Brands is laying the groundwork for a future in which design and production via artificial intelligence is a reality. The goal is to be the first to market in quick-time automated domestic production, which is directly tied to and predicted upon consumer demand. 

As Xcel Brands moves toward a more automated and digitized approach, it remains steadfast in its belief that technology and human touch work hand-in-hand. Xcel Brands continues to see its employees – from designers to manufacturers to merchandisers – play an integral role in the company’s current and future growth. Xcel Brands trains its team to work with our new technologies and advancements – from trend analytics software to 3D design renderings – to give them a stimulating and innovative work environment, where they are the experts.

Company Growth & Success

·      Over the past 5 years Xcel has grown to be one of the largest global suppliers to interactive TV networks like QVC, HSN, and The Shopping Channel. In 2016, it launched a fast-to-market apparel design and production supply chain and Integrated Technology platform for the department store channel of distribution. This platform has grown from 0 to 750 shop in shops over the past 24 months. Xcel has developed one of the most advanced Integrated Technology platforms including 3D design, trend analytics, data science consumer insight testing and is paving the path to implementation of AI in its design process. A similar platform is being implemented for supply chain management that provides speed and full transparency in design and production.

·      Xcel provides flex time off during summer months and Christmas holiday season to maintain work/life balance for its employees. Xcel provides an entrepreneurial environment whereby employees can develop and grow alongside Xcel’s growth.

Over the past year, in recognition of its innovative business model, Xcel Brands was named:

-       A “2017 Top Innovator” by Apparel Magazine

-       One of the Top 100 Accessories Brands & Players by Accessories Magazine

-       A Company of Year – Medium Category Silver Winner by Best in Biz

 Fostering a strong, company culture, and healthy living, has always been a priority at Xcel Brands. Leadership has incorporated various initiatives to help employees lead healthy lives, including initiating a smoothie (protein) bar and healthy food in the office, and offering free gym memberships. In addition, Xcel’s staffing has remained stable from 2016 to 2017. 

Summarize in up to 10 bullet points

·         Retail Sales Growth (Success)

·         Team Expansion 

·         Positive media coverage for the company and its brands in national business and retail publications such as Bloomberg, Forbes, HuffPost, CNBC.com, WWD, among others.

·         Named a “2017 Top Innovator” by Apparel Magazine

·         Named one of the Top 100 Accessories Brands & Players by Accessories Magazine

·         Named a Company of Year – Medium Category Silver Winner by Best in Biz

·         Development and formalization of its proprietary Integrated Technologies Platform

·         Judith Ripka celebrating 40 years in business, 20 years on QVC and $2B in lifetime retail sales

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