Eye for fashion + Bottom line
Donna Desrosiers, our founder, has extensive operating experience restructuring and growing specialty retailers in Canada and the U.S. She offers clients a proven eye for fashion and the bottom line.
Build-up and initial brand experience
Donna began her career as a Junior Buyer at Suzy Shier, Canada’s premier fashion specialty retailer, when it had 30 doors. As her contributions to the company’s growth were recognized, Donna eventually was elected Executive Vice President with merchandise and operating responsibility for Suzy’s 240 doors.
Among her accomplishments at Suzy, Donna developed and launched three proprietary brands: “Urban Life” casual wear; “Santa Barbara” denim; and “Suzy Girl”, a 25 door pilot program targeting the “tween” market that grew to a 100 doors, and today operates under the La Senza Girl banner, a Division of Limited
From Suzy, Donna joined prominent Canadian specialty retailer, Ricki’s, then operated by the Brennikmeyer family, where she was second in command. Her mandate was to turnaround and reposition the company as a leading retailer of young contemporary fashion.
Donna’s first steps were to reset the fashion and strategic direction of the company. With that and a consistent focus on product and profitability, she drove Ricki’s successful turnaround over the next eighteen months. Today Ricki’s is a 125 door Division of Comark Inc., a KarpReilly LLC portfolio company.
Restructuring, repositioning and brand launch
After turning around Ricki’s, Donna joined U.S. publicly listed fast fashion retailer Charlotte Russe as Executive Vice President responsible for the merchandise and financial performance of 350 doors throughout the U.S. Her specific mandate was to restructure the merchandise team and reposition the Company’s merchandise strategy.
Donna quickly set about making changes. These included: Establishing new controls and procedures focused on managing inventory and improving gross margins; Repositioning the merchandise focus around lifestyle and key items; And, integrating the merchandise and planning functions. The result was a relatively quick and significant improvement in performance at the store level.
Donna also conceived and launched Charlotte’s proprietary denim brand, “REFUGE”. REFUGE was quickly accepted by the Charlotte customer, and is today the leading contributor to Charlotte’s performance.
Optimizing and monetizing two surf banners
From Charlotte, Donna joined nZania Corp of Irvine, CA as President of their Retail Division. Her mandate was to turnaround two surf banners with 50 doors that nZania had purchased out of bankruptcy.
Each banner sold casual mens’ and ladies’ active apparel, swim wear, accessories, footwear, and sunglasses. Over the next eighteen months, Donna closed underperforming doors, improved or stabilized performance at the remaining doors, and oversaw the sale of the businesses to Billabong.
Donna formed D&D Enterprise Group, Inc. to pursue a license opportunity with a promising U.S. designer. In the fall of 2008, D&D broadened its scope to provide expert advisory, planning, product development and interim management services to specialty retailers looking to grow their business profitably.