RETAIL SCHMETAIL™ is a lively, thorough, and slightly irreverent examination of retailing in America over the last 100 years.
It begins with the story of identical twin brothers, Al and Lou Stein, who (after returning from World War II) set up shop in downtown Milwaukee in a space more closely resembling a neighborhood garage sale than a bona fide retail operation. Even though neither of these two “from the gut” marketing guys had a high school diploma, they more than compensated for it with their ingenuity, drive, and legendary sense of humor.
Al’s oldest son, Sandy, spent countless hours at “the store” observing the Twins’ antics in this Petri dish of mid-century consumerism. This experience primed him for a rich and wide-ranging career in retail design and consumer trending; and would ultimately provide him many opportunities to share the lessons he learned at Jewelry & Toy Center (circa 1960) with clients and audiences on three continents.
RETAIL SCHMETAIL™ examines the icons, agents of change, and creators of brands in every category, describing the careers of the men and women who, over the last century, influenced what we bought and why we bought it. The book provides an insightful overview of the fundamentals of branding and design and how they have influenced our decision making; this is then combined with a detailed analysis of what makes a great customer experience. RETAIL SCHMETAIL™ lifts the veil on the behind-the-scenes, psychological, emotional, and design constructs that separate defining brands from also-rans. It also takes an in-depth look at how technology has provoked unprecedented industry disruption but at the same time has sowed the seeds for the “virtual” reinvention of retail. Stein shares stories about his notable clients and mentors who have played leading roles in his forty-plus-year career in retail planning, trend forecasting, and design.
All the brainy stuff is tempered by stories of Stein’s dysfunctional childhood, his overt geekiness (long before it was fashionable), and his dealing with lifelong chronic illness, discovering coping mechanisms that have helped guide and enlighten but have never defined him. Stein also shares the story of the small but pivotal role he played nearly fifty years ago in the Twins’ personal and professional reinvention and eventual launch of a completely unique concept and defining brand in the marketplace.
Keynote speaking and seminars are being scheduled for early 2014 in conjunction with the book launch. You may contact Sanford directly at firstname.lastname@example.org to plan an event and schedule an appearance.