Retail in Asia had the pleasure to interview TJ Foster, a Senior Engagement Manager at Weave.
TJ is an experienced retail strategy, operations, merchandising and supply-chain professional with proven impact in global retailers, digital native startups and management consulting.
He has a very close connection with Asia and the retail industry having worked with HUGO BOSS across the region and working with Grana in an attempt to bring a Hong Kong digital native to the global stage.
His main experience is in strategic planning, category management, multi-channel sales distribution, and merchandise/assortment planning & pricing.
He has been with Weave for more than 18 months and is an enthusiast for the Weave Activities Month which is one of the ways the dynamic team keep a sense of fun in their daily work.
He works together with the Weave team to prepare the Unlocking Your Retail Value Chain, a one-day conference with a series of interactive knowledge sharing sessions across the whole value chain within the global footwear, apparel and softgood industries.
RiA: Can you tell us more about Weave?
TJ: Weave is a uniquely specialized team focusing on the manufacture, sourcing, and retailing of soft-goods.
With management consulting at our core we also offer replenishment & analytics and capability building services in order to deliver maximum impact for our clients.
What some people may not know is that we are a strategic subsidiary of the TAL Group. Not only does this give us a foundation in excellence built on years of manufacturing excellence but it also means we are able to tap in to world-class knowledge and best-practices in a field that is constantly changing.
From a personal perspective, the most exciting part of our company is the dynamic team and exciting clients we have worked with. With the perfect blend of experienced industry professionals and those with consulting backgrounds, working with our global, regional and local clients is remarkably rewarding because of the fun we have whilst driving effective results.
RiA: Why did Weave create the 360 conference concept?
TJ: We created the 360 Conference because we believe in building a community built on common interest and a shared vision of a sustainable and inter-connected manufacturing, sourcing and retailing global ecosystem.
Although we have a presence in the United States and Europe our home-base is Asia Pacific – with our key offices in Hong Kong, Vietnam and Singapore. I mention this because it is the key reason why we host the 360 Conference in Hong Kong – it is our headquarter and a global epicenter for the entire industry.
This is the third edition of the 360 Conference and we are committed to the event because it has proven to be remarkably beneficial for everyone involved. Not only is it great for us to meet up with industry experts but it is also amazing to see every participant walking way from the event with something new –whether from a speaker, a panel or even from conversations with the high caliber participants.
RiA: Can you tell us more about where the idea for “Unlocking Your Retail Value Chain” came from?
TJ: “Unlocking your retail value chain” comes from our belief breaking an integrated supply-chain in to smaller pieces so we can deep-dive on the key challenges and opportunities that face the industry today.
I am a big fan of what we have done this year, which is, to break the day’s program out in to the sequence that faces the boss that tells us all what to do – the final customer!
We start the day looking at Consumer trends and what is winning in Retail today, then we move on to innovations in Tracking & Delivery and finish off with specific sections on Sustainability and Manufacturing.
RiA: What should the audience expect from that day in terms of learning outcomes?
TJ: Everyone can expect to learn and be inspired by the dynamic changes happening across each of the sectors we discuss.
With a little more practical feedback, participants of the conference will hear from industry experts on dedicated topics that focus on key challenges and opportunities in the industry today.
A few examples of what is in store, are:
- A keynote presentation by the global heavyweight David Bell on “Winning in the Digital Millennial economy”
- A panel of experts discussing the topic “Physical vs. Digital – What’s winning today and what’s the best approach for you?”
(I am facilitating this one and we have an exciting group of experts joining including Edith Chen of Brooks Brothers, Pieter Wittgen of Huuli, Wafer Wang of SAP and David Siu of Enliven Works)
- An insight in to the burgeoning Retail and Manufacturing market in Vietnam by Lai Phan, the Director of Capability Building at Weave
- A presentation of what is new and exciting in the world of Artificial Intelligence with an insight in to AI forecasting by AJ Mak of Chain of Demand
RiA: You have talked about community – are there any key contributors or
partners you work with?
TJ: We are very fortunate to have some great companies and people working together with us for the 360 Conference.
Centric Software is our core partner for the second year now and it has been marvelous to collaborate with Nick Wei and his team yet again.
This year we are also working closely with Chain of Demand and SAP who also provide a fantastic level of support.
All of our partners are highly trusted and help us with unique insights in to the industry and also further build the supply-chain community.
RiA: Are there any other ways that you build community except for the 360 Conference and working with key partners?
TJ: Yes, indeed we do! As a part of our belief in community building we are also practical – an event once a year is not enough.
At least I know that I have to call mum more than once a year…
We also host Weave Meet Ups and have Weave Super Series events. Given the nature of our work it is impossible for us not to be specific about the target audience and outcome of each event.
Weave Meet Ups are events we host which bring together a few industry experts to discuss pressing topics in an intimate dinner & drinks setting, hosting up to 30 people as a maximum to make sure everyone can contribute and engage.
Weave Super Series events are opportunities for us, Weave, to share our expertise and facilitate discussions on critical issues. We normally do these in a breakfast or lunch session, efficiency is key for everyone, and discuss issues like change management, the role of design in retail and the changing role of bricks and mortar stores.
Retail in Asia is looking forward to the event.