A Post About A Roast{er}.

One year ago… on this very exact week… the training wheels were taken off and I was left to run my own business as the new, officially placed small appliance buyer.  My ten weeks of training were complete. I had three weeks to shadow the buyer I was taking over for (which I should clarify is a lucky anomaly that doesn’t always happen).  I was ready to apply my training practicum from a hypothetical context to an actual business. I walked in on Monday morning ready to take over the world… one kitchen appliance at a time.  Nothing could shake my blind confidence. That is, until our buyer ad captain whispered to me, “Jess. You know you’re on the front cover this week right?”

Eh?

Hmm…fishy. I did NOT know I was on the front cover that week. It sounded like a big deal, and while I usually don’t mind being a big deal, I am not fond of being an uninformed big deal. “Front cover” seemed to be missing on my list of hand-off topics.

My panic of ignorance quickly passed. I learned that this particular front cover is a classic manifestation for small appliances. In the weeks close to Thanksgiving, we have traditionally featured an electric roaster and other kitchen staples to inspire the guest to prepare for the big meal. Front cover space is lucrative for a buyer – it sets the tone for the entire book, drives the guest to come to Target, and gets more than 100 million eyeballs every Sunday (fun fact: the Target circular is the #2 most ‘read’ item in the Sunday paper… second only to the Sunday comics.  Not too shabby, eh?). And with that influence comes some responsibility – you have to drive sales, manage an accurate forecast, and stay in-stock. Hence, the Monday morning heads up that all eyes are on my front cover.

Fast forward to a year later and here I am again: front cover exposure prior to Thanksgiving, reminding the guest that she can expect more + pay less for her meal prep + holiday entertaining needs. Only this time, the front cover is more than just a roaster or a buyership inheritance. It’s a symbol of my first year in role and how much I’ve learned. It’s a specific strategy that began months ago and incorporated my own assortment planning, financial analysis, relentless negotiation, creative consultation (hi-five to the food prop team for crafting up a drool-worthy spread), and laser-focused execution.

And speaking of laser-focused execution… I triple dog dare you to stop by a Tarzhay this week and look for a roaster or triple slow cooker. You’ll not only find stocked shelves… you’ll find the lowest holiday price on some darn good quality entertaining appliances. Now that’s Expect More, Pay Less.  Boom.

 

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  • Laura

    November 14th, 2012

    When I saw the circular this week I thought of you! It looks great!

    Reply
  • Julie Kasen

    November 14th, 2012

    I did not like this!! “reminding the guest that she can expect more + pay less for her meal prep + holiday entertaining needs.”

    Excuse me…SHE?? It is 2012 and we are still assuming that only WOMEN are shopping for holiday cooking, baking, and entertaining needs????? Target, you totally missed the mark here.

    Reply
  • Jessica

    Jessica

    November 15th, 2012

    Hi Julie,

    Thanks for letting us know your thoughts and I’m sorry I let you down with my post! I definitely in no way meant to imply that women are the only ones shopping + prepping for friends + family. We at Target recognize that families + households come in all shapes and sizes and there are plenty of men engaged in cooking, baking, and hosting. We take pride in connecting with our clientele and instead of referring to our shoppers as customers {which tends to sound too transactional}, we refer to them as “guests” in our stores. We personify the guest as “she” and “her” simply to recognize the fact that our analytics indicate that the vast majority of purchasers are women. But you’re right – times are a changin’… which probably explains why I myself break many staid women stereotypes… such as, I can’t sew a button, am clueless about French braiding, and have never in my life baked cookies from scratch. I definitely do a lot of shoppin’ but in no way does my list include food prep 🙂 I hope you understand that I didn’t mean to be exasperating stereotypes… I appreciate the feedback {and the readership}!

    Jess

    Reply
  • Michael Wiggins

    November 17th, 2012

    This is a great article. Congrats on your 1 year Anniversary!

    P.S. the roaster works great!!

    Reply
  • Michael

    April 5th, 2013

    Fun article to read. And since your core Guest is still (yes, even in the uber progressive 2013) a female head of household, it makes sense your nouns are specific to a gender. Whomever is caught off by that is looking for a bone to pick in the first place. Great article.

    Reply
  • Julie

    April 26th, 2013

    Jessica! I love your response to my “quick to judge” comment on your article. When I read your article, the pronouns SCREAMED out at me! (I’ll blame it on the English major in me…the one who also loved a good women’s studies course) However, upon reading your response, I must admit that your feminine focus was not only appropriate…but completely necessary. I am glad you took the time to explain to me that women are officially slated as your top demographic instead of writing me off.

    What I should have written in the first place was happy anniversary! As a Target team member myself, and a recent master’s graduate in Communications Management, I hope to one day soon be in your shoes (with my favorite company)!! And when I am, I will try to have the same patience that you had with me when someone comes along with some harsh criticism.

    Thanks again. Hope you’ve been having a great 2013!

    Reply
  • Jessica

    Jessica

    April 27th, 2013

    Thanks Julie and congrats on your recent accomplishment… how exciting! I appreciate the follow-up and I commend you for fostering some interesting + meaningful dialogue on the blog. The guest of the future IS rapidly changing and Target is changing too – to make sure we’re relevant with our messaging, marketing, and merchandising. Stay tuned! Oh, and definitely keep me updated on your own team member journey 🙂

    Reply

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