Bringing Emerging Brands to Kohl’s: A Q&A with Doug Howe, Kohl’s Chief Merchandising Officer


An inside look at Curated by Kohl’s, coming to select Kohl’s stores and this October.

We recently sat down with Doug Howe, Kohl’s chief merchandising officer, to discuss Curated by Kohl’s — a new selection of products from emerging brands coming to more than 50 Kohl’s stores and later this year. Read on to learn more about the strategy behind the initiative, the partners involved, and how this will come to life at Kohl’s. 

Q: What is Curated by Kohl’s?
Curated by Kohl’s is an idea that we’ve been working on for a long time. Beginning this October, we will bring a new selection of products from a group of emerging brands to more than 50 Kohl’s stores and on The idea behind Curated by Kohl’s is to provide a fresh assortment of merchandise across a new mix of brands on an ongoing basis, giving Kohl’s customers the opportunity to shop and discover new brands that keep them coming back for more.

Q: How are the emerging brands that make up Curated by Kohl’s selected?
As we continue to evolve our product portfolio, we want to deliver product newness with exciting brands and partnerships that resonate with our customers. For our launch assortment, Kohl’s identified a number of brands across multiple categories to introduce as part of the Curated by Kohl’s launch assortment, including Adore Me, East Adeline by Dia&Co, Kid Made Modern, Lovepop, Luca + Danni, and United by Blue. Our Kohl’s teams curated this year’s brands directly, and beginning in 2020, Kohl’s will work with partners like Facebook on brand curation, identifying and engaging with brands that have built a strong online community on the social media platform.

Q: How will customers see Curated by Kohl’s come to life in stores and online?
A: The Curated by Kohl’s assortment will be refreshed on an ongoing basis with new brands and products across categories. For example, the launch assortment will have products across apparel, accessories and home. In most stores, customers will discover these new brands within their respective departments throughout the store and online, making it easy for them to discover new brands near their current favorites. We’re also testing a merchandise display that will have all of the Curated brands together in a handful of stores.

Q: How do you foresee the initiative evolving over time?
Curated by Kohl’s as a platform is a way for us to collaborate with emerging brands and to see what resonates with our customers and what attracts new customers to Kohl’s. As we continue to introduce new assortments of brands through a test-and-learn approach, we’ll be able to identify brands or categories that our customers love and want to further explore. Based on our findings, if we see an opportunity to bring a brand into Kohl’s long-term, we are absolutely open to doing that.

Q: Why is this initiative important for Kohl’s?
A: Kohl’s is in a very unique position in today’s dynamic retail environment. We have the power of our brick and mortar stores balanced with our growing digital business; an expansive portfolio of both national and proprietary brands; broad customer base; and a bias for innovation that has allowed us to evolve and adapt quickly and try new and bold things.

Q: How does Curated by Kohl’s support your vision for Kohl’s merchandise assortment?
Curated by Kohl’s gives us the opportunity to surprise and delight Kohl’s customers with a continuous stream of new, relevant merchandise, and it’s also an avenue to bring new customers to Kohl’s. In fact, this is just one example of many new initiatives that the team has been working on that will be available at Kohl’s later this year. We’re also launching Nine West apparel, handbags and footwear, the Scott Living home lifestyle collection, Elizabeth and James apparel, handbags and accessories, and a holiday capsule by fashion designer Jason Wu.

Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Information
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Kohl's intends forward-looking terminology such as “believes,” “expects,” “may,” "will," "should," "anticipates," “plans,” or similar expressions to identify forward-looking statements. Such statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties, which could cause Kohl's actual results to differ materially from those projected in such forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, those that are described in Item 1A in Kohl's most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and as may be supplemented from time-to-time in Kohl's other filings with the SEC, all of which are expressly incorporated herein by reference. Forward-looking statements relate to the date initially made, and Kohl’s undertakes no obligation to update them.