SPEECH TITLES AND/OR TOPICS
Branding | Customer Service | Entrepreneurship | Marketing
Mel Ziegler is an author, journalist, and playwright who, with his wife, Patricia, founded Banana Republic, The Republic of Tea, and ZoZa.com. Mel Ziegler's businesses tend to be highly imaginative and creatively focused on aligning the product and the culture with an articulated "voice and vision" that is unique to its moment. Although Mel Ziegler has since sold both Banana Republic and The Republic of Tea, his legacy in each company is seen as innovative, socially-responsible, and trail blazing.
The early Banana Republic clothing concept is widely thought to have "democratized" the fashion business, and the early Banana Republic catalogs, many of which were personally illustrated and written by the Zieglers, were heralded by Catalog Age magazine as "The Best Catalogs of All Time." The Republic of Tea, the first of its kind, spawned an entirely new food category, specialty tea, and continues to thrive as its leader. ZoZa.com offered clothing of new synthetics that could be functional at work, play, and party time. Its clothing was a symbol of an entire lifestyle. ZoZa.com featured online purchasing with virtual capabilities, and catered to modern upscale Americans looking for functional, simple clothing. After a strong start, ZoZa.com fell victim to the dot-com crash. However, of the ZoZa.com experience, Mel Ziegler tells his audiences that failure is not necessarily a crushing experience. In keeping with his life's philosophy: "You can't have an up without a down."
Until recently, Mel Ziegler was the board of director's chairperson of Juma Ventures. Juma Ventures provides employment opportunities for San Francisco Bay Area youth in social enterprises owned and operated by Juma, affording youth a solid economic foundation from which to advance educationally, gain financial skills, and to build personal assets. Juma means 'work' in the widely spoken Akan language of Ghana in West Africa, and other nuances of meaning include "gathering together" as a group or a people. Mel Ziegler's involvement with Juma included hands-on experiences such as working side-by-side with youth employees. This helped strengthen Mel Ziegler's belief that all people deserve the opportunity and encouragement to reach their highest potential.
Mel Ziegler is presently writing a musical comedy on the fashion industry, and he and his wife serve as consultants to companies on creativity, marketing and branding.
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