Fashion Forward - Ron Offir - Enjoying the Journey

Ron Offir, B.S.’91

Enjoying the Journey

By Lauren Servideo

Ron Offir, president of Retail and E-Commerce for The Jones Group

Ron Offir’s position as president of Retail and E-Commerce for The Jones Group (JNY) might sound glamorous, but his day-to-day duties would test the mettle of any business major.

Offir runs five different Web businesses, “digital expressions” of brands that include Nine West, Easy Spirit, Jones New York, Anne Klein and Rachael Roy. “We like to think of our e-commerce stores as digital flagship stores,” explains Offir. “We bring the best of the brands online and leverage the technology in ways we simply can’t leverage retail.” He also runs several different retail concepts: Nine West full-price stores, Nine West Outlet Stores, Easy Spirit full-price stores, Jones New York Outlet stores and Kasper Outlet stores. In all, Offir’s division, which includes more than 4,000 employees, contributes over $500 million in sales annually to The Jones Group.

During his undergraduate days at UAlbany, where he majored in business administration, Offir was “fascinated with technology. I had the good fortune of selling ad space for the Albany Student Press (ASP). One of our accounts at that time was IBM, and they’d advertise personal computers for students,” he recalls.

Offir’s minor in art gave him an opportunity to explore more creative endeavors: Dig through the ASP archives, and you might stumble upon some comics drawn by Offir. Through the minor, he “got to meet a whole host of people I would not otherwise have come into contact with on campus. It also helped me to begin to understand the world of fashion.”

Upon graduating, Offir focused on retail and technology as a business analyst with Deloitte Consulting’s New York City offices. He worked with The Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Coach, Steve Madden and other brands before joining The Jones Group and attributes his current position to years of perseverance, hard work and significant business results.

“Graduates today need to recognize that they are truly starting at the bottom,” notes Offir. “It’s not a fun place to be, but it’s rich in learning. You need patience and an understanding of the process – you don’t instantly become the president of a division. It’s a journey.”