Want to purchase a foot massager, wireless cat-ear headphones, or a football that’s also a Bluetooth speaker? You’ll find them all – and much more – at Brookstone. And Steven Goldsmith, B.A.’88 (“Creating Luck from ‘Hard Work and Opportunity,’” Spring 2012), president and chief executive officer of the 52-year-old merchandising legend, is proud to be working with the 2,000 employees who make Brookstone’s eclectic line of products available to shoppers online, through catalogues, and in nearly 200 mall and airport locations throughout the United States.
“I love this brand!” exclaims Goldsmith, who majored in psychology at UAlbany and was “bitten by the fashion/retail bug” while working at American Eagle Outfitters during his junior and senior years. The Brooklyn, N.Y., native’s career highlights since then have included senior-management positions with Victoria’s Secret, Sears Canada, and The Shopping Channel of Canada.
Brought out of bankruptcy in 2014 by The Sanpower Group, a Chinese firm, Brookstone has experienced a turnaround. Goldsmith, who joined Brookstone in June 2016, cites several factors for the company’s renewed success: “Now, we’re more diversified; we do a lot of business with HSN in Florida and with partners like Bed Bath & Beyond. We’ve expanded our airport business and our e-commerce. We enable the customer to shop however she wants to. And 70 percent of everything we sell is Brookstone brand.”
Of course, his “great team” drives Brookstone’s success. Says Goldsmith, who travels to China four times a year for business and has visited about half of Brookstone’s 150 mall stores and 45 airport shops: “We do our own customer care and warehouse fulfillment right outside St. Louis. Here in New Hampshire, we have engineers who work on creating new products. We own hundreds of patents and design awards.”
Brookstone’s merchandise falls into three categories: health and wellness, fun and entertainment, and travel. “We’re the largest seller of massage chairs in America,” Goldsmith notes.
Soon, more shoppers outside the U.S. will have opportunities to familiarize themselves with Brookstone’s line. In the past 18 months, Goldsmith says, “we have begun our Asian expansion and will have more than 70 stores in China. We’re also working on an expansion throughout Europe, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia.”
Congratulations to James Allen, B.A.’07 (“A New Voice,” Fall 2014), who was appointed director of Communications for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2016. Allen is assigned to the governor’s Manhattan office. He previously worked as communications director for former Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker and managed the successful congressional campaign of U.S. Rep. John Carney of Delaware.
Allen formerly served as vice president of Communications and Strategy for Mic.com, a millennials-focused digital-media outlet with an audience of more than 65 million readers and viewers each month. He oversaw brand strategy and media relations while serving as Mic’s liaison to Washington, D.C., and other industry stakeholders.
As a University at Albany sophomore majoring in rhetoric and communication, Allen interned for former U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton.