While in the good old days, most top retail execs stayed in their storied positions forever, job-hopping is these days the preferred way to build a resume. But Durand Guion, a Macys exec for more than three decades, was not looking to build a resume when he recently announced that he’s leaving Macys’ fashion office to take a newly created SVP position at an emerging men’s sustainable swimwear brand. Instead, he’s hoping to help grow the Fair Harbor collection into a true lifestyle brand, creating excitement and profits for a company he’s sure to love as much as he’s loved Macys.
“I’d been thinking about my career path since the Pandemic hit,” Durand told MR. “It has certainly been a great 32 years at Macys, but I was starting to wonder if it might be time to do something else. It took a while to get the courage to leave a job I truly loved but I’d been introduced to Fair Harbor’s founders about 10 years ago by Rothmans’ owner Ken Giddon; Caroline Danehy was a classmate of Ken’s son. While still in high school, Caroline and her brother Jake were already envisioning a brand that would help eliminate plastic waste in the oceans. I was immediately impressed by their ideas and eager to mentor them, which I’ve been doing since they launched Fair Harbor. Last year, I collaborated with them to create a small capsule swimwear collection that was surprisingly successful.”
Successful indeed. Fair Harbor launched as an online direct-to-consumer business in 2014; it now has a strong wholesale component and is carried at Nordstrom, Saks and 250 specialty stores. It just added a women’s collection and will soon open its first beach house-inspired shop in Soho. From $2.3 million in sales in 2019, volume surpassed $44 million last year (with a little help from a private equity firm investment). And fulfilling the founders’ original dream, 26 million plastic bottles have already been recycled to produce the collection.
As excited as Durand is about this new venture, he will always treasure his 30+ years at Macys. Speaking for himself and so many colleagues, Macy’s chairman and CEO Jeff Gennette, who first brought Durand from the west coast to NYC, told MR, “Durand will be a fantastic addition to the Fair Harbor team. I worked with him for more than 20 years at Macy’s; he is a rare talent who understands how to connect trend and fashion to the needs of an ever-changing customer. I wish him the best in his next career chapter.”