Happy 75th Anniversary to Talbots! Interview with CEO, Lizanne Kindler

Cover of Talbots December catalog

November 29, 2022 By Hilary Jenison (photos provided by Talbots) 

This year is Talbots 75th Anniversary and the American fashion brand began its history right here in Hingham, MA.  The iconic red door of the first-ever Talbots shop is located at 164 North Street and still operates today. It is a quintessential part of the fabric of Downtown Hingham.  Now Talbots operates more than 400 stores nationwide.  The American fashion brand kicked off it's anniversary celebrations this summer and will continue by sponsoring this year's Christmas in the Square in Downtown Hingham.   Talbots is hosting a special tree-lighting at 5:00 pm on December 2nd along with hot chocolate and cookies from the famous and delicious Cookie Monstah Truck.  They also have a special collaboration with artist and local social influencer, Meredith Hanson that you do not want to miss.

We recently caught up with Lizanne Kindler, CEO of Talbots and Hingham resident, to find out why this anniversary is so special for the brand.

Tell us about Talbots 75th Anniversary and why this is such a significant milestone for the brand?

Lizanne Kindler: Talbots is an iconic, classic American fashion brand and this anniversary is a celebration of all that we have accomplished. More importantly, it is a celebration of what we have learned and the great opportunities that lie ahead for the brand.

Lizanne Kindler, CEO of Talbots 

What are you most proud of Talbots achieving over the past 75 years?
The strength of our relationship with our customers, our commitment to quality products that are both timely and timeless, and our dedicated associates who deliver on our brand experience every single day.

You have been CEO for the past 10 years, what are you personally most of proud of?
It’s hard to choose one thing, but I would have to say our people. When I came back 10 years ago, the brand was not in a good place and many did not believe we would see our 65th anniversary, let alone 75th . But our team has always believed in Talbots. Many of these associates have been with the brand for 20, 30, and even 40 years. No matter the challenge, we persevere, stay focused, prioritize, and get it done – together.

Hilary Roda in the Talbots 75th anniversary capsule collection

What does the Hingham Heritage mean to Talbots as a brand? Tell us more about your local plans to celebrate the Hingham Heritage of Talbots and your 75th anniversary?
We felt it was important to honor, thank and celebrate the town of Hingham as part of our 75th festivities. This is where our first store and corporate offices are located, and it is home for Talbots and many of our people.

This summer, we sponsored some events around July 4th and we are sponsoring the beloved Hingham tradition, Christmas in the Square, in honor of our “Cheers to 75 Years” celebrations. We will kick things off at 5pm of December 2nd by lighting the tree in front of our store and serving free cookies and hot chocolate from The Cookie Monstah, Boston’s amazing mobile cookie truck. On Saturday, December 3rd from 11am-3pm The Cookie Monstah truck will return, and Talbots will have special give aways throughout the day at our store.

Taylor Swift in Talbots hearts crewneck sweater

What is next for Talbots what are you most excited about in the future?
I certainly hope when I’m 75 that I have as much opportunity and runway in front of me as there is for Talbots – the future is limitless. I’m excited that the brand continues to evolve and remain relevant without sacrificing its place as an iconic American fashion brand.

How did you have to shift as a company during the pandemic?
One of the things that’s critically important is our relationship with our customers. When the world shut down, we had to get creative and think differently about how we engaged our customer in the brand because how she was engaging with us certainly changed. One of the ways we did that was through our partnership with ‘accidental influencer’, @BrunchWithBabs.

@BrunchWithBabs, Talbots first official Brand Ambassador!

This mother of four and grandmother of eight became an overnight sensation on social media and became our first official Brand Ambassador 18 months ago. As a Talbots fan for over 30 years, Babs has brought her authentic love for the brand to her social channels and this, in turn, has been a success for both of us. Our customers absolutely adore her and look to Babs for not only her life hacks and recipes, but also, they like to spot the Talbots outfit she is wearing, daily. With a reach of over 4 million followers, Babs has been an integral part of our seasonal campaigns and most of all, an adored member of our Talbots family.

Is there one piece at Talbots this holiday season that every woman needs in her closet, what would that be?
Holiday is one of my favorite seasons at Talbots with our whimsical sweaters, bright colors and modern take on black watch and tartan plaids. This year, we designed a 75th Anniversary Collection which is a limited-edition capsule that celebrates the color red. The collection is luxe – a red lace dress, a red cashmere sweater with jeweled buttons, red suede accessories and much more. Our customers are loving the collection and I personally like the red party skirt.

75th Anniversary collection

 With so much responsibility as CEO of Talbots, what do you do locally to unplug and reset?
There are a lot of great opportunities to unplug and reset in our beautiful town. My husband Tomas and I go on long walks with our two Vizslas, Bindi and Halie. We love the parks and trails in Hingham, especially Wampatuck which is beautiful all year round. Dinners at Tosca never disappoint! The food is always delicious, and the experience is always memorable. You will also find me at the Square Café. I love the food and the ambiance. For the month of the December, we have partnered with the Square Café, and they have crafted a red velvet martini and named it the TalbotsTini in honor of our iconic red doors. A portion of the net proceeds for the sale of this drink will benefit the Hingham Food Pantry.

Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King in T by Talbots striped tee

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