The Woman Behind the Brand: Talbots CEO Lizanne Kindler Does It All

All photos courtesy of Lizanne Kindler, CEO of Talbots.

By Gabrielle S. Martin

Lizanne Kindler is a Denmark-born, Hingham-based businesswoman who has managed to balance an accomplished career with a just-as-impressive personal life. Kindler has called Hingham “home” for a decade now, residing here with her husband and their children; though the Danish native might have local roots, her influence as the CEO of Talbots provides international reach.

Kindler has a long, impressive list of career accomplishments in leadership roles at Ann Taylor/Loft, Kohls, Talbots, and, most recently, a Director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

A festive display decorates the entry at Talbot's Hingham location.

Hello, Lizanne. Thank you for agreeing to the Anchor’s interview! Why don’t you start by telling me a little bit about yourself? For example, where did you grow up? How many siblings do you have? What about your parents? What did they do? 

“I grew up in Denmark with my younger brother and parents. My parents were very influential and I am so grateful for them; both of my parents are deaf, but that never stopped them from doing what they wanted and that served as a huge lesson for me. I watched my parents navigate life with adversity and it never held them back. Their perseverance is remarkable! It showed me that if you put your mind to anything, you can succeed.” Kindler says.

When did you come to the United States?

“When I was 11 years old I came to the United States to visit a much-beloved aunt of mine who married an American and had moved to D.C. She was the President of a department store chain called Garfinkle, and while I was visiting, she would bring me to work; this was my first experience both with the United States and the world of retail. I knew instantly that this was what I wanted to do! My mom still tells the story today about when I came back from that trip and announced that I was moving to America. Little did they know that would be the truth!” She shares.

Do you often visit Denmark?  

“Yes. All of my family is still in Denmark, so we try to visit once or twice a year.” The Copenhagen native says.

Alright, and how long have you lived in Hingham?

“We have lived in Hingham now for 10 years.”

What do you love most about it here?

“We love the sense of community the town brings as well as the rich history and close proximity to Boston,” Kindler says. “We’ve also been very fortunate to have made many wonderful friendships in Hingham!”

Is there anybody in Hingham that you find inspiring?

“My husband Tomas and our two children, Alexandra and Nikolai.”

Do you have a favorite local spot around town? 

“Tomas and I enjoy spending our free time walking our two Vizslas at Wompatuck State Park.”

Kindler's two Viztas.

Favorite Hingham restaurant and meal you often order there?

“There are a few, but I think my favorite is the Boar Bolognese dish at Tosca.”

Do you have a favorite or go-to vacation spot? If so, where?

“One of my favorite things to do is travel and I’ve been fortunate to travel all over the world, but my favorite trip by far was a safari to Kenya with Tomas, Alexandra, Nikolai, and my parents.”

The Kindler Family on a safari in Kenya.

Talbots has quite a long history with the Town of Hingham. What can you share about that?

“Nancy and Rudy Talbot inherited a store from Rudy’s father in 1947 in Hingham which they named ‘The Talbots.’ Their first year was so successful that they launched a catalog the next year after buying a subscription list from New Yorker magazine!  They quickly outgrew the space they had inherited and bought the property at 164 North Street in Hingham–the white house with the iconic red door that became the first brick-and-mortar Talbots location in 1949. For many years, the store was run out of the first floor and the Talbots lived on the second floor; then, in 1970, they moved operations to 175 Beal Street, which is the company’s corporate headquarters.  Today, Talbots employs 7,000 associates across the U.S. and Canada with approximately 350 associates in the Hingham location.”

The original Talbots storefront.

Do you have a favorite quote?

“I actually have a favorite life lesson quote: ‘You can’t possibly know everything... and that’s okay.’ This is my favorite quote because it opens me up to learning new things and gaining confidence by letting go of the insecurity around not knowing everything. More importantly, you surround yourself with smart people who know what you do not know... and you learn from each other!”

Special thanks to Lizanne Kindler and her assistant Elizabeth Teceno for agreeing to an interview with the Anchor! As a female owned-and-operated business, we love to shine the spotlight on other women doing amazing things around town.

17 thoughts on “The Woman Behind the Brand: Talbots CEO Lizanne Kindler Does It All”

  1. I have been impressed with the Talbot’s brand for many, many years! The clothes are so well made, hold their shape and color. And the sizes are consistent ! When I’m ready for something new, I pass them along to others and one can barely tell they’ve even been worn

    • What we need from Lizanne is the EXTRA BUTTONS! Even the dowdiest, cheapest companies provide them. Why not Talbots? Moreover, I’ve been shopping at Talbot’s for years: as someone here wrote, the quality has really declined. No more pantyhose, no more silk blouses, no more lovely Italian flannel skirts. Why?

  2. I have to disagree with Brenda. The sizing is not consistent. In over 25 years of shopping at Talbots I have seen a deterioration of the product and sizing. Was a time I could go into the store and come out with a number of wonderful garments. Not any more.

    The garments are made over seas. Why not support the American garment industry?

    The closest store for me is Skokie Illinois, which is ten miles from my home. Recently I went to the store and decided to try on some pants to get a feel for the proper sizing. While there I needed a restroom. The store had a sign on the restroom door that it would be cleaned regularly. The sign did not indicate the restroom was closed to customers. Just to make sure I asked an associate in the area. She assumed the same as I the restroom was open for use.

    After entering, there was a push on the door and I was informed the manager, Michelle, said the restroom was off limits to customers. The better thing in this situation would have been to let me complete what I was there for. Going forward the associate would be aware the room was off limits to customers. Put a sign up!

    • I totally agree with Sophie. I have been a Talbots customer for over 40 years. Quality of fabrics and workmanship has gone down hill. Every fabric is a blend, and the garments do not fit well according to size. Very seldom nowadays do I find anything worthwhile at Talbots.

  3. Was hoping to offer some feedback to Lizanne regarding customer service. I sent an email to customer service with three questions and the response was call customer service.
    Feel as though it was computer generated?

  4. I have been a huge Talbots supporter and great customer in the Houston, Texas area for years. At one time I had a Talbots charge account. The customer service from both the retail stores and Comenity Bank has been exceptionally lacking. I have asked to talk to someone about it; I leave my ‘phone number for a supervisor to call me and that never happens. I owned a small business for 40 years. I understand that customer service can break a business even if the product that they sell is excellent. I keep repeating to myself these words: “If only the CEO of Talbots knew this was going on………”. This might be my final attempt to reach someone who cares.

  5. Hej Lizanne

    Jeg fik dette link ( fra en fælles bekendt Mollie Green fra Talbots. Mollie fortalte mig om din danske baggrund, så jeg syntes det kunne være sjovt at skrive til dig, da jeg selv er dansk og er flyttet fra København til USA. Det er nu ca. 2 år siden jeg forlod dansk grund og flyttede til Tennessee. I modsætning til dig, har jeg aldrig haft lyst til at flytte til USA, men så mødte jeg min amerikanske mand. Nu er USA mit hjem og jeg er ved at vænne mig til punds, gallons og inches. Må dog sige, at man føler sig lidt som et barn igen, når man immigrerer til et andet land. Næsten alt skal læres forfra. Er glad for jeg har rejst meget og har boet lidt i udlandet før. Det gør, at det ikke er ligeså svært at tilpasse sig nye omgivelser og kultur. Min mand har dog haft lidt svært ved min danske madlavning, tror ikke der var nok ost i maden lol.
    Hvis du får lyst, er du meget velkommen til at skrive til mig.

    Med venlig hilsen

    Karina Rossen

  6. I am a well proportioned size 2P. So I should be able to walk into any Tablots location and the clothes in my size should fit me perfectly, right? A big joke! This is nothing new as I have been complaining to the salespeople about sizing for a number of years. Today, I tried on ten different garments in my size and none of them fit properly; they were either too big or too small. Could it be because they were made in countries such as Bangladesh, Jordan, Vietnam and Indonesia (I checked the tags for country of origin) where there is clearly no quality control for sizing? Talbots continues to be a big disappointment. Their pricing should reflect such inferior merchandise instead of the premium they charge.

  7. This feedback is for Lizanne Kindler and Deborah Cavanagh. I was thoroughly disappointed in the misleading advertised marketing tactic used for the “Black Friday Preview Days” sale. This advertised sale misrepresents the actual price that you will actually pay upon checkout. You advertised 50% off one item PLUS 40% off ENTIRE purchase, which is false. You DO NOT receive 40% off the ENTIRE purchase but 40% of any additional items. I could understand and appreciate if there was some small print used to explain or indicate how your purchase would be computed but there was no stipulation in the ad. I have always held Talbots in high esteem in the retail market and had great admiration for the quality and integrity of their items but today was a real eye opening experience for me on the bait and switch advertisement tactic being used. Customer loyalty and respect should not be exploited in this manner EVER! Ads should be clear and precise and should not be left up to “interpretation”, as I was told, I misinterpreted what the ad was stating. I read the ad as it was written and expected it to be accurate. Say what you mean and mean what you say! Going forward, I am asking that Advertised Specials are straight-forward with nothing left up to “Interpretation”.

  8. I appreciate Ms. Kindler’s accomplishments and work heading Talbots – clothes I have worn for years as a professional. However, I recently received an email from Talbots’ credit card company – Comenity – threatening to cancel my account because I had not used it in two years. Encouraging it’s predominantly female customer base to be fiscally responsible is apparently not a core value of Talbots. The email was entitled: “Take Action to Keep Your Talbots Card Open.” I am a former journalist and now work in public relations for a major medical center in California. I am well acquainted with “best practices” in marketing and communications. NEVER in all my years as a credit card client of many retail outlets have I received such an unsavory, desperate and disappointing email from a retailer. It essentially urges me to be fiscally irresponsible by making unnecessary purchases with the credit card, under threat of closing my account and reporting that to credit bureaus. If this platform has a way of sharing feedback about it’s interview with CEO Lizanne Kindler, please share this with her. Perhaps she is unaware of these emails going out on behalf of Talbots.

  9. I have so enjoyed shopping at Talbot’s since the pandemic began. It has been the only store with nice looking and well fitting clothes for women. I would like to let the management know that I have received at 3+ mailing that have not arrived in time for me to use the coupons on them. I do not know if you are aware how slow the Post Office is delivering mail thus I would like to suggest that you mail coupons at an earlier date so that the customer can actually use them. Thank you.

  10. I am big fan of Talbots and you for long time. However, I feel the brand should emphsise on more ESG. We have develop the AI techology to all people get well fitted tailor made clothes without leaving home. Our techonoly simply requests take three photos. Your 3D model will be build and your size and patten with be made by AI technology. we can deliver as fast as in three days. our technoly will revolution your supply chain and reduce your inventory to zero. Please contact us at elaine_brown@fash-, if you are interested further discussion

  11. I have been a Talbots shopper for decades. Now, Talbot’s quality has gone downhill. Sizing is off. Cheap fabrics. The other obvious points for me are:
    1. Not everyone can wear warm colors. Please offer cool tones. There are cool yellows and reds, just as there are warm blues and greens. The buyer’s eyes need to be trained.

    2. Please show styles other than bohemian. I grew up in the 60’s, the hippie era. Not my style. Never was. Preppy is what Talbots had been. Sophisticated yet casual. Neat.

    Buyers need to be aware of colors and styles based on quality fabrics.

    Thank you.

  12. Back in the day over 52 years ago when we were first married, my mother, Mary Talbot Hawkins, Ru’s sister, would purchase gifts for my wife for birthdays and Christmas. Since the clothing was not petite enough, we used to return items for credit. I suspect that we were one of the few who continually had an ongoing credit balance at that time.

  13. I am quite pleased with the service and the clothing at my local store in Lubbock, TX. The staff is friendly and professional. I have received hand written thank you notes from staff via USPS.

  14. I have sent multiple emails to the customer service staff at Talbots inquiring about the average size of a Talbots catalog model. Not one of the customer service staff responses paid me the courtesy of doing the research and did not answer my question.

    When I was in the Fredericksburg, VA store last month, the local operations manager was there. She was as rude as could be and starting arguing with me about the average size of a Talbots model. Her listening skills were atrocious. Insulted, I left the store.


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