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Last Update: Thursday July 29, 2021

Key Idea: Make Your Organization Chart A Circle

To owner, Bud Konheim, Nicole Miller is is an ideas-driven company and all ideas can be valuable.

Key Question:


Bud thinks of his business processes as a circle. He even put his thoughts on a chart that everyone can see. The chart makes it clear that he sees each person adding an equally valuable part to the whole.  He does not see himself at the top sending down instructions.  He sees the work flowing through the creation to the sewing to the shipping to the selling teams and he doesn't step in unless there's a problem.

Q: Where is Bud in the circle?

A: He definitly is the CEO and he is responsible for the success of the business. He is the one who takes on all of the headaches. He even said, "I get paid for taking Excedrin. I tell everybody, that I want to hear the bad news. The good news will take care of itself.  Give me the bad news because that is what I am here for." However, his quick smile and warm personal communication style telegraph to the organization that he sees himself as a team player not a boss.

He says, "I don't tell it, I sell it." This means to us that he works hard to get people to move along in his direction but he takes the time to explain. That's what he means by, "selling." Bosses who are always telling come across as dogmatic, controlling and authoritative. Bud is always selling ideas to his team. If they refuse to buy, he changes or modifies when he can.

Think about it

Can you stop telling and start selling? 

Clip from: Nicole Miller - Fashion & Quality

Nicole Miller on her visit to her boutique in La Jolla.

New York, NY: In this episode we go to the heart of the fashion industry and behind the scenes of Nicole Miller, a fashion house on Seventh Avenue to meet the founders, Nicole Miller and Bud Konheim.  In an industry where even top designers have taken production overseas, Nicole Miller pieces all proudly wear the label, "Made in New York."

It's a stroke of genius for these times, but the reasons go far beyond patriotism. For Nicole Miller, it's all rooted in the fabric of the American entrepreneurial dream: pride of idea, of process, and of execution.  They earnestly try to make women happy and  they are key advocates for causes important to women.

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Nicole Miller Fashions (BK)

Bud Konheim, Co-founder

525 Seventh Avenue
New York, NY 10018

Visit our web site:

Office: 2127199200

Business Classification:

Year Founded: 1982

Make Your Organization Chart A Circle

BUD: And I did an organizational chart, but it's circular.
It's not top to bottom -- it is a circular chart because we learn from everybody in the business and they contribute. And it is not that I -- I am the CEO and what I say goes – I don't do that. I don't tell it, I sell it. And if I can't sell it – maybe it's not such a good idea. Because if I believe that I have only good ideas, then I am in big trouble.

In '82, when we started, everything was a hand system. We were hand-billing. And there was one time in the showroom where we were billing out $50,000 in one day and everybody was sitting there writing hand bills to all of these customers. It was a nightmare, it was unbelievable – we never thought we would get through the day. And I have my – my son is a computer genius -- and says “ you don't have to hand write all of this stuff. You can get a computer to do it.” This was 1982.

HATTIE: Bud has plowed money into systems since then and has run the numbers on an AS400 for years and his philosophy of early technology adoption, took him to the web ahead of competitors.

BUD: We're very big on the internet now. The internet is absolutely, probably the best communication system that has come along because we email each other here instead of getting on the phone and getting voicemail and all of that type of stuff. We send pictures to Japan of the fabrics that we digitally take now and send it out over the internet. Retailers call up a customer and say, “Are you at your desk? Take a look at this dress, I am sending you a picture of it. I've got your size in stock, I could send it to you.” We have a shop on the internet where you just click on and buy the stuff. It's a great thing.

NICOLE: There are so many loose ends at a clothing company because ideally, everybody has a great idea and you make a nice dress. But then you have to get the fabric, then the fabric might be late, the fabric might come in damaged, the fabric might shrink --

BUD: I get paid for taking Excedrin at the end of the night because if I – if in this business after 46 years – if I don't go home with a headache because of all the problems that I've heard during the day, I go home with a bigger headache because I know that the problems are there and I haven't heard about them. So, you have to have – the CEO has problems, that's what they are bringing to him. I always tell everybody, “I want to hear all of the bad news, the good news will take care of itself – don't tell me the good news, I don't need to hear that. Give me the bad news because that is what I am here for.”

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