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380: Modernizing, Diversifying, and Maximizing Opportunity with Kadian Langlais, CMO at Renfro Brands

380: Modernizing, Diversifying, and Maximizing Opportunity with Kadian Langlais, CMO at Renfro Brands

Kadian Langlais is the Chief Marketing Officer at Renfro Brands, a 100-year-old legacy sock and hosiery design and manufacturing company. In her role, she oversees Renfro’s diverse portfolio of brands and maintains its position as the largest manufacturer of socks in the U.S., producing three million pairs per week. Kadian grew up in Kingston, Jamaica, where she developed a love for interior design and has always had a passion for fashion. After immigrating to New York, she initially planned to go into investment banking but decided to follow her passion instead and enter the business side of the fashion world. Prior to joining Renfro, she consulted with leading brands and retailers on their e-commerce and digital marketing strategies.

In this episode, Alan and Kadian discuss her pathway to becoming the CMO at Renfro, the role of DEI and how she’s focused on it, and an initiative she helped launch called Project Footprint. When Kadian joined Renfro in 2018 as Vice President, DTC and Digital, she was tasked with expanding the business beyond the traditional brick-and-mortar stores the company traditionally relied on. With the move to CMO, she has had the opportunity to further help modernize Renfro through a full rebrand and instilling a new values system. Kadian tells us there can be a sock for every moment of the day and a way for Renfro to pivot its businesses to thrive through every economic shift. Despite commodity price inflation, global competition, and dynamic consumer preferences, Renfro has maintained its place as the largest sock company in the world. They design, manufacture, and sell socks for all occasions, from hiking to fashion, and now they are expanding into new categories like underwear and t-shirts. Today, Kadian is focused on growing consumer engagement across Renfro Brand’s direct-to-consumer platform, Loops & Wales, and the company’s brand portfolio, which includes Hot Sox, K. BELL, and more.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • What is the role of marketing among rising commodity prices, global competition, and dynamic consumer preferences?
  • Why do marketers often take the lead in DEI initiatives?
  • Observations and advice for WOC Executives

Key Highlights:

  • [02:10] A passion for interior design
  • [03:50] From Kingston, Jamaica, to the CMO of Renfro
  • [05:20] What is Renfro?
  • [06:30] The shift from Vice President, DTC, and Digital to CMO
  • [08:10] A North Carolina connection: blending the old with the new
  • [10:30] Highlights of modernizing the company
  • [12:40] The role of marketing in our current environment
  • [15:20] How brands can incorporate DEI into marketing strategies
  • [18:10] Project Footprint and the DDC
  • [20:50] Why marketers often take the lead in the DEI space
  • [21:40] Advice from one WOC Exec to the next
  • [25:40] Making something out of nothing
  • [28:25] Trust your gut.
  • [30:15] AI for copy at scale
  • [33:16] Basketcase Gallery, Telfar, Hammitt
  • [36:45] Opportunities and threats for marketers today 

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