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John A Buschner

Address: 32 Tancin Lane, Clifton, NJ 07013


Phone: 914-400-8108

Professional brief

I am an exceptionally well-rounded strategic retail professional with a background in Merchandising, Marketing, Training and Development, and Operations.  I thoroughly enjoy interacting cross functionally and collaborating with a cohesive leadership team.  I am at my best when I am able to actively participate in all functional areas associated with evolving and continuously improving an existing or emerging brand.  

Work experience 


Director Of Visual Merchandising,  2009 - 2013

Steve Madden, 110 doors/$130M 


Director Of Visual Merchandising,  2006 - 2009     

Blue Tulip, 24 doors/$30M,                                                                                                      


District Sales Manager,  2004 - 2006

Gap Inc, 15 doors/$55M                                                                                                               


Northeast Visual Manager,  2003 - 2004

Gap Inc, 90 doors/$375M                                                                                                             


General Manager,  1999 - 2003

Gap Inc, $18m/$20M                                                                                                                     


​Group Manager, Assistant Store Manager,  1997 - 1999

Macy's, $55M/$60M                                                                                                                      


Operations Manager / Asset Protection Manager,  1993 - 1997

Sears, $45M/$100M                                                                                                                    


Core competencies


Compelling Visual Merchandising - Clear Communication & Training

I served as the Visual Merchandising Director in two corporations within the last 7 years, one a specialty gift retailer, Blue Tulip, the other a fortune 100 fashion-forward footwear company, Steve Madden.  I developed all corporate visual merchandising and communications platforms for the field teams.  My goal was to create clear, concise training and informational venues that would keep the everyone well-trained, well-informed and continuously inspired to execute meticulously, evolving corporrate initiative and strategies.  My continuous pursuit of improvement and simplification was regularly guided by feedback from my supervisors, peers and field management/staff.  In the fast-paced retail environment, the packaging of communication and training resources had to be straightforward, poignant and extremely user-friendly.  I pride myself on my ability to deliver holistic, well-branded informational and learning experiences to my most important customers - the field teams.  


My visual merchandising strengths are inherent skills.  I am naturally able to manipulate the environment to create focused, organized, and compelling product presentations, as well as natural flow.  I seek to leverage space, fixturing and visual aids to project each assortment with clarity, forever keeping the consumer's shopping habits and preferences in mind.  I sweat the details when it comes to showcasing the unique features of each and every item.  I adjust presentation strategies based on global and local business metrics, informing me what the consumer is and is not responding too.  I teach and train the management staff to similarly apply local sell-through statistics to each and every one of their flexing decisions.  


Training and Retaining Your Most Critical Asset - Your People

Identifying and attracting top talent, leveraging individual strengths, training, developing, empowering, providing feedback and recognition are all fundamental strategies that I believe in whole-heartedly and live by daily.  The value of human capital must never be underestimated or held anywhere but in the highest regard.  Brands that make smart investments to enhance the human experience within the organization - promoting open dialogue, implementing field best practices, providing opportunites to learn, grow, stretch and to be appreciated - are the brands whose performance reaches unprecedented heights.


I've received personal recognition for having one of the lowest turnover rates as Store Manager at Old Navy.  I achieved this by placing tenured and eager associates in charge of important functions within the store.  I encouraged them to become active participants in goal-setting and in the development of the strategies that would pave the way to success.  The delegation of key responsibilities to ambitious participants in the business, drove a level of personal commitment and buy-in that was unprecedented.  The store went on to achieve a record YTD performance of $1450 per square foot in sales in 2000. 


As a new District Manager at Gap Inc, I was challenged to quickly assess, elevate or upgrade the existing management talent in a down-trending and very focal district North of NYC.  I proceeded by creating specific Divisions Of Responsibility (DORS) for each of the managers.  I executed consistent training and the DORs were rotated quarterly to provide a well-rounded learning experience. By executing this strategy and driving accountablity, I was quickly able to identify individual strengths, to train new skill sets, and to assess the performance/commitment level of each and every manager within the District. 


As a Director at Steve Madden, I took ownership of all corporate communication that was to be distributed to the field. Weekly, I provided various leadership articles and modules for the District and Store Managers to preview and execute with their teams.  Access to these simple, yet thought provoking readings and learning exercises provided the field teams with a venue for personal and professional development, a practice just not inherent in the existing corporate culture.  I became known as their Advocate for Professional Growth, and would regularly receive personal notes of gratitude for having provided many well-received developmental opportunties.  


Throughout my career I have developed a reputation for valuing the diverse perspectives of all my team members.  I invest a significant part of everyday to listening to the individuals performing on the front lines.  This posture has allowed me to consistently achieve a higher level of motivation amongst my staff, as well as measurable improvements in service, sales and margin. 


Drive Sales and Operational Efficiency



Doing more, with less; Identifying market specific opportunities;  Leveraging all available resources - talent and training tools - to maximize results by executing SMART strategies that align product, people and performance objectives. The need to establish a clear vision, set specific goals and develop cascading objectives is something I learned while working at Gap Inc.  I've mastered the art of achieving consistent results by keeping everyone within the organization aligned and focused on achieving the same long term goals.  Identifying clear priorities and filtering out the wasteful tasks that obstruct the path toward acheivement - another key component within my arsenal of how to drive results faster.  I subscribe to the philosophy that You Can't Manage What You Can't Measure so individual goaling and ensuring accountability are a big part of the success equation.  Just as important - acknowledging and celebrating wins along the way, keeping strategies relatively fluid, making tweeks and adjustments along the way based upon real time results that dictate what's working and what's not.  


As the District Manager at Gap Inc, I developed and executed multiple training modules to improve overall business results - the most impactful being Planning & Prioritization - a piece that was rolled out to all Store Managers in the Northeast.  This module taught field leaders to invest the majority of their time on the 20% of things that are truly important to driving the business - planning, people development, team-building, empowering others, rather than the 80% of other things that appeared to be urgent but were really nothing more than daily distractions or busy work that someone else could do.  I've applied and taught this principle (the Pareto Principle) in every assignment since, further elevating my ability to achieve positive results.  I train others to prioritize and accomplish more by leveraging the individual strengths of their team, and by communicating regularly with the appropriate business partners who hold a considerable stake in the business.  


Developing greater operational efficiency is first a matter of fully embracing existing operational policies and procedures; developing a clear understanding of the goals and the steps required to produce positive end-results. Executing appropriately and consistently with a focus on calculating the actual ROI achieved (resources invested vs. actual results).  Are current processes working well or are they tipping the scale too far too the right, reducing the resources available to drive additional revenue?  I'm a true proponent of continually evaluating, and where appropriate, seeking to simplify operational processes in the field in an effort to improve the customer experience.  I've worked tirelessly, throughout my career, to identify smart solutions that strike the right balance between field workload, corporate support and the service model.  Sharing best practices and testing alternative processes helped me to drive top line revenue growth in every one of my positions, while holding the line or improving operational efficiency and results.  


I became intimately familiar with the responsibility of Final P&L accountablility while employed as the Asset Protection and Operations Manager at Sears.  Back then, I was charged with the manual calculation of the P&L, line by line, with updates submitted mid-month.  Though somewhat arduous, this experience was invaluable as I began to understand how each of my decisions impacted the top and bottom-lines.  Mid-month and quarterly revisions, kept me focused on the prize and taught me how to best prioritize to achieve healthy increases in income at the end of each month. 


Overall, my background is filled with rich learning experiences in multiple functional areas including: merchandising & marketing, operations & cost control, and training & development.  I have consistently achieved positive results in revenue and gross margin growth by working strategically through my teams.  As my personality test scores have revealed, I am an Achiever and an Enthusiast by nature.  I possess an inner, self-directed need to accomplish more, while maintaining an optimistic outlook of what results in the future can and will be. 

Recent Coursework

Cost Reduction Strategies

Growth Management Group


Targeted Marketing  

Topline Business Solutions


Communications Seminar:

Leadership & Personal Effectiveness Coaching

MIT Sloan School of Management


Power Presenting Webinar: Delivering Presentations With impact

Brigham Young University



Retail Management

Revenue Growth

Visual Merchandising

Leadership Development

Training & Coaching

Brand Development

Strategic Marketing

Store Operations

Asset Protection

2010 - present

2010 - present


Rutgers University, College of Liberal Arts, Newark, NJ


I completed my Bachelor's degree in Political Science while working part-time.  I graduated in the top 10% of my class with high honors and was inducted as a member of Phi Beta Kappa -  the Society In Recognition of High Achievements in Liberal Scholarship.  I was became a participate member of Pi Sigma Alpha - National Political Science Honor Society.


Rutgers University, Graduate School Of Criminal Justice, Newark, NJ


​I completed a Master's degree in Criminal Justice Management while working full-time as an Asset Protection Manager.  I graduated with a GPA of 4.0 and was the sole recipient of the Richard J Hughes Award, a scholarship for having achieved academic excellence in the Masters program.  

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