- eBay’s VP of fashion Charis Marquez is focused on building diverse teams within the company.
- She is also catering to underserved groups of shoppers, such as female sneakerheads and Gen Z.
- She sees sneakers as an avenue for starting conversations about self-expression and diversity.
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Charis Marquez is helping eBay become a more inclusive and appealing fashion destination.
As eBay’s first-ever vice president of fashion, she focuses on catering to underserved groups of shoppers while building a diverse team in tune with what different groups of consumers want.
Marquez’s primary job is to oversee the company’s fashion-related initiatives in categories such as luxury, watches, and sneakers. Her ultimate goal is to regularly have conversations with leadership that will lead to a greater diversity of products on eBay’s marketplace.
Marquez is leading some key initiatives at eBay to accomplish this. For starters, eBay is targeting Gen Z, a demographic key to the company’s long-term success.
“There’s a huge opportunity with younger consumers and frankly, Gen Z doesn’t have the eBay history,” Marquez said.
Marquez’s team is using targeted marketing campaigns to reach this important demographic. eBay’s social media campaigns, particularly on TikTok, have yielded high engagement among Gen Z consumers, she said. eBay has historically struggled to shed its uncool image among younger consumers who prefer to turn to newer resale platforms like StockX or GOAT.
Marquez said she plans to reach different demographics of collectors in categories spanning from watches to handbags. But catering to female consumers is also a defining element for eBay’s sneaker business, one of the fastest-growing categories on the resale platform. The sneaker industry, however, has a history of excluding women at the designer and creator level and in hyped drops by not regularly offering female sizes.
In an effort to reach more of these marginalized sneakerheads, Marquez previously oversaw eBay’s female sneakerhead initiative in March, which included a collaboration with apparel brand Playa Society to sell merchandise to celebrate the womens’ sneakerhead community. She also helped lead eBay’s partnership with The Chicks with Kicks, a group of female sneaker collectors, to auction over 2,200 pairs on the platform in April. Marquez said eBay plans to reach even more young sneaker collectors in the future by participating in industry events such as SneakerCon.
“If we are really for everyone, there still are some unique things that potentially we need to look at for some of these underserved communities,” Marquez said.
She views sneakers as a “gateway” category for connecting with diverse consumers beyond just one demographic. The category is a clear avenue for starting conversations about self-expression and diversity.
“My neighbor, my grandpa, we can talk about their sneakers. It’s still tells us a lot about them,” she said. “So it is a really cool space to be in.”
Spearheading diversity internally
Marquez is also passionate about working on internal diversity as well.
Marquez joined eBay in January after holding executive sales positions at Levi Strauss & Co and serving in digital leadership roles at both Sam’s Club and Sears Holding Corporation.
While at Levi Strauss & Co., she launched the company’s first public Black History Month campaign that highlighted employees of color and was an executive sponsor for the company’s Employee Resource Group (ERG) for Black people.
When she started at eBay, she made speaking to the leaders of the company’s employee resource groups — or committees targeting different areas of inclusion across the organization— a top priority to understand their role, challenges, and feelings towards how the company presents itself as a whole.
“For me, that’s really where a lot of the pulse of the company lies, is in those groups. Those are the groups that are passionate,” she said, adding that she plans to participate in more conversations with ERG members and leaders in the future.
From there, Marquez focused on getting the right people to staff her team and projects. Marquez doesn’t limit her staffing to people with marketplace experience. Instead, she works with recruiters to seek out diversity “across the board,” in terms of work experience, skills, and background. Her goal, as she explained it, is to ensure that eBay’s “inside matches its outside.”
“eBay is transforming. It’s going into its next set of history,” she said. “So we need to make sure that we’re bringing in as many different and great ideas to kind of put that out there.”