Quote Unquote: Saks in the City

After establishing a career in high-end retail companies on the West Coast, Shelley Tadaki Cramer returned home to Honolulu as Saks Fifth Avenue’s vice president and general manager, to lead the team that opens the new store in Waikīkī, with a workforce of 130. The Maryknoll grad earned a bachelor’s in finance and marketing and MBA from Gonzaga University. She and her husband have two daughters, 5 and 11.
Shelley Tadaki Cramer
Photo: David Croxford

I GREW UP IN KALIHI. My parents now live in Kaka‘ako. I’m now living in Wai‘alae Iki.


I’VE BEEN GONE FOR 17 YEARS. It’s so refreshing to be back home.


I STARTED MY CAREER at Liberty House, believe it or not, in the buying office. I bought in the boys department.


THE MAJORITY OF MY TEAM is from Hawai‘i. 


MY BIGGEST CHALLENGE right now is to make sure that everyone’s hired on time. Making sure all my managers are on the same page, speaking the same language. Make sure everyone is trained and ready to go when we open on Aug. 25.


I ALWAYS HAD A TASTE for high-end luxury. That has always been a part of me. Having fashion a part of my life and wanting the latest and greatest things was definitely a passion of mine.


WHAT’S GREAT ABOUT SAKS is they have something for everyone. Everyone thinks it might be quite intimidating coming in. It doesn’t matter if you buy a $35 lipstick to a $10,000 gown.


IT’S A THREE-LEVEL, 80,000-square-foot store. We are going to have 700 parking stalls and the entrance will be on Kūhiō, not Kalākaua.


CUSTOMERS CAN ASK for a private appointment for a personal shopper, or a facial or makeover or just come in and talk to a beauty consultant. It’s all complimentary. 


I CAN TELL YOU that velvet is coming back and a lot of embroidery and embellishments.  As far as shoes, loafers and Mary Janes are going to be coming back. Brocade pieces. And ’70s looks are coming back for the fall. There might be some fur and feathers.


RIGHT NOW, I JUST LIKE hanging out with [my daughters]. It’s really fun to be in warm weather. Just having one-on-one time and not worrying about it being rainy or cold. I just like hanging out with my girls at the pool. 


EVERY TIME I COME BACK, the first place I go is Yummy’s and get the meat jun plate. Besides my ZipPac at Zippy’s.


I MAKE A MEAN KALBI. Or at least I get compliments on it.


The new Saks Fifth Avenue store opens Aug. 25 as part of a luxury complex that replaces the faded International Market Place. The stately banyan tree remains.


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