The Chairman and CEO of J. Crew gave us tons of invaluable advice. Here, Drexler on…

Working with Women

“I enjoy working with women more than I do with men. Women have intuitive qualities that I don’t see in men.”


“It takes a long time to get where you’re going in business. Nothing happens quickly.”

Timing, Part II

“Gratification doesn’t come daily in this business. It’s always long term. If you work somewhere where the boss doesn’t care about the work and the company, then you have to get out.”


“It takes huge amounts of obsession, never giving up and a whole lot of stick-to-it-ness.”

Instant Success

“There are very few Mark Zuckerbergs or Google boys (in my day, it was Bill Gates). It’s not simple; it’s not easy; the ones who create Instagram are one in a billion.”


“Most people who have resumes today get guidance. They tell you to take off waitress jobs or retail jobs. But those are the jobs I look for because you get your butt kicked. Fancy internships are just for the resumes.”

New York

“I would never leave New York. I love this city. I grew up in the Bronx, so I’m partial to ‘borough’ people. That’s my bias. Fancy resumes are not.”


“If you do what Tory does and what I do, you have to do what you think is right. Great companies are managed by people whose emotions and passions are tied up in them. Steve Jobs only cared about his business and doing it right. People who build great companies…it’s a part of their life.”


“I’m a part-time rabbi. I do have clients. I love working with entrepreneurs. It’s a love of mine.”

Mentoring, Part II

“Know what you don’t know. Ask someone who knows the most about a subject and that’s how you find a mentor. Constantly be asking others how they do it.”

Knowing What You Don’t Know

“In New York there is a disease. It’s called: If you are very successful, you think you know everything. People who are very successful don’t know much about other things, but they think they do.”

Learning from Others

“Most of my career, I learned how not to do things from people I worked with. I looked at people and said, ‘I don’t want to do it how they do it.”


“I go to school every day. Every single day I go to school and that’s what I love about my job.”


“Don’t be afraid to be yourself. Have inspiration and a vision. Be non-negotiable about things that are important to you. That gets respect. Have a lot of empathy, but don’t waiver and don’t negotiate.”

Following Your Gut

“My whole life is a gut. I follow my gut always and the more I do it, the more I follow my gut. I’ve never followed my gut more than I have in the last few years. I always say, ‘If I’m thinking it, it is’ — about a person, about a business….”

Following Your Gut, Part II

“At the company, I micromanage. It never ends. I’m the chief gut. At every company someone has to be. Now I’m very dictatorial on gut.”

Making Mistakes

“If you don’t make a lot of mistakes, you’re not moving forward.”


“I don’t care about titles. Titles mean nothing.They only mean something on your resume when you’re looking for another job.”


“Technology is critical, but no amount of analytics is going to tell you what’s going to happen down the road except good instinct and reading a trend. Creativity and invention are what’s key.”


“Clothes and fashion are not easy to wear. Most women are intimidated by it. You have to have clothes and accessories that people want to wear.”

Having a Vision

“Great companies — Apple, J. Crew, Tory Burch — have a vision and move forward. They are that way because someone is breaking all the rules.”