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One of the coolest Director Ecommerce jobs around!

We are working with Hancock Fabrics in their search for a Director of Ecommerce based in Tupelo, MS. This is a terrifically cool ecommerce job.

The Director of Ecommerce will be a key player in the business, taking full ownership and management of the Ecommerce Operation. This individual will be responsible for implementing a robust strategic plan for the Hancock’s online strategy. Customer Service will also report to the Director of Ecommerce.

Reporting to the Chief Administrative Officer, this person will also interact closely with the CFO, CMO and the CEO along with the Vice President of Marketing, the Vice Presidents of Merchandising, the Vice President of Distribution, the Divisional Vice President of IT, and the Divisional Vice President of Planning and Allocation in a highly collaborative Ecommerce environment in order to drive sales, margin, and inventory turn.

HARRY’S COMMENTS: Just for fun, today’s post will begin at the end and work backwards. My posts usually conclude with a discussion about “the type of candidate who would benefit the most from having this job for the next three years.” (Because three years is the average tenure in the IR-500.) And I wanted to hit HEAD-ON the fact that this role is based in Tupelo, Mississippi.

So here goes: This job is absolutely perfect for either A.) a sharp, accomplished, business-oriented ecommerce up-and-comer who is looking for a small town to raise a family, or B.) an established ecommerce executive who’s ready to ditch the big city rat race for a few years while doing reputation-enhancing work for an excellent company. In either case we’d like this new hire to possess a startup mindset along with an innate ability to teach multichannel ecommerce to a group of smart, committed business people who are quite eager to learn it.

Is that you? Cool! Let me tell you about Tupelo …

Obviously, everyone knows Elvis Presley was born in Tupelo — Mississippi’s seventh-largest city. Tupelo is situated nearly equidistant between Memphis (BBQ heaven) and Birmingham, and it’s the locus of the last known bank robbery of Machine Gun Kelly, the famous prohibition era gangster. The city is home to the Tupelo Buffalo Park and Zoo and the Tupelo Automobile Museum, which houses more than 150 rare automobiles. And of course, there’s an endless flow of blues music.

Plus (and this is big): Tupelo is the headquarters of the world-famous Natchez Trace Parkway. Friends, you could travel to the ends of the earth and not enjoy a more beautiful drive. Whether you apply for this job or not, you should pack up the family and drive the 444 mile Natchez Trace Parkway all the way from Natchez to Nashville along the route of the original Natchez Trace trail. My wife and I have done it by car, and it was sublime. It’s probably way better on a bike

Lots of great reasons to love Tupelo. Now, about Hancock Fabrics …

Founded in 1957, Hancock Fabrics is one of America’s leading fabric retailers and wholesalers. The company sells a wide range of fabrics and sewing machine products and accessories through a network of 263 stores in 37 states, as well as through its website, powered by Demandware. Hancock classifies its product offerings into four categories, namely, Style studio, Cotton Loft, Designer Gallery and Accessory Workshop. A heightened demand for apparel is driving the demand for both fabric and home sewing machines, and according to GlobalData, by 2017 the demand for sewing machines is expected to reach 28.6 million units.

Fabric Stores in High Cotton?

Regarding the Fabric, Craft, and Sewing Supply Store industry on the whole, through 2019 demand is projected to increase as rising discretionary spending by consumers promotes spending on industry merchandise. The aging baby boomer demographic and continued popularity of do-it-yourself (DIY) fashion are also expected to support demand over the period.

According to IBISWorld, as the US economy continues to recover, household disposable income levels are expected to increase over the five years to 2019, which will provide consumers with greater room for discretionary purchases. Combined with the popularity in DIY fashion, these trends will encourage consumers to make more purchases from the industry, helping sales to rebound.

Female baby boomers are the primary household market for the industry, accounting for about 37.0% of total industry sales. Over the five years to 2019, these consumers are expected to represent a greater share of industry revenue as they begin to reach retirement age (i.e. 65 years old). Without full-time jobs, baby boomers will have much more leisure time, which they will likely spend on hobbies. As a result, demand for hobby supplies will likely increase, benefiting the industry.

This is all promising news for Hancock Fabrics.

Which explains Management’s pressing desire to grow the firm’s ecommerce business. This client involved one C-level executive plus two other high-ranking officials in the kickoff call for the search. My initial 45 minute conversation with Hancock Fabric was a simple one-on-one between me and the company’s CEO, Steve Morgan. It’s a little unusual for a publicly traded company’s CEO to vet a contingency recruiter, but that’s what happened here.

Such is Hancock’s commitment to its ecommerce business.

Currently, HancockFabrics.com does several million dollars in sales, but there’s so much more potential yet to be realized. Truly, there’s no reason why the firm’s online business can’t grow at a CAGR of 40-50% over the next five years, given the right growth strategy. And that’s basically what this job is about: developing the right strategy to grow the online business in a way that complements the firm’s strengths in purchasing, distribution, and off-line / in-store marketing.

Naturally, the development of an optimal strategy will require an ecommerce leader with an analytical bias to the way s/he makes decisions. Armed with the right numbers, we would expect Hancock Fabrics’ new Director of Ecommerce to “work the building,” explaining to stakeholders exactly how, by using the latest digital technologies, the company can seize more opportunities for growth.

This is a greenfield, wide-open growth opportunity for anyone who wants it.

If you are looking to make your mark in this industry, here’s your chance. At Hancock Fabrics, there are plenty of opportunities to drive value in terms of both growth and efficiency. Lots of low hanging fruit here. The client made a major investment in Demandware and they are keen to see a return on it. Management understands that it needs to tweak its ecommerce strategy, and you’ll have free reign to do that. The company is not under contract for any of its spend, and it goes month-to-month with many of its vendors.

If you see something that bugs you, simply present a compelling case for changing it.

Although the current ecommerce team is talented, you’ll have the authority to add and subtract to fit the strategy. Every executive with whom I spoke made it clear that the company is anxious to try new things and grow the business. Which is why I love this opportunity.

Hancock Fabrics digital commerce businesses like a startup.

But it’s better than that. It’s a start up inside a publicly traded, well-funded company that’s 100% committed to ecommerce. You won’t have money to burn, per se. But you will have money to invest. There’s a difference. And that means that this will be YOUR business to run. The implication, of course, is that your character will have to exhibit many of the same traits of a successful startup CEO: Integrity; Passion; Experience; Knowledge; Skill; Leadership; Commitment; Vision; and Humility.

If you’ve got the right stuff, we’d love you to apply below.

View Harry Joiner's LinkedIn profileView Harry Joiner’s profile

Key Areas of Focus:


  • Owns the Ecommerce vendor contracts and vendor relationships and ensures delivery of deadlines and deliverables from the vendors and from within. Negotiates for the best service at the best price.
  • Becomes the central point of contact for operational issues and drives solutions to improve processes and increase efficiencies.
  • Works with the Marketing team to ensure innovative and effective Email deliveries.
  • Makes recommendations and works with IT and providers to implement site improvements.
  • Forms annual budgets for Ecommerce and Customer Service. Identifies new merchandising opportunities and communicates them to the merchant team and then works with all parties in order to bring these ideas to fruition.
  • Manages the Ecommerce and Customer Service teams directly – influences and motivates these teams to exceed sales and margin goals.


  • Designs, implements, and reports on data driven metrics to continuously drive online revenue growth; develops strategies to increase consumer retention and conversion.
  • Works with the Chief Administrative Officer on recommendations and the implementation of P&L process improvement initiatives.
  • Uses analytical tools to review key opportunities to increase conversion, average selling price, and site visits.
  • Establishes internal SEO/SEM retargeting strategies and goals to measure the advancement and results over time.
  • Partners with VPs of Merchandising on sales, turnover, and margin initiatives.
  • Creates continuously improving efficiency solutions and has a solutions oriented mindset.
  • Partners with key technology providers in order to maximize value from their services and offerings.
  • Performs ad hoc analysis as requested.

Customer Service

  • Manages the day to day operations of the Customer Service team.
  • Identifies needed process improvements that elevate the customer experience with Hancock Fabrics; work with all internal partners in order to measure and execute these improvements.
  • Improves the Customer Special Order Process, including both within Hancock Fabrics and with the firm’s vendors partners.
  • Establishes standards for customer follow-through; leads the team through change management initiatives.
  • Applies a clear understanding of the firm’s brand, as well as consumer and industry trends, to the site experience.
  • Summarizes key customer service “hot buttons” and formulates plans to address any issues.

Desired Skills and Experience

  • A Bachelor degree from a four year college or university.
  • 7 to 10 years of experience in internet businesses and Ecommerce including an advanced knowledge of Ecommerce backend systems and operations.
  • Proficient in growing and enriching a consumer database.
  • Strong technical knowledge of front end site applications.
  • In depth knowledge of internal and external web hosting.
  • Expertise with Search Engine Optimization for branding and sales campaigns.
  • Excellent written and verbal analytical skills.
  • Direct Merchandising experience is a plus.
  • Prior direct report management.
  • Successful track record of negotiating profitable vendor contracts.
  • Business process management, including systems, processes, and procedures.
  • Strong financial skills and P & L knowledge.
  • A passion for Operations, highly process oriented with the ability to be flexible and responsive to merchandising needs, trends, and new ideas.
  • An understanding of Shipping, Receiving, Warehousing, and Logistics.
  • Experience with meeting aggressive targets for an online business.
  • Experience with managing and reporting on simultaneous projects.
  • A strategic thinker who can lay out the future needs from an organizational, financial, and process point of view and then communicate them proactively to management.
  • Demonstrates ability to turn data into information, into effective merchandise and marketing programs, that drive financial results
  • Possesses a solid work ethic.
  • A problem solving, detail oriented self-starter who is calm under pressure, and interacts well with others; dynamic and results oriented.


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