Boneparth: The Man Inside the Suit

In an interview, Jones Apparel Group ceo Peter Boneparth talks about his path to fashion and the acquisition of Barneys New York

Boneparth is also an extremely good amateur golfer, describing himself as a “bad eight” in terms of handicap. On the golf course, he is very competitive and determined to make every shot  count, but can also laugh when one doesn’t turn out, said Jack Gross, ceo of Jones’ Gloria Vanderbilt division.

In addition to it being a competitive outlet and stress reliever, Boneparth described golf as “a very, very good business facilitator.”

“It’s funny, the designers will tell you I’m not kissy-face, but I do a lot of that kind of entertaining with accounts,” said Boneparth. “You learn an awful lot about somebody on the golf course. A lot of relationships are built and maintained on golf courses.”

“That’s what makes him a good ceo — he has that winning athletic competitive nature,” said Gross.

And, since his family is ultimately what is most important to him, Boneparth also uses sports to spend time with them. Both of his daughters, who are in high school, aspire to play soccer in college like their dad, and the sport consumes much of their family’s vacation time.

The ceo-soccer dad also passes on many of the industry’s glitzy events to accommodate his family and the sport.

“I’m not prepared to miss the soccer game or the back-to-school night,” he said. “Sometimes it requires moving mountains, but why have kids if you can’t spend time with them?”

Boneparth used to coach his daughters in soccer and still helps coach his 10-year-old son’s Little League baseball team.

“Sports teaches you about teamwork, teaches you about discipline,” said Boneparth. “It obviously teaches you about competition.”

This is another area where sports experience translates into the business world.

“The whole world has gotten hypercompetitive,” he said. “It’s almost survival in many ways. You gotta be on your game.”

That competitive spirit must be tempered by grace in winning, though.

“Being competitive and not having sportsmanship, that’s like the definition of a schmuck,” said Boneparth.
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