Like many children who grow up in close proximity to New York City, Maria Moye felt energized every time she visited Manhattan. That world felt different—it felt bigger, more expansive. And Moye knew she wanted to be a part of it. Today, as senior manager of visual merchandising, retail marketing, and store design at the ASICS Corporation, Moye aims to create that same sense of wonder and excitement every time a customer steps foot in a store.
“When you’re seeing Manhattan or any big city as a child, you see its glamour—the style, the edges, the shine, the grit. You get caught up in a vibrant and almost tangible energy just by walking down the street,” Moye recalls of her childhood. “And that translates to the museums, the restaurants, and the shopping centers—each and every environment is designed to be explored, to inspire visitors, and to help them unlock and discover what each space has to offer.”
Moye’s fascination with the experience that the right environment can provide was something that stayed with her as she began to partner with brands and make a name for herself at prominent companies such as Guess, Nautica, and Nike. As a retail brand manager, visual merchandising manager, and senior creative visual planner at those companies, Moye strived to create an engaging and stimulating experience for consumers—even if that meant turning store design convention on its head.
“Working at Nike’s Fifth Avenue NYC flagship store to deliver brand-design experiences made me realize that there are other ways to present information that aren’t just about hanging things top to bottom on a wall,” she explains. “You can shape the environment and bend it to what you need it to be.”
And that is exactly what Moye has done at ASICS, the Japanese sports performance brand born to inspire hope and purpose. ASICS itself is an acronym for the Latin Anima Sana In Corpore Sano, which translates to “a sound mind in a sound body,” embodying the brand’s commitment to improving society and empowering people through sport.
As senior manager, Moye oversees the company’s visual merchandising and retail marketing efforts, from store events to activities in the local communities. But whatever she’s working on, Moye says, she is always mindful of the blurred lines between online and in-store experiences.
“Online shopping is the ultimate convenience, and we are seeing that grow across all brands in the industry,” she says. “So our physical locations really have to serve as an experience worth seeking out—shoppers have to feel personal connections to our people, products, and services.
“I have a really small team, so in order to hit all our dates and gates, it’s really critical that we partner with external teams like SEG Services,” the senior manager points out. “It’s because of their attention to detail and relentless dedication that we are able to move quickly across all our different projects and change directions on a dime when needed.”
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Over the past year, Moye has been working with partners like SEG Services as well as her internal team to implement a number of different unique services, initiatives, and technologies designed to create a personalized experience for ASICS consumers.
One of the most exciting technologies, to Moye’s mind, is something that many people might overlook at first glance: a shoe sole.
“This is a groundbreaking technology [introduced in the GLIDERIDE shoe] designed to not only propel you forward but also help you conserve energy and absorb shock so that you can run longer, and more efficiently,” Moye explains. “When we debuted this technology at our Fifth Avenue Flagship location in NYC, we built an experience so that consumers could see and feel all the different advantages of the technology for themselves.”
The team at the ASICS Institute of Sports (ISS) produced several prototypes with a curved forefoot design which gives runners a smooth and comfortable rolling effect as they run. The unique features of the GLIDERIDE also help runners save energy while in motion and lessen foot fatigue.
“And that experience was planned to be ready for the NYC marathon,” she adds, “so we were able to become a part of a really exciting sport moment and engage with extremely knowledgeable consumers.”
According to Moye, this technological experience was designed to give consumers a sense of the extensive research and analysis that went into the development of the shoe sole at ISS, which is located in Japan.
“I am a conduit from the ASICS North America region to our global headquarters in Kobe,” Moye notes. “I am in constant communication and partnership with our teams in Japan to ensure that the voice of the brand—its authentic heritage, our founder’s dedication to physical and emotional well-being, and our tradition of product innovation—is coming to life in the consumer experience.”
At the end of the day, everything that Moye does is “guided by the experience,” she says, whether she’s hosting a holiday gathering, organizing a store event, or helping to design a new ASICS space.
“I want it all to be the best experience possible,” Moye emphasizes, “the kind of experience that stays with a person and creates a connection to the brand that lasts for years to come.”
Editor’s note: At the time of press, Maria Moye was no longer with ASICS.