Cole Haan uses Yapp to connect, inspire, and engage employees.

“Yapp is used as a platform for the staff to connect and show off their style with the Cole Haan brand. Managers and Direct-To-Consumer Corporate partners are able to see how teams are elevating the product simply by sharing wardrobing ideas and tips.”

Fashion Retail

Cole Haan created employee training and communication apps leveraging Yapp’s private social networking features to help employees across the country communicate, share styling ideas, and live their brand-focused culture.

The Company

Cole Haan is a global lifestyle brand providing elegant and innovative products like footwear and handbags.

After the Cole Haan rebrand in 2013, Caja Kelly, the training manager in the Direct-to-Consumer Retail Group, started creating training and team communication apps to increase employee engagement and support the brand-new marketing initiative. The Yapp app connects the retail field team and inspires conversations among store managers across the country.

Cole Haan and Yapp

Cole Haan has been innovating their use of Yapp with various apps for inspiration, new-employee onboarding, internal conferences, team communication, employee recognition, and internal brand marketing.

  • 1,300+ Total Installs
  • 1,000+ Employees Engaged
  • 2,440+ In-App Interactions
Team Communication App for Employee Engagement & Styling Inspiration

One of the company's most popular mobile apps serves as a private social network for store managers across the country. It allows the retail field team members to interact with each other, recognize employees, reference key brand marketing and styling information, and always keep the brand mission in their (very stylish) pockets.

“I like that the app is multifaceted and we tie in the inspiration, recognition, news feed, strength finders, and multipliers within one application.”
“I love that the app is the forum to share with peers and especially to see sneak peeks that our VPs and Directors share. I really enjoy that it is work-related which takes the pressure off feeling like you must connect with peers through other social media platforms.”

The key benefits of the team communication app include:

  • Inspiration: A brand-inspired initiative encourages store staff to show off their style. The app provides an outlet for them to post photos of their style and be proud of the way they show up to work. It’s also a way for the field teams to get style tips like new ways to wear our product and inspire our customers.
  • Employee engagement: The app provides the Training Team with a way of providing a fun, social and very feel-good aspect to work.  There is an Inspiration tab where store managers share pictures or quotes that inspire them. It’s a wonderful way for them to share what’s important and what matters to them as leaders.
  • Internal marketing: The mobile app is a platform for the field staff to connect with the Cole Haan brand and show off how they are engaged with the brand at their stores.
  • Recognition: The team communication app is a great way for the retail field team to recognize their peers, stores, teams and themselves. Store managers share Inspiring Accomplishments of their team members and everyone is able to view them through the Yapp.
“The best thing about using Yapp is that it showcases our culture. Participants share their style and style tips with each other, celebrate wins and share what inspires them – all things we focused on when moving in a new direction as a brand.” 

Cole Haan Apps in Action

Internal Event App

Caja Kelly is a training manager in the Direct-to-Consumer Retail department at Cole Haan, responsible for new-employee onboarding and providing product training to more than 1,000 retail field employees. The retail field staff is spread out throughout the United States and Canada and come together for an annual store managers conference. “We launched Yapp for a store manager conference as a way for managers to have the schedules and meeting rooms,” Caja said. They also wanted an easy way for the store managers to share photos and interact with each other during the event. The popularity of the interactive features of the internal event app inspired Caja's team to pursue a team communication app with Yapp for the store managera to engage with throughout the year.

Employee Onboarding App

The Cole Haan Training team also helps onboard new retail employees, including store managers. They realized employee onboarding apps created on Yapp could be used to distribute information to new store managers before they even started their jobs. This includes dress code, mission and values so they could get an idea of the culture and dress expectations even before Day 1. This helps address a major stress point for most new store managers: A brand style guide.

“I love that we have a platform to share our brand passion amongst each other that is only for us. We can also celebrate one another’s success and that is a huge part of being part of a team: to recognize a job well done and lift others up.”

Key Successes

  • Their internal team communication and social networking app helps with year-round employee wardrobing examples and internal brand marketing.
  • The onboarding apps by Yapp gives the training team a way to share brand and styling guidelines during new employee onboarding
  • Yapp's internal conference app helped the training team easily share up-to-date information with attendees at their annual store manager's conference


The Cole Haan Training Team started using Yapp for an internal store managers conference. The success of the interactive features of the app at the event motivated them to create another app for year-round team communications and employee engagement, serving as an internal social networking tool. Since then they have created a third app for employee onboarding and continue to create new apps for inspiring, connecting, and engaging their retail employees in the field.

Yapp has become a crucial part of Cole Haan’s employee connection to the brand and to each other, as well as a way to communicate product styling initiatives. It is appreciated by both the corporate training team and the field retail team.

“It helps us keep the culture alive. Managers are very active with the Yapp app and they share updates and events happening in their stores.” - Caja Kelly

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