· MBA in Marketing, Finance & Real Estate Finance, Columbia University, New York
· BA in Economics, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT
· Marketing Innovation
· Business Strategy
An entrepreneur at heart with a forte for seeing what lies ahead for his businesses, and adapting to these changes, Daniel Softness has owned and operated service businesses & product businesses, bricks & mortar and E-Commerce. His career started in marketing with The Softness Group, a family business in in New York. Their clients ranged from automotive, to pharmaceutical, packaged goods and innovative technologies.
After moving to Atlanta, he operated Gymboree Play & Music franchises with his wife Ellen Softness for 28 years, and they became one of the most profitable franchisees in the country by innovating pricing, membership and marketing to take advantage of emerging changes in consumer behavior. He then began developing commercial shopping centers to strengthen and increase the financial benefit of the Gymboree business.
He was named CEO of the Gymboree Play & Music franchise parent in San Francisco as a turn-around specialist to revitalize this iconic brand, stabilize the franchise network in over 30 countries and improve the financial performance of the franchisor while preparing for consumer, technological and sociological changes affecting the industry.
His latest venture is Vilaga Brands, an E-Commerce business operating under the brand name “Strippaggio” selling premium olive oils, vinegars and other gourmet foods. (This is not his first foray into the food business – he also owned a pizza restaurant for a few months.)