Off the Cuff

H&M President: From Farm Boy to Fashion Mogul

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As a child, Daniel Kulle wanted to be a farmer when he grew up.

"I am a farmer boy, born and raised on a farm. I really, really liked it--still like it," Kulle told "Off The Cuff", a new series that features top leaders in candid interviews about life beyond the corner office. He said that his "biggest dream ever was to have my own farm and be a farmer boy."

Farm life is worlds away for Kulle now — but if he wanted to, he could put overalls on the shelves of one of the largest and most successful retailers in the world.

Kulle is the president for H&M North America, a position he's held since 2009. Under his watch, the number of the U.S. stores grew 33 percent to 255 and total number of employees climbed to more than 8,000 people. The company just opened its first store in Miami and a new three-floor location in New York's Times Square is planned for next year.

The key to the chain's success: its ability to capture the latest fashion trends and get them from the catwalk to consumer quickly — at an affordable price.

H&M does not own factories and works with hundreds of suppliers around the world. That allows it to be nimble. But it also opens the company up to the risk of disruption in supply and quality (there have been multiple recalls on H&M products).

So how does Kulle deal with the ambiguity of these relationships and the uncertainty that stems from the current economic slowdown? A strict daily routine and his family.

Kulle starts his mornings at 5.30 a.m. with a diligent breakfast routine. After work he manages to save some bounce in his step — to bounce around with his kids: Kulle's seven-year-old daughter and five-year-old son love to jump on a trampoline with him when he gets home from work.

"Personally I am really proud of my family. I am proud of my two kids. They are well behaved, not due to me," he quickly added, "due to my wife."