knowledge is power

Blog #16 – Knowledge is Power

Blog #16:

“Knowledge is Power”

at the end of Blog 15 I mentioned that I got a call from a guy named Jim about an opportunity for a full time permanent position at a store called Rodders that could lead to management down the road. I accepted the position then started thinking “ I’ve never sold this type of footwear before? At Koby’s everything was down and dirty and self serve. At Rodders it was a commission job and the emphasis was on customer service. The product was mid to upper end with many of the brands coming from Italy.

Commission works like this, you make an hourly wage or commission of 10% which ever is higher. Being on commission you want to give the best service possible. The gold standard was Nordstrom. There were rumors they even took back a set of tires

Nordstrom was known for their broad selection of shoes and Rodders was known for being like a “mini” Nordstrom. Jim stressed the importance of good customer service. This was new to me coming from a self serve store but at the same time I always encouraged my people to go above and beyond to make people happy, so it wasn’t too drastic of a change. The biggest difference was “selling” a pair of shoes that was over $200. It really was just a mindset shift. Product is product, so to sell it, you have to know “why” it’s worth the money. 

I soon became an expert of the why. You have the better leathers, leather soles and great fit. At $20 you don’t care about that as much.

I learned the fit is determined by the last it’s built on. A last is like the mold of the shoe and there is a different one for each size and width. Picture this if a style of shoe has sizes 7-10N,  5-12M and 5-10W, that’s 33 lasts for one style. It’s common for the same brand to use different lasts for different types of shoes. Obviously a high heel will use a different last than a flat but you could use the same last for different styles of flats by the same brand. So you can buy the same brand and it could still fit differently because of the lasts that are different by each style. 

At this time the technology wasn’t what it is today, so leather soles were superior than the man made soles of the 80’s. In today’s world, technology has made some man made soles very comfortable and some almost like athletic shoes but with a dressy upper.

 A lot of the better shoes were made from calfskin which was also better. There are different grades of leather too and the way they process the leather is also a big factor. There are so many different factors in shoe making its incredible to imagine all the different hands that actually touch a pair for it to be made. I actually went to shoe factories later in my career which I will speak to in a later Blog.

This information was great as selling points to the customers. With the product knowledge we shared and the attentive service it was a whole different world for me, and I liked it…

Tip: knowledge is power, be the expert in your craft and it will help you in servicing your customers.


…just sharing my story and tips from my footwear career. 

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