Coaching from two Toms made the difference

Coaching from two Toms made the difference – Blog #151

Blog #150  I talked about the Salon Reps that helped in Valley Fair. In this blog I want to talk about why Coaching from two Toms made the difference.

Tom my Merchandising Coach

Tom my Merchandiser comes in as promised later in the week. He told me to be prepared to “Do the Deal”. Being coached from Rob previously, I knew exactly what this meant. We would do a stock walk, then go through the PO book. I would write everything out on a legal pad and we would check it the next time he came in, Rob 101. Tom wasn’t as loud as Rob though, so it was a little easier to handle. We went into great detail on the stock walk.

Stock walk

Tom really took the time to stop at each Salon brand and give his take on how he thought  we would improve the business. In some brands or styles we would write wide’s but not narrows and others the opposite. Some style would be just 9 pair runs to get in and out real quick. We laid out a pretty good game plan of how to approach this. I felt really good about it. He suggested the closeout Stuarts too. This ended up being huge for the store.

Po Book

Next we went PO by PO on what our flow looked like. He stressed that I needed to visualize how my floor would look each month based on the flow of merch we had coming in. He would be very vocal on brands he didn’t like either. He’d have a certain chuckle about it when we looked at those brands too, which made me laugh. He was real big on the 80/20 rule. I was too, so we were aligned on this one.

80/20 doesn’t just mean 20% of your inventory usually makes up 80% of your volume. While true, Tom would break it down by size. “Do you need this many sixes?”, Chuckle…”I’d put those into more size 8’s” chuckle, chuckle. It was intense but in a good way. Worn out more like it. I learned a ton though and it brought back some of the Rob things I learned earlier. I was in survival mode so long that it was nice to actually buy this way again.

Tom My Clarks Coach

The other Tom was our Clarks rep. He was very well known in Northern California. I met him in Arden Fair as an Asst. and worked with him as a buyer in Palo Alto. He was great to work with. In this store we had the “Jet” factor. He loved selling the “Sunbeat” so I needed to make sure he never missed a size. Our rep Tom was great at helping me figure out the flow of reorders to achieve this. New colors were also important so we always made sure we had first delivery when they were available.

Double Lattes were my thing. Probably drank too many of them, in fact at one point I developed an Ulcer because of it. So I cut back. Tom would always arrive with a double latte, then we’d get to work. It would take a few hours to do the buys/re-orders and then we’d head out to lunch. When you think of a great partner, Tom always comes to my mind. I’ve known him for years and he’s been Mr. Consistency. Always positive, great with the team and thoughtful. We’ve developed a great friendship over the years and worked together at Zappos later too.

Coaching from two Toms made a Difference

My point in this blog was that Coaching from two Toms made the difference. One from my employer and the other as a vendor partner. Both are important and takes a certain amount of planning and thoughtfulness to go along with it. You have to develop both to bs successful.

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

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