I have been blessed with two amazing careers. There were many other jobs before these careers that helped me get there as well.
I was employed at Nordstrom for 11 years. I started in 1989 and in 1990/1991 I was promoted to my first buyer job. It was in the kid’s shoes area. I learned the basics of being a shoe buyer and had great results in my numbers. After about a year Rob Shields called me about an opportunity in Brass Plum Shoes which is the Juniors shoe area. I made a name for myself by having stellar results and building an amazing team. I transferred to two other stores and had similar results. I left Nordstrom after 11 years not because I didn’t like the company, but the RMM and I didn’t see eye to eye. People leave managers not companies…
I had a brief three-year stint at Target, in which I learned logistics and running a mainline store as an Asst. Store manager, which they called Executive Team Leaders. Again, leaving a bad manager vs. the company. I landed at Zappos and made it my home for 19 years. It was an amazing time in my life. I worked with so many great people and made so many friends in the industry. I learned so much in this time about manufacturing with heading up the private label team until 2010 where I moved back to the branded side. We had fun filling the voids with both of those jobs trying to offer the best product to our customers. I also built some great teams here and will always be bonded to these people. I had fun turning around one of the larger divisions in the company and creating the progression plan for the Merchandising area.
When I left Zappos, I was worried about losing touch with people I have created great friendships over the years with. I always used to say to my teams that “Once the pen goes away, so do the phone calls”. By this I meant since people work on commissions or bonus structures its hard to determine your true friends. I found out quickly where I stood and must say it brings a tear to my eye. In the best possible way in my case.
I have had so much positive feedback from people I have worked with over the years that it is truly heartwarming. My shoe dogs in my Fantasy Football league have all been great, Rob Shields, Rob McEwan, Dan Butler, Mike Kerr, Tom Sowards, Kenny Lyng, Steve Reinhart, Tom Kicker, Greg Devey, Tim Joyce and Mike Balzer. Thanks guys, your friendships mean a lot to me. And no one made fun of my D+ draft results, yet anyways lol.
David Kahan and Stephanie Militello (Now Berg, congrats again!) from Birkenstock, have also reached out to me, checking up on me a few times a month. We had so many great times over the years and built a great Birkenstock business over the years. With both of thier busy schedules They have made an effort. Thank you!
Countless people from Zappos and others that have left the company like Pam & Jerry Tidmore have also stayed in touch. There are so many others that have made me feel good even walking the Magic show that I’m grateful. The three people that called me from when I left nordstrom have also stayed in touch. Tom Austin, Steve Rutledge and Steve Reinhart again.
I decided to take some time off and chill for a few months. I went to Hawaii and celebrated my grandsons birthday in March. My Daughter Jen and her husband Jon honored me by naming him Michael so I felt I needed to be there. Soon after, I started getting antsy. I took to LinkedIn and updated my resume, applied at a bunch of places with a few good interviews here and there. Nothing materialized, so I updated my resume with a professional resume builder, and it turned out looking really good. I had a few more great conversations with different companies but no offers. I decided to take up gardening and planted a veggie garden an herb garden and a rose garden. I was proud of the results.
Something was missing though so I decided to have some fun with an eBay store. I found a supplier and built a store. I decided to have products with a footwear inspired theme but will also carry other products as well in the future. I’m now learning about marketing strategies and other things to bring customers to the site. I feel this will round out my knowledge base and it is something I can have fun with. It by no means is my “New” career. I’m still looking for that position. It will have to be something I am passionate about, because that is so important to me.
One great bonus through all of this is it has allowed me to be closer to my brother David. He makes sure my mom is okay in my hometown of Fresno and is someone I really admire. He was such a great dad to his kids over the years and he’s been a great son to our mom. He makes me laugh (everyone knows the youngest child is the funniest he keeps reminding me) and we generally have great conversations on a daily basis.
My wife Linda has been amazing throughout all this. I’ll be honest I’ve had good days and bad days. She’s here for both. Very supportive and always knows just the right things to say to make me smile. She recently went to a design function and they all created flower arrangements there. She brought home something with me in mind so it definately put a smile on my face.
There are always positives in life. Things can have curves and feel overwhelming at times but it’s how you pick yourself up and who you surround yourself with. Friendships are so important in a healthy lifestyle and I feel fortunate I have so many people in my life that make me happy. I am blessed…
SIZES... SIZES... SIZES... SIZES...
…just sharing my story and tips from my footwear career.
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