In Blog # 259 I Talked about Zalloween Events over the years. In this blog I want to talk about Favorite Zalloween Moments.
This month kind of got away from me, I’ve been so busy with interviewing for jobs and running an Etsy and eBay store it seems like I’m working much harder these days. I love it though. This transition has been really tough for me. You find out who your true friends are for sure. I’m happy to say most people have touched me in a positive way, sure appreciate those people.
Going forward This will most likely be my last Zappos mention. I had some great years there, especially the “Tony” years. But it’s time for me to move on. So what a great way to end that piece by talking about one of the craziest events ever Zalloween. I attended all but one because of my China travels from 2004 – 2009. I think I did the following over the years:
2010 – Samurai warrior with 9 west group Jodi
2011 – Super Mario Brothers Havianas Andrea
2012 – Devil Centaur Birkenstock Stephanie, Vicki, Scott Jeffries
2013 – Scooby Doo Gang Dansko Steve
2014 – Gladiator Birkenstock Stephanie, Vicki
2015 – Old School golfers Birkenstock, Stephanie, Vicki,
2016 – Pokémon Greg Devey & Jeanette
2017 – Bloody Referees Birkenstock Stephanie, Vicki, Peter
2018 – Dino’s Naot Mark
2019 – Circus Big Top Naot Mark, Stephanie Cuen
Linda and I have had fun over the years dressing up for Zalloween. All I can say is she’s a good sport lol.
In 2010 we dressed as a Samurai warrior and Geisha Girl. I think for both of us it was one of our all-time favorite outfits. Kristin Colbert (Newell) wore her famous Mad Hatter outfit and Scott did his incredible Cheshire Cat. We got paired up with the 9 west gang and Jodi was the rep. She is just an amazing person, so it was fun hanging out with her. Her costume was “not” so amazing but clever. It was a t-shirt that said, “This is my costume”. By the 5th hole I was so hot in my wig and costume it was all taken off. We did 18 holes at this time, 18 holes of drinking and eating it was crazy. There were always injuries and wrecked golf carts I think someone even drove one in a lake one year. Probably why Bears Best didn’t invite us back lol. This year was also the year that Chris wore his Sheepboy costume. At least that’s what linda called it. Nothing makes you laugh more than watching a drunk sheep drive a golf cart. It was hilarious.
Myra and her Rep from Havianas shared the fun the following year in 2011, this was the year that made me appreciate my wife the most. Somehow, I talked her into wearing a “Princess Peach” outfit from Super Mario’s brothers. I was a Toadstool guy and Myra, and Andrea were the Super Mario brothers. I have to admit seeing Linda in the outfit was pretty funny, especially when she was golfing. God, I love this woman. Scott Julian dressed up as Sean Connery and nailed it. Mica’s husband Ben had an outfit that was a tribute to Al Davis the Raiders Owner. Tom Austin showed up as a “Bee”, Tom was a good sport too.
2012 had a host of clever outfits as well. Linda and I were teamed up with the Birkenstock team of Stephanie, Vicki and Scott. This year I was the devil and the group were priests and nuns. Steve from Dansko wore an amazing prince outfit. I think there’s a video of him somewhere on the golf course dressed as prince. I still have a picture of me with my legs crossed wearing my hairy centaur legs pants drinking some coffee, it’s priceless. The insider thing that most people don’t always hear is the personal side of the day. It’s amazing to connect with these amazing vendors as friends and really just have a great day together. I can honestly say every year I had that experience with my reps.
2013 we decided to hang out with Steve and the Dansko crew. We decided to do a Scooby Doo theme. Linda was Velma and I was Shaggy. Steve did Scooby and he was hilarious once again. Kitty was Daphne and her husband portrayed Fred flawlessly. It was such a great time, doing the Scooby imitations throughout the day of all the characters. Tony brought his Llama to the event so everyone could take pictures too! The Birkenstock team did a Flintstone theme and whenever Linda couldn’t remember Scott’s name she called him Barney. Too funny. Tom Austin was the incredible Hulk and Mike Balzer was Clark Kent. The team from Rockport did a Wizard of Oz theme and to see our buyer Eddie who is over 6’6’’ play Dorothy was a sight to see. Tony drove around in a golf cart wearing black and white prison stripes to make sure everyone was having a good time. And if they looked questionable, they did a shot with him.
2014 I finally did something I’ve always wanted to do, play a gladiator. I found a cool outfit which was a cross between 300 and Gladiator the movie. I had to show my skinny legs which I don’t like to do, but after a few drinks I didn’t care. Linda and Stephanie from Birkenstock found some sexy gladiator type outfits and Vicki, Kathy and Devin were maidens. Myra and Angela were Taco Bell hot sauce packs. Tom Austin wore a monk outfit with a fake cigarette along with Mike Forstadt and Heather. Scott Julian did a clever ET outfit and Dee and company did a gangster theme. Kristen was the star with her money outfit. There was a hole that had cards against humanity sayings and some they made up like “What is Mike Normart’s guilty pleasure. I pointed at Linda. This was also a year of phenomenal make-up. The creepy clown and woman at one of the holes was the best I’ve ever seen. Mercedes and Candace also were notable with their Skeleton girls make-up. I also want to remind everyone this was a charity event for Two-Ten which helps shoe people in need and raises money for scholarships, so for a good cause as well.
2015 we weren’t that creative so we dressed as vintage golfers, we hung out with the Birkenstock gang again. Tom Austin was dressed as the devil in red face and all. Heaven, Kristen did the troll doll thing with the bright pink hair that stood straight up. There were also some guys from Chippendales on hand to take pictures with, I let the girls have the fun in that one.
2016 we teamed up with Greg Devey and his wife and did Pokémon. Jeanette even tweaked out our golf cart with Pokémon paraphernalia, turned out really cool. Maui Jim sunglass company had a surfboard that moved and if you tee offed and hit a target you won some sunglasses. I came close but no cigar. This year we also had designated drivers so people wouldn’t crash the golf carts. Injuries went down this year. Our driver was Frankie from CLT, we hit it off pretty good, she was fun to be around.
2017 we did Bloodied up refs. The Birkenstock team was joined by Peter the CFO. He had the idea to add the blood for spice. We golfed with Kathy this year. Dee was “where’s waldo?” which was classic, and she did it well. There were very dangerous Jell-O shots at a lot of the holes which crept up on you. Robert was comical with his Papa Smurf outfit, especially when he was at the hole where they spun you around then you teed off. Wasn’t pretty, lol. This year there was a Big Raiders tent since the Raiders were coming to town which was pretty cool being a big Raider fan. Lots of beer pong holes too, so you had to pace yourself even though it was only 9 holes this year. There were a few holes with karaoke and Kathy got up and did her “Love Shack” interpretation. I have that video in the archives somewhere too.
2018 our Naot rep wanted to join in on the fun this year so Linda and I decided to hangout with him. Dee and her husband Chris joined us this year. So in planning the costumes,, Mark kept saying he wanted to dress up as a dinosaur, so that’s what we did. He was the big dino and Chris and I were Dino Riders which were comical. We had the Dinos that blew up and little legs dangling from the side. Dee and Linda were Jurassic park employees to keep us in line. We had the best time especially when we had the dino race which I died laughing, and watching Mark go down the water slide in his costume was priceless.There was a group that did a great job at Gilligans Island too, I wish I knew what company they were from but it was a vendor that did it. Bill Johnson had a good costume with a hanging eyeball thing, he was with Terry Imus who used to work at Zappos earlier.This was a great one though, everyone had a good time and things were more in control than previous years
For 2019, Little did we know that Covid would halt the Zalloween in 2020 so this was the last year for me. Stephanie Matteucci wanted to do a big Top Circus theme, so I did a Strongman and Linda dressed as a sexy circus performer. Stephanie was the ringmaster and mark from Naot did the bearded Lady which was hilarious. We actually went to a hole with a circus theme, so it was funny to compete with another strong man and bearded Lady. I think we had the edge quite honestly. There was also a mechanical bull which Mark did in his bearded Lady costume. You can’t “un-see” that. All in all another successful Zalloween.
Funny to think it all started off a vendor sponsorship we did in Southern California. Funny how ideas come to fruition sometimes.
I talked a lot about Zalloween but some other notable events that happened were when Steve and Fred left to start their own Shoe company.
Then recently Tony stepping down then Tragically passed away which was a shock to all of us. I remember that night very vividly even today. I was stunned. He did so much for me and many others. Most people will never experience the career at I had at Zappos. It was very unique and just like one of the core values “Embrace and drive change” you had to expect change. It was such an amazing experience for me and helped me become the person I am today. With all the relationships I built over the years with fellow employees and the vendor community. The contributions I was able to make that made a huge impact on the growth and development of the brand no one can ever take that away from me.
All good things come to an end at a certain point however and it happened to me in February of this year. It doesn’t matter why; it just was part of my reality now. I no longer got to see my team everyday even though with Covid it was over Zoom most of the time. I decided to take some time off and spend more time with my daughter and son, my Brother and my Mom and even better more quality time with the love of my life. It was amazing. I feel so happy now and have little to no stress in my life. Sometimes things can be a blessing. But I need the challenge still. The challenge to build a business and mentor young retail professionals to reach their potential. That’s why I started this blog to share my experiences. I also need to close a chapter in my life that was so meaningful so I can move forward in a positive way.
I am ending the Zappos Chapter here and will talk about my ongoing experiences and how my experience thus far has helped me. In starting my Etsy site, it is so amazing how all my retail experience helps in developing product and how to market it in the right way. It’s a slow process, but I love the challenge. This is more of a side gig for me to keep me busy and am actively looking for my next career. I figure I still have a lot to give and am proud of the fact that the people that are high up in merchandising currently at Zappos, I helped mentor and coach them. I am proud of them for that fact as well.
Tony used to say “people will forget what you’ve done, they will forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” I only hope that I made a difference for most people, I want people to think back about our time together and feel good about it. I tried to make people feel good about themselves and thier career opportunities. That is why I got so involved in the Career Path. I wanted to make a difference and help people feel good about thier path.That is what I want my legacy to be, I hope I accomplished that for the people I cared about.
Stay tuned more adventures await…
SIZES... SIZES... SIZES... SIZES...
…just sharing my story and tips from my footwear career.
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