Blog #195 I talked about Zappos 4th Anniversary Party. In this blog I want to talk about my First WSA show with Zappos
So there were a few things I negotiated with Fred when I was thinking of moving to Zappos. I was ok with the salary and incentives they offered but I needed Kaiser Medical insurance because of Family medical reasons, and also wanted a 401k plan because I was 44 and needed some sort of retirement plan. I had some money from my Nordstrom 401k plan still but it wasn’t enough.
A few months after I started they announced the 401k plan for the entire company. Impressive I thought. Since there was a need to work from home on Fridays we all got Laptops and were asked if we wanted both a desktop and a laptop. Most of us just opted for the lap top.
So we were getting ready for the WSA shoe show in Las Vegas. I liked this show because it was in one general area and if there were multiple locations they were pretty close. Our mission for the show was to add more brands to the mix. We would usually attend the WSA entertainment show in which stars like Billy Crystal or Jerry Seinfeld would put on a show for everyone. They were usually pretty good.
The days would be seeing back to back vendor appointments with usually just 30 minutes to grab lunch. That was if you were lucky. Sometimes certain brands would serve lunch so if you were on a tight schedule it was always smart to have these brands around noon. With 60 brands our schedules were pretty tight.
Being in the Shoe Industry for so long I’ve made quite a few friendships over the years. Walking down the aisle is like a reunion of sorts. This also made it difficult to maintain a timely schedule. Over the years I’ve learned to plan this out too,but this first year and having to manage so many brands I was running pretty much all day. The Skecher’s booth was massive, loud music and attracted a lot of attention. It was great seeing everyone again after being out the industry for awhile.
After the show we would usually have a vendor dinner with one of our brands for dinner. If Fred was there it would always get ugly. By that I mean, lots of drinking until wee hours of the night. His favorite thing was always having a Buyers breakfast at 7:30 am. “You have to be able to answer the bell” he’d say. Sometimes it was tough. I’d tell him I wasn’t eating solids just yet but I was always on time.
Usually after a show the buyers are busy writing orders. It would be long 12 hour days to hit the deadlines the brands had set. They would often offer a Show discount if we would get them before the deadline. I would write back-ups as well, to improve the margins. After a few weeks, things started getting back to normal.
We had toyed around with the idea of adding Kid’s shoes. I had asked them that when I interviewed but they told me they weren’t there yet. Then one day Fred started asking us who the best Kid’s person was out there. My first impulse was to say Pam who I worked with in Arden Fair. Aaron agreed. Fred said he was going to try to set up and interview with her soon. It would be nice to see her again.
SIZES... SIZES... SIZES... SIZES...
…just sharing my story and tips from my footwear career.
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