Blog #152 I talked about Why the most important asset is people. In this blog I want to talk about when Fred leaves Nordstrom for Zappos.com.
I will never forget the day Fred left Nordstrom. I had previously worked with Fred in the Arden Fair Sacramento Nordstrom. He transferred over to be the 1st Asst. in Men’s shoes. We had talked Jean Claude into letting all of us share a large office behind men’s shoes. Men’s shoes on the floor was across the aisle from Women’s , so we didn’t have the opportunity to chat much as Brass Plum shoes was a little farther out. We got to know each other better when we shared the office. Fred saw me clean up the department and it stuck with him.
The day he left
So it’s 1999 and Fred was in SF Men’s Shoes as the buyer, I remember I was watching the floor and the phone started ringing off the hook. One call after the other. Did you hear Fred Mossler left Nordstrom to work for an on-line startup? Dude’s crazy…Second call same script. One right after the other. We had close to 19 women’s buyers in the area so it created quite the buzz that day. I remember Joe even called me from Macy’s as well. The consensus was it wasn’t a smart move. Start-ups were closing left and right at the time.
John another Men’s guy also left Nordstrom to join Fred too. Word had it that the founder of Zappos poised as a recruiter and talked to Fred. Both Fred and John left at the same time. They would be working out of Tony’s apartment until the Emeryville office was ready.
Pie eating contest
Meanwhile I was supposed to be at the store Picnic but I had received so many calls from other buyers I was running late. I got there just in time for the pie eating contest. Since I was late I got volunteered by Karen. She was right next to me too. The pie was actually just a bunch of whipped cream but it was still messy. Can’t remember who won but it was a lot of fun.
The next day Tom comes in and there’s an announcement that Nora is our new regional. We both looked at each other at the same time and he said “I better call her.” I heard him say “So you’re my new boss…” I then left to go watch the floor and give him some privacy.
Looking back now it’s funny to think what my thoughts were when the buzz started going around when Fred leaves Nordstrom for Zappos.com. I think my first impression was “How do you sell shoes online?”. I found out the answer 3 years later …
…just sharing my story and tips from my footwear career.
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