Blog #137 I talked about the Easy Spirit National Sales Event, In this blog I want to talk about my Northern California Peers.
Started at Nordstrom in 1989. Kid’s shoes was a great experience and Brass Plum Shoes was amazing. Next in my career development was Womens Shoes. Most of my experience was in this area just not as a buyer yet.
There were some really great people that were my Northern California peers specific to Women’s shoe.
Kiyoko was a great buyer in the Walnut creek store. She was a strong leader too and ran a tight ship. Consistency was her thing. There really wasn’t huge swings in her business unless everyone else experienced it as well. Basics were her focus and always had them in stock. We talked to each other quite frequently, even when I was in Brass Plum shoes. I learned a lot from her and she was a great example in leadership.
Claudia ran the Corte Madera store. This was a combined floor meaning it had Salon, Women’s and Brass Plum shoes (Juniors) all on one floor. I learned a lot from Claudia. She not only was a great role model for me from a buyer perspective but she carried herself well too. Classy comes to mind. Very consistent as well. Never had ups or downs in her business or her demeanor.
We worked with each other more than the other buyers. This was because as I moved to different areas, she was a part of that since her floor was combined. Balance is what I learned from her. Having three departments, this was imperative and she did well. How to keep things aligned especially with the thought process.
Jon transferred from Southern California to run The San Francisco Women’s dept. I had worked with Jon in Brass Plum as peers before so I was familiar with him. He was the Buyer in South Coast Plaza I threw the gauntlet down to. It was a friendly competition so we had a great relationship.
The thing about Jon was he had great vision, he could spot trends and jump on them like no one I’ve ever seen. Great taste level too and I listened intently to what he had to say in meetings. His floor always looked amazing.
Marty was an Icon. He knew everyone in the company top to bottom. The Pleasanton store was his responsibilty which was combined like Corte Madera. His store customer wasn’t as Fashion Forward as Claudia’s floor. This store was similar to Arden Fair with less volume. Marty’s strength was in story telling. There were so many stories of his experiences in footwear and Nordstrom, it was simply fascinating to me. I would hold on to every word as he was telling it. It was helpful later in my career in devloping buyers.
Marty was a character too, very animated and somewhat comical. He had a great sense of humor and I liked being around him. After I left Nordstrom we would always run into each other and still stay in contact today. He is a good friend.
Joe was another visionary who had a knack for being right about trends. Fashion or basics he was great at spotting the next big item. He was also a good friend who I chatted with quite frequently. Worked out frequently and kept himself in really great shape.
Plus he had quite a few stories too of his exploits as a single guy. Being married for so long it was interesting to hear. He had a great sense of humor and we always ended up laughing, talking to each other. I learned a lot from him on balancing your mix of fashion and basics. Valley Fair was a combined Salon/Women’s floor with a fashion edge.
The secret to growing as a merchant is to learn from others. I learned something from all my Northern California Peers which helped me in my career.
…just sharing my story and tips from my footwear career.
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