My Private Label journey begins #203

My Private Label journey begins

Blog 202   I talked about Zappos 5th Anniversary party turns into the Vendor party.  In this blog I want to talk about when My Private Label journey begins.

 

As you may recall when I interviewed back in March 2003 Tony asked me several questions about a shoe, they had in the room I was interviewing in. How much do you think this could sell for was one of the questions. The shoe wasn’t high quality, and it had a man-made sole.

 

Fast forward 6 months and during the weekly meetings we had, the Private Label team was in the process of building new brands and they would ask us what we thought of some of the names. James would hold up flash cards with a name and the description of the brand. The one that sticks out even to this day was “Split Tongue” for a fast fashion brand. We went with “Type Z”  instead.

 

Initially we had 12 brands plus 6 other types that were exclusive but under the private label umbrella. My goal was to weed out some of the brands and focus on 5-7 brands we could grow and cover different categories of footwear. I would have to get a sense of what this would mean since we already invested in the trademarks for the names and had inventory.

 

12 brands that were pure private label

 

Rsvp: Currently we have Women’s, with Men’s to launch 2005. Price-point line, range $39-59, Moderate footwear

 

Fitzwell: Comfort line. Men’s and Women’s. This line would eventually be re-vamped to include special gel insoles in every pair and extended sizes. Gel will be in the heel cup and fore-foot portion of the shoe. The idea to do this comes later in the journey. Price-points starting from 49-79.

 

Lumiani: Italian made footwear directed towards the fashion-conscious career women. Price-points from 80-150. Will add Men’s and Children’s 2005.

 

Avarielle: bridge  type footwear from 100-180. not yet launched, orders have been placed. Women’s only

 

Bouquets: Special Occasion shoes starting at 44. Will add layered price points for 2005 to hit 79-100 and 100 and up.

 

Gabriella Rocha: Junior footwear 39-69. looking to add handbags for Fall 2005.

 

Giga: Unique, Boutique type footwear Price points 79-120

 

Lassen:. Outdoor and slipper line. Men’s and Women’s

 

Type Z: Fast fashion, Men’s and Women’s. 59-80 for women and 100-150 for Men.

 

Vigotti: Salon footwear, Men & Women. Price points 180 and up.

 

Bricks: Children’s line, 30 PP

 

Gambol: Skate Brand 60-75 price point

 

Decided to focus on these 7

 

 Rsvp: Currently we have women’s, Men’s to launch 2005. NineWest type line

 

Fitzwell: Comfort line. Men’s and Women’s. This line being re-vamped to include special gel insole in every pair and extended sizes. Gel will be in the heel cup and fore-foot portion of the shoe. Price-points starting from 49-79. We are working on long range programs to develop a strong and long lasting base.

 

Lumiani: Italian made footwear directed towards the fashion conscious career women. Price-points from 80-150. Will add Men’s and Children’s 2005 and also a womens “specialle” line 41 to 46.

 

Bouquets: Special Occasion shoes starting at 44. Will add layered price points for 2005 to hit 79-100

 

Gabriella Rocha: Junior footwear 39-79. looking to add handbags for Fall 2005.

 

Vigotti: Bridge footwear, Men & Women. Price points 79 -200

 

Bricks: Children’s line, 30 PP

 

I wanted to brand these like a regular brand. The initial brands were made and had white boxes with stickers applied to them. If we were going to be serious about this it had to be top to bottom professional.  I was going to try and find a box manufacturer to make this happen.

 

First things first though. How was the team we currently had.

 

Joanna was a seasoned buyer who worked at Gottschalks. This store was a pretty well-known store in the central valley, so I was familiar with them. She was super smart and had a great taste level.

 

Libby was an Ab and was relatively new. She had an amazing personality. She was very personable and had a very positive attitude. She was hungry  to learn the business and had a passion to travel so she was perfect.

 

Karen was another AB who was equally great. Easy to get along with and also had a hunger to learn the business. I felt the team was pretty solid.

 

Richard volunteered to help coordinate a trip to China in October. I told him Rob knew of some factories as well as some of my other friends like Rick and another guy named Rob. All of whom I worked with at Nordstrom.

 

But first we had to get through the Micam show in Italy. Joanna, Libby and I would go together, and Aaron would also help us out. There were a lot of other people going too as well so we had a sizable group going to Italy and some of them would also go to China with us later in October.

 

It was my first overseas flight so never had a flight over the ocean before. During the flight I forgot to lock the door when I went to the restroom and it opened slightly and I quickly closed it. Of course, this gave Fred some good ammunition to “enhance” the story to the door going wide open and me looking back with my pants all the way down. All I remember was getting back to my seat and Fred cracking up. Lisa leaned over to me from Marketing and said “really dude, why did you just do that to yourself?” Good question, but made for another “Mike folklore” story like the BART train.

SIZES... SIZES... SIZES... SIZES...

…just sharing my story and tips from my footwear career. 

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