Blog #140 I talked about key brands we made huge. In this blog I want to talk about people who made a difference plus fun stuff.
In any business there are always people who made a difference, these made one for me. Plus fun stuff I want to talk about.
When I first got to Palo Alto I thought Nora was the bomb. She was attractive and confident. I could tell she didn’t take any crap from anyone. She was as strong as it got. Always dressed to the nines.
That was cool at first but… When I didn’t realize what the issue was in our business and it took me longer than I thought to turn it around… That made it not so much fun. Her high expectations didn’t waver, that was the thing. I couldn’t deliver until I had my “defining moment” in Blog #123.
I’ll never forget the meeting in her office where she pretty much said she liked me, but would fire me if it didn’t turn around soon. That lit the proverbial fire to take chances and do what I do best. The problem was our RMM was very cautious and wouldnt sign off on any aggressive buys. Sometimes when things are tough you have to take chances and be aggressive. It all worked out and in the end made me respect her even more.
Once I figured out the issue was having a great team, it turned around. We actually started having a really nice relationship. I learned from her you have to have high expectations and people that can deliver. It’s not a personality contest or fun and games, it’s a multi-million dollar business in those stores. We get paid by results. I’m glad I left with a great year behind me.
When a store is sick, you need people who can make a difference. You can’t have someone just accept the defeat. There needs solution oriented people to make the difference. Larry was that guy. He was in sponge mode just soaking in all the info and then making great decisions. This helped tremendously because it wasn’t all on me, I had a partner now.
Larry was great at the managing of the department stuff and I could focus on the buys. He had size ups, stockroom maintenance and people issues dialed. It was refreshing. When we had events, I told him the game plan and the vision and executed it flawlessly. I had said previously I was looking for another Candice who was my first in Arden Fair. Got him…
Plus we just really liked each other. It was nice going to work and spending that much time with someone you liked. He was someone I really wanted to help get to the next level even if it meant losing him. We still have a great relationship today. He’s a rep now and a darn good one. Really proud of him.
She kept me organized. I had a pretty good clerical in Arden Fair and Stacey was just as good for me in Palo Alto. She would have everything organized and ready for me each day. We would go through the PO’s and she wasn’t afraid to tell me her opinion which I liked. She also had a great sense of humor and little dry like me. Ok kind of a smartass like me. It was great.
When we had the Easy Spirit event she volunteered to help and if the registers ever got jammed she do thew same. She was just looking out for the best interest of the department vs. what her “Job was”. She was awesome and another big reason for our success.
Neil was our stock guy. Technically I think he was the Brass Plum Stock guy but helped us too. Especially when we needed it. The big UGG shift and Easy Spirit move was a huge undertaking. He was right there and made it happen. When we did our transfers timing was crucial and he always made it happen. Our stockroom was always organized and between the salespeople doing their sections and Neil doing the heavy stuff we looked good.
During the course of my time there I got to know Neil and he was a fascinating guy. He had a large family and very close. There would be large family gatherings and they’d bury a pig in the ground with hot stones to cook it and then dig it up. It was always amazing. He was also a pro soccer player at one time in his life and you could tell as he was really fit.
When business is good all is good. Like the saying goes good business cures all woes. I had been working in a cubby for a while now and didn’t really say anything because I was too busy. It was like a punishment I joked to myself. Jean Claude allowed me and The other shoe buyers in Arden Fair to utilize a nice room for an office. Nora let us have the room we rang up the Easy Spirit items up in. It was large enough for the three women’s footwear buyers so we jumped at the chance.
It was nice when reps came in or you just needed to concentrate on writing orders without the loud goings on of a stockroom.
One joke that never gets old is when a new person comes on board to have them do stock work at first to get acclimated to how we run shoes in the wall. At some point you will run into a space issue. The stockrooms were organized by color then heel height. If you received a ton of black shoes and only have space for a small amount a shift occurs. Sometimes they can be quite extensive.
I found out there is a similar joke in construction sites but instead of a wall stretcher its a pipe stretcher
The joke goes you ask the new person to go to another shoe store and ask for the manager. Then ask for the “wall Stretcher”. The reason why you have them ask for the manager is most people that have been around know the joke. They in turn say we let this other store borrow it ask the manager over there. Finally they get it.
There is no such thing. We did this to someone in Arden Fair and I think it was a record 3 or 4 stores before they figured it out. The UGGs shift spawned another instance but this person caught on pretty quickly.
All of these people made a difference in our success and it helps to have a little fun too.
…just sharing my story and tips from my footwear career.
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