Blog #138 I talked about my Northern California peeps. In this blog I want to talk about the Reps who helped turn it around.
I have always tried my best to treat Reps with respect. They are after all your business partners. It never made sense to me when people treated reps poorly. Some reps deserve it but all in all we all want the same end result. In my whole career there were maybe 3-4 reps that deserved it. They were the type that would just try to sell you instead of build a nice business with you.
Fortunately it was only 3-4. The next group of people are the far opposite of the other types. These reps really made a difference and helped me turn Palo Alto around. They moved out poor performers and did their best to keep us in stock in the hot items. These reps came to the store frequently to make sure we were in good shape.
I can’t say enough good things about this guy. Not only was he great for me at Nordstrom but also at Zappos years later. Consistency…I met Tom in the Arden Fair store as an Asst. with Steve. Clarks basically had one style that was huge, the “Sunbeat”. There were a lot of other styles that were pretty decent as well. Sunbeat was a monster though. It came in a dozen or so colors and was usually on the Anniversary sale. Tom was great at balancing our inventories and keeping a good flow of merchandise coming to the store each month.
Once we got our table of Munro styles coming in David was our rep that came in and made sure we were stocked. Like Tom, he came in and balanced our inventory and wrote reorders each month. When a new style would pop up as a hot item he would give me a call and we’d figure out to add it to the mix. He was a really good guy to work with and in the beginning phase of our Munro growth he was a great partner.
Steve was the rep for Keds. We had a pretty decent business in Palo Alto so he made sure we had the recolors right and in a timely manner. We would do our monthly reorder and then usually head out to lunch. We had a lot of similar interests outside of work too so we always had lots to talk about. Always in a great mood and really funny sense of humor. He was great to work with and enjoyed working with him after Nordstrom too.
Shoe Dog…Joe had been in the business for years. He knew his stuff. He had the line Magdesians which had a lot of sizes and widths. It was sometimes hard trying to figure how to order these items as there were around 90 different sizes per style. Joe was great at sorting it all out and coming up with a great mix of styles for our store. We did pretty good with the super narrow widths too in Palo Alto so we always worked those in too. He helped me launch Size and Width at Zappos many years later.
Bob had a fashion line called Adrienne Vittadini. It added a touch of fashion to an otherwise tailored floor. He was a great rep to work with and always a gentleman. His brand did pretty good too so we usually had it up close to the front of the floor to add a little pizzazz. We always had good meetings and adding a hot new style here and there to keep things updated. It was a fun brand to buy for. Years later his sons would follow in his footsteps as great reps to work with.
Jimmy was our Enzo rep. We basically had one item that was always in the top ten for sales. It was a basic A-line flat with super soft leather. It came in a dozen different colors so you could easily fill up a table of “Lady’s”. As a rep Jimmy was great at suggesting the right color way for our store and he was usually right. We had a lot of fun together growing that business together and enjoyed our relationship further at Zappos with other brands as well.
It’s always best to build strong relationships with people so you have “partners” in your business. Plus it’s a lot more fun that way too.
…just sharing my story and tips from my footwear career.
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