Blog #149 I talked about my new Merchandiser and Store Manager. In this blog I want to talk about the Salon Reps that helped in Valley Fair.
Dan was our Cole Haan Rep. His nickname by the salespeople was “Dan the Cole Haan Man”. He was very personable, patient and was a great partner for me in my business. Our Cole Haan business was good but I felt it could be even better. I explained to Dan I wanted to focus on 3-5 key salon brands and make them huge. Most of the time when you say that to a rep $ signs arrive too. Dan was different though, he looked at the long term relationship and helped me in keeping in stock with the big items.
My favorite shoe, the “Dunbar” was still a big seller, so we added some colors and extended the sizes to 11. We took the top 3-4 colors and had a flow of re-orders that would hit the floor in a timely manner. There were a few other items that were big too and we added that to the mix of “never out” styles. All in all Dan really helped drive our business in the right way. I really appreciated his help and that’s probably why we are still friends today. We did business at Zappos years later as well.
Tom was our Ferragamo rep. There were some basics they had that sold day in and day out. Like Cole Haan we established a never out in those styles. Daryl had the market on this brand though so since this store was a little more fashion forward, I decided to have some fun with the brand. Tom was great a picking out the styles we could sell and not get stuck with.
I wanted a flow of “in & out” styles to establish the fashion trends for this brand and pretty much sell out. Our top Pacesetters were great at giving their input too on what they thought they could sell. This was one of the great benefits of having the buyers in the stores. Years later at Zappos Tom would be at Cole Haan and it was like a reunion. He’s one of the great vendors out there.
I recognized Kent from the Palo Alto store. He’s a very sophisticated gentleman. He was great to work with. With Stuart Weitzman I wanted to grow the business in 3 different ways. I wanted to take advantage of their stock program and incorporate that with my “never out plan” as the first step. Second I wanted to have fun in bringing in a flow of “make-up” styles that would be unique to Valley Fair. Third I wanted to take advantage of some close out opportunities for Half Yearly.
Kent was great at helping me figure all this out. The thing with the Salon business is your open to buy can get gobbled up quite fast with the higher price points so you have to get creative sometimes. Stuart Weitzman had extended sizes too so it made it even more challenging.
Tom was great at helping me figure this out too. We took some styles and had the depth in sizes and others were just in & out. Laura was the Stuart pro so she helped me figure out the make up buys to inject some fashion on the floor each month.
These three brands started having huge increases as a result of these three awesome reps. There were several other Salon reps that helped in Valley Fair, but these three had the best results. I have great relationships with all three today and they helped me tremendously at Zappos too. Goes to show you if you treat people well it comes back to you too.
Having great relationships with you reps are so important. If you treat them poorly they are less likely to help you when you need it. This can come in the way of getting you more product, moving out slow sellers or improving terms when needed. I feel strongly that people make the difference. It’s not always just your employees either. Reps make the difference too.
…just sharing my story and tips from my footwear career.
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