Blog #192 I talked about My first big Pitch as a Zappos Buyer . In this blog I want to talk about The time Tony and Fred Pranked me.
The 5 ½ hour flight back gave me the chance to organize my buy to show Tony and Fred our newest brand. I was so excited, my adrenaline was pumping non-stop all the way home. Being a buyer is more work than people think it is. You have budgets to go by then you have to figure out how to make it fit in each month.
Zappos was still basically a start-up so we didn’t have fancy programs to use to figure our flow or category planning. It was all a manual process. Funny thing was Nordstrom wasn’t too far ahead of us in the regard. Going through the first show in June for Ffany, I had to figure out how I was going to organize myself and my buys. Our brands were displayed by Brand so the hard part was avoiding too much duplication. Of course at this time everyone’s number one style was a black pump so so duplication was hard to avoid.
I decided I’d make my notes on the line sheet itself to make it easier to follow when I actually wrote the PO’s. I made an excel sheet that had everything I bought for each month to see what our site would look like too. Worst thing would be to have everything new arrive in black only, so you had to mix things up a bit.
Bringing Stuart on at this time of the year would be a stretch to have a November delivery for holiday but we were going to try. I wrote a few at once orders that would establish the core styles and a few fun holiday styles that screamed Stuart Weitzman. The rest of the buy would come in for Q1. It was going to be a restless night when I got in.
The next day I woke up with a lot of energy and vigor. I could hardly wait to get in to the office. I had always preached to everyone how important having great relationships were with the brands because you never know when people are going to make changes. I even made a change. But landing Stuart proved this to be true. I always treated them well and now it came back to me in a positive fashion. I was so happy…
I got back to the office early that morning and Fred greats me with a serious look and says Tony wants to speak to me before we get into the Stuart trip. I go into the room where Tony was waiting for me. He stands up and starts off by saying how grateful he was that Stuart Weitzman was coming on board. Tony had a great poker face too. It was hard to read him sometimes. I was expecting a party type atmosphere but this was kind of matter of fact.
“While we appreciate you landing Stuart Weitzman for the company we have had a setback in the company and everyone is going to have to take a 50% pay cut for a while” I looked over at Fred at his desk and he just looked down. “Fuck” I thought to myself, this is going to be fun explaining to my wife tonight. I just told her some great news and I’m going to come home with this news…Zappos had a year in which this actually happened so I knew it was a possibility.
Next thing I know Fred bursts into the room and they both started smiling. Tony looks at me and says “ We’re kidding we are giving you a bonus for landing Stuart”. Kinda messed up but That was a good one. The old 50% paycut gag, my heart just about stopped lol. They sure got me on that one. We all laughed really loud.
Then we talked about Stuart it was an amazing part of my Zappos story. I was so happy that I could do something big for the company and hopefully it would lead to more big fashion brands coming on board. Soon after Fred landed Cole Haan.
SIZES... SIZES... SIZES... SIZES...
…just sharing my story and tips from my footwear career.
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