Blog #147 I talked about Our Dog Willie the Collie.. In this blog I want to talk about Valley Fair and 5 Corporate Pacesetters
Valley Fair had 5 Pacesetters in the top 10 corporately. There were other Pacesetters too but this group was just amazing. Each had their own style too which made it even more incredible. 3 were on the Salon Floor and two were in Women’s shoes. With this floor you could easily cross over too depending on what the customer was looking for. The store had great traffic flow and the customers weren’t as tailored as the Palo Alto floor.
His nickname was Jet and it suited him. Jet was the king of dept. 36. He would usually be doubled up. “Jet” can you take another? “You bet Chief” was always the answer. When it got busy in Women’s shoes you needed a guy like Mike to be there. It didn’t matter how big the sale would be, he took it. Daniel Green Dormie, “You bet Chief”. Keds champion, “You bet Chief”.
Mike was a buyer previously and it helped to have his knowledge on the floor too. I absolutely loved working with him. Mike was a top 5 corporate Pacesetter and he did it the hard way, all Women’s shoes. He was always in a good mood, unless another of the top Pacesetters pissed him off.
I’ve never met another person like James in all my years in Footwear. This guy was good. He was funny, professional and somewhat intimidating. His piercing eyes could go right through you and in the next moment you’d be joking around. James would crack me up most of the time. If the floor was quiet he would be acting like a baseball pitcher trying to call the pitch to the catcher, shaking a few off then the wind up. At first I was wondering “what the hell is James doing?”. Or he would do his bowling routine. He had a few of them and always ended in some laughter.
I grew to like James and respected his talent. He was in the top 5 corporately and mostly sold Salon shoes. But he could sell like there was no tomorrow. Very charming and dressed impeccably. Since I was a Raider fan we talked football quite often with each other because he was too. Rules and floor etiquette was a big thing for James and he had peripheral vision better that the floor watchers sometimes. Ok most of the time…I got it, I’d tell him, you focus on the customers I’ll take care of the guys leaving wood out.
Laura had an amazing following. This is why she too was in the corporate 5. Yes that makes three out 5 that were on this floor. 100 Nordstrom stores too. It was quite common to see Laura go up to the register with 4 boxes of Salon shoes. “We need more Stuarts” she’d say. I looked to her when I was doing the buy on what she wanted to see more of. The reps would show me the shoes upstairs in my office area and she’d often come up if it was a Salon brand.
This was super valuable to me and I appreciated her input. She was a very strong personality. No one messed with Laura because she didn’t back down to anyone. Super confident in herself which made her so good. We also had some really nice moments together on personal matters. I really liked her and was glad she was around.
Gentle giant. He was taller than me and also dressed very well. I bet he was somewhere around 6 or 7 corporately but had been in the top 5 previously. His forte was also the Salon world and he was really good at it. Confidence was also his strong suit and between him, James and Laura we had some pretty strong personalities in play here. I loved talking to Mostafa, he was interesting to talk to and we got along great.
We had a contest one time and I promised the winner could go with me to the Vegas Shoe show which at the time was WSA. Mostafa was the winner and we decided to stay at the Luxor which seemed cool at first but we ended up getting a slanted room so for two tall guys was challenging. We had such a great time together and he helped me decide what Salon shoes to bring on. It was especially exciting when some of the styles the team picked out came in. They felt ownership which was awesome.
Jimmy was an old shoe dog. He wasn’t that old age wise, just had sold shoes for a while. He was corporate top 10 sitting right under the 10 spot. He seemed grouchy all the time but wasn’t. He was great to talk to and could be very animated which cracked me up. The customers would often ask for him in the Women’s side as he drew a lot of respect for someone who knew how to fit shoes. He wasn’t flashy, very consistent and a definite asset to the department
Valley Fair and 5 Corporate Pacesetters
So 5 strong personalities to manage. I joked to Tom one day that half of my job was preventing these top tier salespeople from killing each other. The caliber of this team was just amazing. I was often in awe of these 5 but also had to manage them. I treated them like I would want to be treated. With respect and included them in on the buys. We got along very well that way.
…just sharing my story and tips from my footwear career.
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