Blog #188 I talked about how Size and width brands is my focus. In this blog I want to talk about the Zappos Buying Team 2003
So at the time of my hiring we had 6 Buyers in Merchandising me included in that number. As I mentioned in the last blog my focus was developing the Size & Width category. We didn’t have portfolios broken out this way yet , it basically was close to that with exceptions depending on who you knew in the industry.
I had 60 brands to manage ranging from Juniors to Salon by the Nordstrom standards. I even had some Men’s brands mixed in because we didn’t separate Men’s out being a small portion of the business overall. With me coming on board we mixed up a few things to get closer to a category type thing but not exclusively.
Aaron basically had the number one portfolio. Dr. Martens was huge at the time and he previously worked there so had a strong business going with them. My goal was to beat his volume but wouldn’t happen right away. He gave me a few of his brands including Born which was a fun brand to buy. I was really proud how Aaron had evolved over the years and now running a big area for Zappos. He was a good coach on getting me up to speed and still fun to hang out with.
Eileen’s focus was fashion brands so she was more than happy to give me brands that didn’t fall into that category. I was equally happy to take brands she wasn’t wild about as I saw it as an opportunity. When Eileen worked with me in Arden Fair you may remember her moving over to the Women’s/Salon floor as she was more passionate about that product. This was equally her passion at Zappos.
The big question for me this week was I wanted to order Chinese food for lunch next week and it wasn’t part of her “food group”. I wonder if I could just get her a burger somewhere and get everyone else Chinese food?
Jon was our Skate buyer. He was really passionate about growing that business and had a few athletic brands outside of the Skate world as well. He was friends with Nick our founder before Zappos was founded. Matt was also his friend and was involved with a lot of merch type things as he was the EDI coordinator/project manager. He wore a lot of hats and knew Nick as well.
Andy was Tony’s brother and had a mixed bag of brands. We would often grab lunch together as he liked to pick my brain about the footwear industry. I enjoyed our lunches and they were always productive. Made me think more about things as well.
Fred was the VP and bought some of the bigger brands. We would often compete with each other as he was much closer in volume to my portfolio than Aaron’s was. He would remind me he had way fewer brands than I had to put me in my place. It was all in fun though. He had Clarks and Uggs which were great for Zappos. He gave me Mephisto to run as well which was a growing brand for us.
I loved the people I worked with. Everyone was friendly and passionate about the business. Things were also changing rapidly too which was exciting. I had so many brands to manage I had to initiate the 80/20 rule and focus on the top 20% which made up 80% of my volume. In my portfolio this rule was right on the mark. I had some of the reps help me run their brands if it was in the bottom percent which in most cases they were glad to do.
We had our site manager or backend system which allowed the reps to see their inventory and make suggested re-orders. All I had to do was review the suggestion and approve. This helped immensely. This was such a departure from my last job which was super stressful. There was stress here too but “fun stress”. It was a really exciting time to be here at Zappos.
SIZES... SIZES... SIZES... SIZES...
…just sharing my story and tips from my footwear career.
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