Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Hammer

In my previous job, people who worked with me sometimes designated me "The Hammer".  Their theory was that they only got me engaged when someone else wasn't listening to what they were saying.  It was my job to drive the point home and put an end to the discussion.  If something absolutely, positively had to be finalized, they brought "The Hammer" to the table.

It wasn't one of those roles I particularly relished but when it was necessary, I could employ my best grumpy and firm self and put an end to the nonsense.  I recently had to get the old Hammer persona out at Zoe.  (I looked around and couldn't find anyone else to do it so it fell to me).

It always bugged me (in the corporate world) when people didn't do the things that they said they were going to do.  Well, as I had suspected, it is the same in the fashion world too.  In the last week, I've had to follow up to see why Zoe had fallen off the "Store Locator" list for one of my major brands and continue to bug another major label to include Zoe on their "Store Locator" list, a request I had been making since early April.  (Both have now been addressed)

Then there is the mystery of the lost/changed orders.  When I got to market, I have a certain amount of money I am able to commit, a certain mix of clothing and accessories I want to buy, certain colors and styles from the designers (so that the store looks well merchandised and consistent), and even certain "numbers" of things (x number of sweaters, x number of tops, x number of skirts, etc).  So when I order and commit money based on my formula, I am planning to receive those things.

I recently had one line come back to me (after I had ordered for Fall at market in February) and tell me that they had decided not to make two of the items I ordered.  The rep couldn't tell me exactly why.  The silver lining is that it allowed me to take that money and reallocated my sizing and designs with that same designer.  So, a positive overall because it happened well before I started receiving the merchandise.

Other lines just either have bad record keeping (remember, it is all paper driven) or just arbitrarily decide that you aren't going to get items from your order.  I've followed up on a couple of those instances in the last week.  And don't get me started on those that ship your order to some other store OR ship the order to you COD when you've already paid for it via credit card!  The Hammer definitely comes out for those instances.  Trust me, techie friends....there is a ripe opportunity to help the fashion industry with technology!

A special nod to my in-house CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) - my husband, Jim.  On Saturday evening he suggested that I take one of the sandbags and put it in a Zoe bag and place the bag at the edge of the terrace to catch the eye of passers-by.  I did this on Sunday and two sisters came into the store.  As one was completing her purchase, she said "I knew I would like this store when I saw your bag outside!  It was just so cute!"


  1. Enjoying your blog. Sounds like you've got a good CMO working for you. At least you won't have to use "The Hammer" to get him to do his job :)

  2. Caroline, I do have an excellent CMO working for me. He also has roles as light bulb changer, trash and recycling disposer, and Saturday morning floor sweeper. Although I do not have to use the Hammer, he occasionally threatens to invoice me for his work! :)

  3. Way to go Jim!


  4. Way to go Jim!

    Susan, I was thinking that YOU could help the fashion world go high tech!