Shopaholics Getting Paid to Shop
Our Merchandising department is responsible for driving the business of our company through the products sold on our site. This exciting and ever-changing department includes buying products for categories such as performance, fashion footwear, casual lifestyle, clothing and luxury, both on the Zappos and 6pm.com sides. Along with our buying teams, this department holds a lot of our Merchandising support teams such as Pricing and Planning.
Meet Our Zapponians
Why did you choose Zappos? Prior to Zappos, I had been working in the hospitality industry for over six years and was living in New York City. While I enjoyed the work, I felt unfulfilled. Something was definitely missing in my life, and I wasn’t exactly sure what it was or where I would find it. When I embarked on my job search, I knew I wanted to shake things up. Enter Zappos. At first, I was very skeptical of the entire operation. How could a company really be that happy? What exactly did they spike their “Kool-Aid” with? And what kind of company lets you wear whatever you want to work? After facing my fears, I decided to take the leap and apply for their Customer Loyalty Team. Four years later, I am now the Buyer for Men’s Fashion Footwear and could not be happier. Looking back, I didn’t choose Zappos because they’re weird, happy, or weirdly happy. I chose Zappos because this company allows all of us to be the best version of ourselves, and gives us the opportunity to find our purpose both personally and professionally.
Other than Zappos, what's one mobile app you can't live without? My life would not be complete without my Spotify app! Where else can I get Britney Spears’ entire discography all in one place, in the exact order I want it, and on repeat day after day?
What makes Zappos a great place to work? Because the prospect of tarring roofs during the summer in Las Vegas was entirely unappealing to me. Seriously, I loved the idea that Zappos while much larger than a mom-and-pop family business, had that close-knit feel of recognition from co-worker to co-worker. Usually, large businesses lose sight of employees and their accomplishments, and it’s hard to be recognized for the work you contribute. Zappos has always made sure the right people are in the right positions to acknowledge and recognize those around them that perform their job duties to the best of their ability.
What's one interesting fact about Zappos that people might not know? Dice with Buddies. Because it has revolutionized the definition of “buddy.” Before this game, one would consider a buddy a friend that you see and hang out with from time to time. Now, we can consider a buddy to be a random person we’ve never met to play a game that is, for all intents and purposes, Yahtzee, without being called Yahtzee. It really helps pass time standing in lines, and people probably wonder why I jump up and down in celebration every so often: wouldn’t you do the same if you hit a five-of-a-kind while waiting in line to buy laundry detergent?
What is your favorite part about your job? There’s a lot to love about Zappos and I feel incredibly lucky to be here. One of the things I enjoy that’s specific to my job in Merchandise Planning is that as Planners we get to see the big picture when it comes to the health of our business. In doing so, we get to interact with a lot of different teams here. On any given day, I have the opportunity to collaborate with a variety of Zapponians who work in buying, site merchandising, marketing, strategy, or even directly with our vendors to find new or better ways to move the needle. The work we do doesn’t always pay off right away, but it’s a really rewarding feeling when you are able to see a win in a business and know that you played a part in making it happen.
What led you to your current role at Zappos? Like a lot of people, I worked in retail to help afford college. I had a really great mentor at that job, and I probably learned as much from him as I did in school. Upon finishing college, it dawned on me that I was more passionate about retail than my degree. Eventually, I came to Zappos as a Planner by way of a finance job at a casino here in Vegas. That was 6 years ago and I haven’t looked back. Zappos is an amazing place to work, and I’ve learned so much here about retail, ecommerce, and shoes (of course). Just as importantly, it’s given me a chance to work with amazing people and brands in just about every area of Merchandising. Currently, I’m the Planner for the Men's Casual & Fashion Footwear business, which is a combination of two important areas of our business that were separate until recently. Working with a team of buyers all focused around one goal been a huge help in sharing knowledge as well as identifying trends and selling patterns.
What do you think it takes to be successful at Zappos? Just like most jobs, it definitely takes hard work and dedication to be successful at Zappos. I think what sets us apart from most companies is that our passions are taken into account as well. If there is a job or position that you are truly passionate about, you’re given the opportunity to show that and use it move yourself, and the company, forward.
What is a typical day like for you at Zappos? A typical day for me starts in the café with a delicious iced coffee. From there, I log in, read and respond to some emails, prioritize the day’s work and get started. Because of our self-management platform, I have the privilege of being able to choose what work should come first and what can wait, although all work is definitely important. Luckily, this allows me to stay above water, even on my busiest days. The best part is, if I need to break up the day, I can step outside for some fresh air and join in on whatever fun activity might be happening in the plaza or head to the roof top deck to relax with some more coffee (it’s a habit). If I really need to decompress, I may even challenge a friend to a game of mini golf or ping pong. Regardless of what I chose to do to rejuvenate, I always feel refreshed and ready to get back to work. I’m sure most will agree that we all have good days and not so good days, but I can happily say that this is the first job I have ever had that makes me excited to come to work every day.
What advice would you give to someone applying to a job in your department? Make sure it's what you are passionate about. Zappos really tries to place people in roles that are truly exciting to them. If you are excited about something, you will succeed.
What makes Zappos a great place to work? This company thinks beyond profit… it's in the business of creating great experiences too. Zappos cares about its customers, employees, vendors, and community like most have never seen. It's refreshing to work for a place that's not JUST about the goal... Zappos understands that the journey to the goal is just as important.
Describe the career growth path you've taken at Zappos. Because my background was not in Merchandising, and I had little retail experience I decided to start on the phones in our Customer Loyalty Department (CLT) to really find out what was at the core of Zappos business model, customer service. I felt as though this would be a great stepping stone to an entry level position in the Merchandising department. After working in several different departments within CLT over the course of a year, I was able to start in an entry level position as a Merchandising Assistant on our Couture team. This was a little over six years ago and I've had the opportunity to grow with the company, work on several different teams. I feel incredibly lucky to now be working on the clothing team and overseeing the women's fashion apparel business.
Describe the relationships you've built with your co-workers. They aren't just my co-workers, they are my family. Moving across the country for a career isn't easy, however it is when you can make your “new life” better than you imagined. I can honestly say I've never felt homesick, and I believe it's truly the relationships I've built here and the trust I have in others. There's not a day I don't walk into work feeling comfortable because I feel like I've known these people for years, rather than months.
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