DSW Milestone: Vendors Weigh In

DSW’s vendors recall how the retail chain wooed them in the early days, and sound off on why the business and its partnerships continue to grow together.

“Congratulations to DSW for building a big business and continuing to offer the customer a great value.” — Vince Camuto, CEO, Camuto Group

“We thank DSW for its wonderful partnership in building a terrific business [and] engaging shoppers in the Fergalicious brand. Our partnership with DSW has made the Fergalicious brand accessible to a large number of consumers while providing them a unique shopping experience.” — Andy Smith, VP and GM, Fergie Footwear, Brown Shoe Co.

“DSW has found an excellent formula. Debbie Ferrée has done a great job of creating a new hybrid retail model, and it has been working. Our partnership is very strong. I’ve known Debbie for literally my whole career.” — Rick Paterno, Group president of global footwear wholesale, The Jones Group Inc.

“We have been working with DSW since day one, when Rick Smith came into our showroom to introduce the DSW concept. We thought it was an important store, and it has proven to be incredibly successful. DSW has one of the best teams in the country and they are excellent partners. They know the business and they understand and honor the things that are important both to DSW and [the vendors with whom] they work. Debbie Ferrée has done a wonderful job leading the business and keeping it focused on the right fashion and value to offer to the consumer.” — Scott Silverstein, CEO, Nina Footwear

“We value our association with DSW. They are a partner in the true sense of the word. Their passion for product and their vision of brands has built a powerful business. We look forward to continuing our successful relationship for many more years.” — Tsering Namgyal, President, CL by Laundry and Dirty Laundry

“For the past year, we’ve been working with DSW through DSW.com. The website gives boutique brands like All Black the opportunity to move inventory in small quantities, but in a very timely manner, so the customers can get boutique style at a discount, and quickly. The [DSW] buyers are very tuned in to trends and what their customers want.” — Martin Rose, Agent and distributor, All Black by ACL Footwear Co.

“What can be said about DSW that has not been said so many times? They are leaders in their own retail segment and have etched out a niche they can firmly call their own. There are not many consumers — or retailers, for that matter — who have not heard of or shopped at DSW. They have been great partners [for us], and we look forward to continuing this partnership in the years ahead.” — Jay Randhawa, Brand director, Naughty Monkey and Not Rated Footwear

“We’ve been working with DSW for a long, long time. They have always been very good business partners, and they revolutionized the self-service environment. They were the ones who took it to the next level, and the key initiative was to have the best brands and best product at fair prices. Their success also is based on ease of shopping: Consumers have the ability to go in and find what they want easily, at good prices.” — Robert Geller, President of brand sales, White Mountain Footwear

“We’ve been selling to DSW from the beginning, when they had just a few stores. I consider Rick Smith a mentor in the shoe business, and DSW has always been wonderful to work with. They appreciate their customer, and that’s why they’ve been successful for so many years.” — Charles Dweck, VP of sales, Wanted Shoes

“DSW has become a destination retailer by pioneering new categories and collections and providing their consumers with top-notch service. Their buyers and senior management staff refuse to fall to the sameness at retail, and [they]push brands to deliver. I give them a lot of credit and applaud their approach as it’s this type of thought process that gives you longevity and the connection to consumers that they’ve captured.” — Tom Romeo, CEO and owner, Bearpaw Footwear

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