Journeys Milestone: Vendors Sound Off

Vendors share how the chain helped shape and grow their businesses, while connecting them more strongly with teen customers.

“Due to Journeys’ great leadership and smart strategic thinking, we couldn’t be more pleased to work with the chain as our single largest account, globally. Its team, led by Jim Estepa, Mario Gallione and Jim Mueller, is a great group of folks who operate with high integrity and are a pleasure to work with. Journeys has helped Converse grow tremendously in the U.S. by setting the standard for the teen-footwear shopping experience. It has had the ability to cater to [teens] and still sustain the loyalty of a maturing generation.”
David Allen, VP & GM of North America, Converse

“It was clear in the first few years of doing business with Jim Estepa, Craig Michaels and Mario Gallione nearly 20 years ago that their passion for product would drive their success. Their intense focus on merchandising hasn’t changed. Journeys has helped cultivate brands. They give small brands a chance to grow, which keeps the industry on its toes. [They’re] a valued portal for global brands like ours. We’ve shared a lot of successes over the years. It has been an amazing journey, and I’m proud to call them a partner.”
Michael Greenberg, president, Skechers USA Inc.

“We admire Journeys’ strategies and its team for how they focus on their consumer target. [They] work with [us] to ensure we’re delivering the most appropriate product and [best] marketing [initiatives] to serve [their] consumers. Jim Estepa and his team are also smart risk-takers. [They] engage in dynamic dialogue to support [our] initiatives [and] get us to try new ideas.”
Kevin Bailey, president, Vans

“Journeys has been the largest global customer of Dr. Martens for more than 15 years, selling over 4 million pairs. The most trying times have been those of explosive sales. Despite our best efforts to forecast demand, we had to fly in thousands of pairs and make crazy demands on our warehouse to get the product to stores as quickly as possible. A highlight of working with the chain has been the consistency of its key players: Jim Estepa, Mario Gallione, Kevin Coppage and Rodney McKinney. They’ve been ardent supporters and take a partnership approach to our business. Most memorable was the success of our sandal program in the 1990s, showcasing the collaborative nature of Journeys. The team helped us create a flower cut-out sandal that left a tan mark on the customer’s foot. It literally sold a boatload.”
Bob Bradford, SVP of sales, Dr. Martens, AirWair USA

“Journeys is one of the most loyal, disciplined and honest retailers. Its team is laser-focused on the customer, and as a result, we see customers paying that back with continued business. Journeys is a great partner. Together with its team, we’ve built on this successful foundation.”
Patrik Nilsson, president, Adidas America

“Our relationship with Journeys is one I’m proud to call a true partnership. [We’ve] collaborated to bring new ideas to the consumer. Journeys was one of our key partners, embracing our newest and [most] innovative looks over the years. As with any relationship, there are growing pains. As Puma grew more mainstream and broadly distributed, Journeys challenged us to think outside the box and deliver product specifically for its consumer. Journeys has an incredible focus on its core customer, and that focus has never wavered through the years, from its first door to hundreds of stores today. In addition to the team’s focus, their keen understanding of their consumer continues to impress me. I believe Journeys was one of the first to truly cater to the young teen seeking an alternative look and the latest in hot new styles.”
Jay Piccola, president & GM, Puma North America

“Journeys approached us about four years ago, looking for an exciting, fresh story to tell at retail. The company has been a strong partner over the past couple of years, sharing our story with its customers. Journeys has always been a great partner, and we look forward to helping more children through its efforts in the seasons to come.”
Blake Mycoskie, founder, Toms Shoes

“I’ve been fortunate to have personally worked with the Journeys team for more than 14 years. They’re more than just a retail partner; they’ve become part of my family. We’ve grown together over the years [and] truly enjoy working together. Journeys has become such a powerhouse retailer in the mall [because] the buying team really understands the Journeys customer. The team has been around for a long time and has grown and evolved [with] their stores, so they understand the changing tastes of the consumer. Journeys respects our brand, and I value them as a partner. That can be rare in this business. I look forward to working with them for another 14 years.”
Jeff Fitzhugh, VP of sales, DC Shoes

“If Journeys carries it, it must be cool. That’s important for our brands. We have a terrific partnership with the Journeys team. We work closely to bring strong product collections to the market that appeal to Journeys customers. [They’re] extremely collaborative and fully understand what’s going on in the marketplace. [A key moment] was their recent acquisition of Europe-based Schuh, which shows how well Journeys understands its consumer globally. It’s great to see what they do so well expand globally with a great partner like Schuh. A deep culture of partnership and collaboration cascades throughout the organization, from senior management to buyers and into the store teams. They’ve helped us articulate our brand message to the target consumer in a relevant way and push us to design innovative, fresh products every season.”
Gregg Ribatt, president & CEO, Collective Brands Inc.’s Performance & Lifestyle Group

“Journeys is a great retail partner of ours and has been for many years. They’ve captured the young consumer by recognizing trends early on and acting on them immediately. The Journeys team is a great group of people who we enjoy working with.”
Connie Rishwain, president, Ugg Australia


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