Retail Remix: Deer Stags

Over half a century, Deer Stags has forged strong business and personal relationships among its retail partners.

Jeanne Markel
Director of culture, Downtown Project, Las Vegas

“Zappos is incredibly fortunate that Deer Stags took a chance on us in the early days of the company, a big risk for a [business] its size, particularly as we moved from a strictly drop-ship model to buying inventory directly from brands. Working with Rick Muskat and the Deer Stags family has been a true partnership, a term often overstated in our industry. We’ve all worked together for the long term and have made decisions that reflect the give-and-take of a partnership. I’ve worked most closely with the next generation of the Muskat family — Danny, Jake, Jeni and Alison. Through the years, we’ve bounced [many] ideas off each other.”

Sherri Brown
Owner, Knuth’s; Westlake, Ohio

“We’ve been NoSox customers since early 2013. The team’s extremely fun and helpful. Danny Muskat, in particular, has been a pleasure to know and work with. As a family business ourselves, we appreciate the hands-on, family feeling. The brand’s in-stock and open-stock [format], makes it easy [for our store] to make money. The NoSox customer crosses all ages. It’s for anyone who wants an easy, cute, comfortable, moderately priced shoe.”

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Daniel Hanig
VP, Hanig’s Footwear; Chicago

“The Muskat family and Deer Stags crew have the unique ability to listen to and absorb feedback from retailers and consumers, then quickly turn those ideas around into market-friendly and comfortable footwear. They’ve found a niche with Deer Stags and NoSox, and excel at making [both] stand out in a flooded market. The NoSox brand has grown leaps and bounds over the years. The Muskats continually update NoSox’s image in order to lead the fashion trends.”

Jason Brown
CEO, Thom Brown Shoes; Boston

“The Muskats run a family business that prides itself on being hands-on and responsive. They listen to retailers and consumers in order to be able to react quickly to changing consumer preferences. We feel strongly about cultivating solid working relationships with our vendors. Those relationships need to be a win-win for both parties. We initially began carrying one of the company’s brands in just one of our stores. Over time, we expanded the brand offering and SKU count in our [sister locations]. We were comfortable expanding the selection, as we had successes with some styles while working through nonperformers [with its team]. Our business is important to them. It’s rare [for a company] to consistently produce items that provide quality and value for both the consumer and retailer.”

Dan Ungar
President, Mar-Lou Shoes; Lyndhurst, Ohio

“The Muskats do business with huge companies, yet they focus on small independents like me, and that is pretty special. Danny gets in his car and drives to our store to cultivate a business, which is pretty impressive. We started with the company about two years ago because of NoSox. The shoes are easy-to-wear, lightweight, fashion-forward and fun. NoSox has replaced a lot of Grasshoppers and Keds business for us. They offer [styles] for the more mature woman that wants to look and feel younger, but have found that the younger woman is also wearing them. In addition, Rick, Michael and Danny all attended [my alma mater], Ohio State, and are Buckeyes, [fans of the school’s football team].”

Danny Wasserman
Owner, Tip Top Shoes; New York

“I’ve known the Muskats since they were making jazz shoes. Their kids worked weekends at Tip Top Shoes to get experience on the sales floor. They were thrown right into the business. They have good ideas, and their newest brand, NoSox, is doing well. They all work well together and enjoy each other. They also work hard. I always see them at events for Two Ten, FFANY and FDRA.”

Isack Fadlon
Owner, Sportie LA; Los Angeles

“I’ve known the Muskats a long time. They’re wonderful people, well-known for their charitable work and getting involved [in the industry]. I started selling its NoSox line early on. It stands out [with consumers]. They try them on, then want to buy them.”

Chuck Schuyler
President, National Shoe Retailers Association

“The Muskats are very involved in NSRA activities and strong supporters of its education programs. The family is also very supportive of retail education for independent footwear retailers.”

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