Executives Sound Off on FN’s Influence Over the Years

Joshua Schulman, president, Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus Group International

“When I first joined Jimmy Choo as CEO, Michael Atmore made a point of reaching out to me and introducing me to other leaders in the footwear community. Frankly, I hadn’t thought of footwear as a unique industry before this outreach as I simply considered shoes to be a classification within the larger fashion industry. After attending the FN conferences, winning the FN Brand of the Year award, participating in FFANY events and getting to know my counterparts leading other footwear companies — from athletic to mass to luxury — I realized that footwear is far more than a classification. With Michael at the helm, FN has turned the shoe business from a classification into a community.”

Michael Greenberg, president, Skechers USA Inc.

“From our first Company of the Year award in 1998 to the second time Skechers received this honor in 2014, FN has supported our brand with many incredible accolades. I was honored and humbled to receive the Person of the Year award in 1998, and it’s exciting to see how much Skechers has grown since those early days. When FN recognized our efforts by naming Skechers Go the Brand of the Year in 2013, we were thrilled that our commitment to innovative design and technology had been affirmed by such a respected publication. On behalf of Robert Greenberg, who was honored with a Hall of Fame induction in 2000, and the entire Skechers organization, I would like to express our gratitude to the journalists and publishing team who are the heart and soul of Footwear News. You have been with us every step of the way.”

Ron Fromm, CEO and president, FFANY

“My first time in FN was in an article about Famous Footwear’s growth. My most memorable moment was when Brown received Company of the Year.”

Blake Nordstrom, co-president, Nordstrom

“The footwear industry has deep traditions and a legacy everyone associated with it can be proud of. FN has been instrumental for 70 years in supporting fashion, talent and the customer. We applaud FN’s role and stewardship at this momentous time.”

Steve Hill, VP of merchandising, Zappos 

“It had to be in the early 2000s [when Zappos was first mentioned in FN], and was very exciting for us. At the time, we were still very small and working to be recognized by both the industry and customers. Our favorite events over the years have been the ones FN has thrown. FN has the unique ability to attract people from all over the industry and bring them together. It’s one of the reasons our industry is so strong and cohesive. The footwear industry is more like a family than any other I’ve been exposed to.”

Debbie Ferrée, vice chairman and chief merchandising officer, DSW Inc.

“I was humbled to be inducted into the FN Hall of Fame. To be recognized amongst my peers was indeed an honor. Under the passionate leadership of Michael Atmore, FN has published quality articles on industry highlights, brand launches and professional and personal memorable events.”

Neil Cole, chairman, CEO and president, Iconix Brand Group Inc.

“Many, many years ago, Candie’s hosted a party in the lobby of Trump Tower with a special musical performance by Tina Turner. I was young, mid-20s, and I felt like this was my coming-out party in the industry. In the next issue, we received a full page of editorial coverage on the party, which felt huge to me. I felt like I had really made it. My favorite [FN] moment was when my dad, Charles Cole, was posthumously inducted into the Footwear News Hall of Fame. My brothers Kenneth, Evan and I accepted the achievement award on his behalf. We knew he would have been so proud and humbled. It was a great moment for our family to have our dad recognized like that by the industry.”

Glenn Lyon, chairman and CEO, Finish Line Inc.

“Whether it was the first time or the most recent article, what matters more is the value in being included in Footwear NewsFN relates to the audience it reaches — the readers know and care about our industry. It provides clear, detailed yet succinct coverage that is fair, timely and on point.”

Liz Rodbell, president, Hudson’s Bay/Lord and Taylor

“You are always so generous to us. For me, it’s about celebrating the accomplishments of our team — whether it’s our merchants, store-design visual for a renovation or the overall fashion direction. [FN’s most meaningful coverage] was of Vince Camuto. He was a mentor and a friend, and it meant so much to me to see him celebrated in Footwear News in such a significant way.”

Blake Krueger, chairman, CEO and president, Wolverine World Wide Inc.

“From seasonal trends to breaking news, FN is an important stop for me to learn about footwear- and fashion-industry news. I look forward to reading the latest from FN — both online and in their weekly print edition. I learn something every week that helps me better manage our portfolio of brands.”

Blake Mycoskie, founder and chief shoe giver, Toms

“Michael [Atmore] has been such a huge supporter of us from the beginning. It was in 2010 when we got the Brand of the Year award, and that was such a big moment for me. I was just trying to help kids get shoes. I had never even really thought about Toms being a real business, and then we were being recognized in the industry in such a big way. Through the years, FN has covered our different progressions as we’ve expanded into eyewear and coffee and bags. [Executive Editor Neil [Weilheimer] went on one of the first giving trips with me to Argentina in the early days. The fact that he went and did it and saw it and said, ‘This is cool!’ said a lot to me. All of those things have led to who we are today.”

Greg Tunney, CEO and president, R G Barry Brands

“My favorite FN memory was about 15 years ago. The magazine did a story about me as president of a new footwear company. My four children, who were young, saw the picture and asked if I was a movie star.”

Leslie Gallin, president of footwear, UBM Advanstar

“When I was hired to create a footwear show for Magic, CEO Joe Loggia asked me to come up with a name for the event. Of course, I had many. He gave me a clue, and anyone who knows Joe knows his clue his something to be taken seriously. I slept on the idea of going solo with the name of our event, Platform, but then, in the middle of the night, it hit me that the clue provided was, ‘How about working with FN?’ It has been a wonderful five years.”

Neil Clifford, CEO, Kurt Geiger

“FN is the only fashion industry publication I look to — it is the reference point for all the footwear leaders and essential to stay informed.”

David Miller, CEO of Minnetonka

“Nothing comes close to the impact of the 1980 cover story, ‘Without Reservation.’ It helped turn our beaded Thunderbird moc into an iconic style and helped elevate the Minnetonka brand to a new level.”

Tarek Hassan, co-owner, The Tannery

Footwear News has the been the voice of the industry since its inception. It has given us the platform to tell our brand story, which has been an integral part of our success. We look forward to our continued partnership with Footwear News in all of its future endeavors. Congratulations on your 70th anniversary!

Matt Priest, president, FDRA

“With the magazine’s new website, 70 never looked so young, hip and fresh. I’m not sure what we would do without FN, as it helps us keep up with all the industry changes constantly taking place, from new footwear brands to emerging styles and consumer trends to mergers, acquisitions and executive moves. Here’s to another 70 years.”

Carrie Rubin, U.S. president, Pentland Group

“I have too many wonderful memories to name just one. Footwear News keeps me connected to an industry I have grown up in and love. [FN] keeps me connected to the good and bad, happy and sad times and to old and new friends, both at FN and within the footwear industry. Happy 70th  — and looking forward to the next 70 years.”

Bob Goldman, CEO and president, Chinese Laundry 

“Chinese Laundry has worked with Footwear News since 1971, and we have watched them evolve to become the industry leader in reporting news, tracking trends and informing our peers.”

Pat Mooney, president, Footwear Unlimited.

“Before anyone had heard of BareTraps, we realized that by advertising in FN, we could land on the desk of virtually every executive and buyer in the industry and promote the image we wanted them to remember. FN has been instrumental in building our BareTraps brand. The footwear industry is all about the people. This industry is full of characters, and everyone who’s successful has an incredible story of trials and successes. My favorite pieces are the question-and-answer interviews [that FN features] with the icons of the industry and the up-and-coming contenders. It gives us a chance to pull for the little guys and learn from the best.”

Daniel L. Schwartz, CEO, Schwartz & Benjamin

“FN’s coverage of our 90th anniversary is my favorite moment to date. I would also like to add that my fondest memories of FN are when Vivian Infantino would visit us each season. I remember it being a big deal when she would show up at our showroom with a photographer, usually John [Aquino], and view our collections. At that time, a few good words from her and a well-placed picture of a new shoe could make the season for a brand.”

Rob DiMartini, CEO and president, New Balance Inc. 

“FN’s leadership has fostered a sense of community within the industry, and your entire staff remains an example of intelligent editorial, providing insight at every level.”

Joe Ouaknine, chairman, Titan Industries

“FN has always been the perfect tool to relay a message to our target customers, the retailers. FN followed my career from the beginning and is always there to help me promote a new brand. Michael Atmore has been a pillar since I can remember. I always trusted him when I fed him confidential information. I also love the longtime photographers involved with Footwear News. FN is a solid partner. Congratulations on a young 70.”

Mike George, CEO and president, QVC

“Several years ago, I had the opportunity to share my thoughts for an article about the 15th annual QVC Presents FFANY Shoes on Sale event and discuss how rewarding it is to be a part of a project that does so much good. Now, in our 22nd year, I continue to be grateful for the support of Footwear News for this important cause. The special issues that are released in October in conjunction with the QVC and FFANY Shoes on Sale initiative are always my favorites. The support for this cause is so tremendous and really helps us raise awareness for the project. The various interviews with donating brands, the heartfelt quotes and the personal stories from industry leaders are inspiring to read.”

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