To start the new year, FN reached out to some of the top execs and thought leaders in the shoe industry for a little inspiration on what keeps them going. Here’s what they had to say.
“I preach in our business, and life in general, that you need to have progress over perfection. We need to make progress every single day.” — Dick Johnson, CEO and president, Foot Locker
“Carpe diem — seize the day. Act with speed, pace and a sense of urgency.” — Blake Krueger, CEO and president, Wolverine Worldwide Inc.
“Be strong, creative and gracious.” — Federica Montelli, head of fashion, La Rinascente
“I have two. My personal mantra is, ‘I will walk [again].’ For business, it is, ‘Communication and respect.’ ” — Bob Campbell, Chairman and CEO, BBC International
“The same as it has been the last few years: focus, tempo, disruption. Those are the operating principles we live by at DSW, and it’s serving us well. You’ve got to stay focused on your vision, keep up a quick tempo and disrupt whenever possible. The obvious or easy path isn’t the one that will keep you relevant as a business.” — Roger Rawlins, CEO, DSW Inc.
“Emphasize creativity and newness ahead of everything else.” — Neil Clifford, CEO, Kurt Geiger
“No matter how much I try, there’s always something I didn’t see coming. All I can say is, we do the best we can when it happens and react as quickly as possible.” — Jimmy Gabriel, president of footwear, North America, Global Brands Group
“Legacy. I am focused on making decisions in 2019 that will not only define my year but redefine the future of our industry and those who will lead it after I am no longer in it.” — D’Wayne Edwards, founder, Pensole Footwear Design Academy
“I have always been hyper-focused on brands that captivate me and encourage me to think — from their brand message to their approach around thoughtful design. As a designer, I feel I have a sense of responsibility to provide the Paul Andrew consumer with the same level of authenticity and inspiration. I have ambitious plans to advance my brand on a global scale and have a tremendous amount of confidence in both retail and online. It’s going to be an exciting year ahead.” — Paul Andrew, CEO & chief creative officer, Paul Andrew, Creative Director of Women’s Collections, Salvatore Ferragamo
“We sell products that bring people happiness and satisfaction. This statement is our mantra. It represents every action we take every single day. If our business is not focused on bringing happiness and satisfaction to our end users, to our retailers and to our employees, then we are, of course.” — David Kahan, CEO, Birkenstock Americas
“Work smart, not hard.” — Evan Cagner, President and CEO, Synclaire Brands
“Stay hungry and have fun.” — Michael Schaffer, co-founder, Nobull
“Execution, execution, execution. Our 2018 momentum began with our strategy of focusing on performance product and was sustained by executing it at all levels of our business. In 2019, we’ll maintain our focus on delivering product solutions for all who run.” — Dan Sheridan, EVP, GM of global sales, Brooks Running Co.
“Be true to Mephisto. Do what we do, and do it as well as we can.” — James Rowley, president, Mephisto USA
“Embrace change.” — John Florsheim, president and COO, Weyco Group
“Focus only on the consumer. At the end of the day, [it’s not about] a retail buyer or landlord.” — Michael DeVirgilio, president, Marquee Brands
“Continue doing what we have been doing — with the exception that we wasted way too much time, money and effort on a few acquisitions that did not materialize. But I was born optimistic. How can I not be for the upcoming year? I am one more year wiser. I think it will be a great one.” — Joe Ouaknine, chairman, Titan Industries
“It’s my general life mantra: All ships rise with the tides.” — Aurora James, creative director and founder, Brother Vellies
“Stand for tomorrow.” — Blake Mycoskie, founder, Toms Shoes
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