Meet Chris Fox at The Shoe Box

The Fox Family at The Shoe Box

Steve,  Ron and Chris Fox

Chris and the Fox Family keep up the tradition of providing excellent footwear to generations at the Shoe Box.

Chris, please tell us a little bit about your store.
The Shoe Box is a family run business. My father, Ron Fox, started this store 28 years ago and it continues to be a family run business with my brother, Steve Fox, and our wives. We are a Men’s and Women’s comfort shoe store with high quality brands such as New Balance, Dansko, Naot, Birkenstock, SAS and others. We are one of the last independent shoe stores in a mall but our customers are very loyal. I like to think of ourselves as being in a hospitality business. We are taking care of people.
What are customers looking for when they come to your store?
Our customers are looking for comfort first and style second. So, when they come to our store we measure feet, the way it used to be done. We want to make sure they have the right fit and we are flexible with trends. We find them a solution for their foot care needs.
What motivates you?
We are not just selling shoes, we are helping people. And we have a strong presence in the community. Our customers know this means something more to us. We are a family in this community, so we support little leagues and school yearbooks. We want to have longevity with our customers.
How long have you been coming to TRU Show?
We’ve been coming since day 1 of TRU Show San Francisco. TRU Show is local to us. We are at the show the entire time, with appointments every hour on the hour. People give us attention at TRU Show. Because it’s a more personal show, we get a lot done. And it is convenient. We stay at the hotel where the show takes place so after show hours, we have a great opportunity to mingle and network with other retailers.


Bare Your Soul

What inspires you?

My family.

What historical figure do you admire?

My Dad, Ron Fox. 

What is your favorite time of day?

Morning.

What is your favorite book?

The Bible.

What do you like to do on your day off?

We get a day off?

What is your least favorite word?

Can’t.

What city do you like to travel to?

Eugene, Oregon for the scenic beauty.

Who would play you in a film about your life?

Paul Giametti

Was your first job in a shoe store?

(Laughing) No, I was the last kid of 4 and I said I’d never do it.  My first job was a bag boy at a grocery store.

If you had a super power, what would it be?

Flying.

What are you wearing on your feet?

Tsubo.

Thank you Chris for taking the time to talk with us.

You can visit Chris and his family at their store, The Shoe Box, 3401 Dale Street, Modesto, California or Catch him at TRU Show San Francisco.

 

Meet Karen Smythe

 

A native to Australia, Karen relocated to California just 4 years ago. With a love for sunshine and the ocean, Karen had no problem making the golden state her home.   She travels throughout the west selling Fit Flop Shoes and exploring different regions of the state.

 

 

 

How did you begin your career in the footwear industry?

I started in this business about 16 years ago working with shoe distributors in Australia and New Zealand. When Fit Flop began in the UK in 2007, the company I worked for became the first international distributor of Fit Flop. After I relocated to the US, I approached Fit Flop and joined them here on the west coast.

Tell me about the Fit Flop Brand…

Fit Flop is a standalone brand. We have a unique place among comfort and fashion styles. The tri-density midsole technology offers support/cushioning similar to a running shoe but it’s also a cute sandal. We have a growing loyal customer base.  Once you become a fan of Fit Flop you’re a fan for life!

What do you love about your job?

I love the travel, the people interaction, the opportunity to be part of the growth of the brand season after season, and helping customers and retailers decide what’s going to work for them.

What has been your experience with TRU Show?

Oh, it’s such a great show. I’ve been to the last 4 shows. It’s a very personal and interactive show. The room format gives me focused attention with the retailers. We can spend more one on one time to plan their order without distractions.

 


Bare Your Soul

What is your favorite band?

INXS.  They graduated from my school.  Growing up, we’d take off school, go down to their studio and hang out with them.

What inspires you?

People doing extraordinary things against the odds.

What is your favorite time of day?

I’m a morning person… I start fading in the afternoon.

What are you currently reading?

The Gods of Guilt by Michael Connely.

What is your favorite word?

Yes!

What do you like to do on your day off?

I like to get in the sun and relax.  I’m definitely a beach girl.

What is your favorite city to travel to?

In the US, it would have to be New York.  Of course outside the US, I have to include Sydney because it’s home and my family is there.

Who would play you in a film about your life?

Cate Blanchet.

Do you have a guilty pleasure?

Wine and Chocolate.

What was your first job?

Flipping Burgers.

If you had a super power, what would it be?

I’d like to see the future.

What sound do you love?

Waves crashing.

What are you wearing on your feet?

 My Whirl Fit Flops in Sesame.

Come meet Karen and preview the next season’s line from Fit Flop at our next TRU Show event.

Meet Debra Hendsch

Debra Hendsch is part of a growing collection of accessories sales people that find TRU Show to be a successful place to meet current clients and grow their client network. Hard at work, Debra made time for us to get the scoop on her career and current role selling bags for baggalini and Sven.

 

Tell me about baggalini?

The baggalini company was started by Dixie and Anne, both flight attendants for Delta. In their line of work they wanted a stylish, light weight bag that could help them stay organized while on the road, so they designed and sold their product in the busy travel lounge to colleagues in the airline industry. As the travel business evolved and sales grew, they began to sell their product into the wholesale market.

In 2011 they were purchased by RG Barry, a developer and marketer of accessory lifestyle products that provide fashion and function.

You also represent Sven Design Bags.  What are some of the features that make their bags unique…?

Sven Design began in Berkeley over 40 years ago. These are primarily US made bags with supple soft leather that endure over time. We like to say that these bags don’t wear out, they wear in. Our customers value longevity in their handbags. The style, functionality, and craftsmanship make Sven bags timeless.

How long have you been coming to TRU Show?                                               

I’ve been with TRU Show for about 5 years. It’s a great place to meet with current customers and find new sales opportunities. It’s a civilized, convenient place for me and the buyer to conduct business. The viewing area down stairs is a great way to demonstrate to buyers who is at the show and what products are available to them.

How did you begin in this industry?

In the mid 1980s, I was a gift rep. I gravitated to bags and travel. I liked the consistency of the travel and luggage market. The people who work in this industry are a tight group of people who I’ve gotten to know and trust.

What do you love about your job?

I enjoy the long term relationships I’ve developed through this line of work. I’m also a mom and having my own ability to plan my schedule was invaluable to me. Every day is different. I get to travel and encounter different work experiences each day.

 


Bare Your Soul

What is your most treasured possession?

My health.

What inspires you?

Kindness, Beauty, Family & Friendships.

What historical figure do you admire?

It would have to be a woman… Hillary Clinton.

What is your favorite time of day?

Evening!

What are you currently reading?

Edna O’ Brien, A memoir of a county girl.

What do you like to do on your day off?

Workout, Hike.  I like to be physically active.

What is your favorite city to travel to?

Paris. 

What word do you hate?

Awesome… overused!

What was your first job?

I was a retail clerk at Halle’s, a department store in Cleveland, Ohio.

What was the worst job you ever had?

Catering.

If you had a super power, what would it be?

Fly.

What sound do you love?

The Ocean.

 

Come meet Debra and preview the next season’s line from baggalini and Sven Designs at our next TRU Show event.

 

Meet Mark Napior

It’s a typical Sunny California Day. Mark is pumped full of caffeine, the trunks of Naot samples are packed and he’s ready for the 4 hour drive home from Visalia to Sacramento. He’s eager to get back to his wife and precious little girl. As he embarked on this long, lonely journey home; he plugged in his Bluetooth and took some time to chat with me about his life in the shoe business.

 

How long have you been in the shoe business?

It’s been 7 years now. I was representing some outdoor sport companies and also working part-time in an office job when a colleague introduced me to the Naot rep in Northern California who was getting ready to retire.  I’ve been with Naot ever since.”

Tell me about Naot.  What makes their shoes unique in the industry?

The Naot Company is based in Israel. Since 1942, they’ve designed and manufactured sandals, clogs, boots, and work shoes out of their factory in Israel. They don’t outsource their manufacturing. They differentiate themselves from other comfort shoes because of the unique “negative” foot bed. Similar to stepping on sand, they are soft, absorb shock and alleviate pain. Travel reviews have picked Naot as “the one shoe to take on vacation” because they provide all day comfort and are fashionable enough to wear into the evening.

They also listen to their retailers about product design and ideas.  I just came back from a design meeting where they invited a small selection of reps and retailers to choose the styles and colors for 2015.  My retailer, who has one small store but does a good business with Naot, was blown away at the amount of input that they were able to give towards the new line.  It was amazing to be able to be part of that process with one of my retailers.

What do you love about your job?                                               

I love to work with the small, local retail stores. I have great relationships with store owners. Every day and every store is different. I enjoy the opportunity to serve each shop’s unique needs.

How long have you been coming to TRU Show?

It’s been about 7 years. TRU Show is more relaxed than the big national shows. It’s more personal and a hands-on place to work with people outside their stores. I also love being around other sales reps.


Bare Your Soul

What is your most treasured possession?

My Daughter, SaraBeth

What inspires you?

People pursuing their passion

What historical figure do you admire?

Theodore Roosevelt

What is your favorite time of day?

Early Morning! I like to get up and get things done!

What is your least favorite word?

Serendipity

What are you currently reading?

START by Jon Acuff.  He is, hands down, the most real and relatable motivational author I’ve ever read.

What do you like to do on your day off?

Spending time with my wife and daughter

What is your favorite city to travel to?

Amador City, it’s an hour away from home, but there is a restaurant there called Buffalo Chips that makes the most incredible pie. 

Who would play you in a film about your life?

I’ve been told that I look like Ryan Gosling.  But, I’d probably say that Jim Parsons (Sheldon from Big Bang Theory) is a better representation of me.

What was your first job?

I was a paper boy.  I loved getting up early.

What was the worst job you ever had?

I temped at a bulk mail office.  I spent a whole day stuffing envelopes too small for their contents.

If you had a super power, what would it be?

What makes you think I don’t have a superpower?  But, I can’t tell you what it is… it’s more powerful if I keep it a secret.

Do you have a guilty pleasure?

Listening to the Beastie Boys

What are you wearing on your feet?

Naot of course!

 

Come meet Mark and preview the Naot line at our next TRU Show event

 

Meet David Young

David Young was on the road visiting retailers between Los Angeles and San Luis Obispo when I caught up with him to ask a few questions about the shoe business and his role as a salesperson for Frye Men’s shoes and accessories. A native to Northern California, David now resides with his family in San Diego County. He is regularly on the road visiting his clients up and down the Golden Coast.

How long have you been in the shoe business?
I started in this industry 38 years ago.

And, where did you get your start?
Selling shoes at Macy’s department store!

Tell us about the Frye Brand.
I have represented multiple shoe lines in women’s footwear for quite a while. More recently, I’ve been representing Frye men’s shoes and accessories. The Frye Company is one of the oldest US manufacturers of boots and shoes. They opened their doors in 1863 and last year celebrated their 150th anniversary. In that time, they pioneered new materials, patterns, and even invented new machinery for making their shoes. Their style and craftsmanship have come to represent classic American style. Their mission has always been the same, “to make the best-looking, hardest-working, longest-lasting shoes and leather goods.” http://www.thefryecompany.com/

What do you love about your job?
It’s great to interact with the customer and build great working relationships. As I get to know each buyer, their store, and their customer base, I can help them assort product offerings tailored to each client. Strong client relationships and customer satisfaction are what drive me.

How long have you been coming to TRU Show?
I’ve been going to TRU Show for 6 years. It’s a great, comfortable place to meet with clients. They can get away from their stores and really spend time looking at product and making decisions. TRU Show is also a great place to meet new customers that come to the show.


Bare Your Soul

What is your most treasured possession?

My family (David is married with two boys.)

What inspires you?

Hard Work, Getting the job done!

What historical figure do you admire?

Jackie Robinson (David is a baseball fanatic.  His favorite team…the San Francisco Giants)

What is your favorite time of day?

Dusk

What is your least favorite word?

HATE

What do you like to do on your day off?

Rest and relaxation with the family

What is your favorite city to travel to?

San Francisco

Who would play you in a film about your life?

Damon Wayans

What was your first job?

Flipping burgers at McDonald’s

What was the worst job you ever had?

I was a forklift driver.

If you had a super power, what would it be?

I’d want to be able to heal the sick.

What are you wearing on your feet?

Frye’s Phillip Harness Boots

 

Come meet David and see the FRYE brand at our next TRU Show event

 

Meet Kip Odermatt

Kip Odermatt

Kip Odermatt’s decades of experience as both a shoe sales representative and retailer make him the perfect professional to interview for our very first TRU Souls featurette. He currently owns and operates 3 stores in the Stockton/Modesto area of northern California. We caught up with Kip as he cruised the open road in his RV between the Rocky Mountain Shoe Show in Colorado and Salt Lake City, Utah.

How long have you worked in the shoe industry?
I’ve been a retailer for 35 years and a shoe rep for 20 years. I started out working for Kinney Shoe Stores in 1975.
Tell us a little about your stores.
We opened our doors as a retailer in 2002. I have 3 stores. One is a Foot Solutions Store and the other two are called Shoes That Fit. We sell Euro-comfort brands that offer our customers fashionable comfort shoes with a quality fit; brands such as Finn Comfort, Earth, and Keen. We also work closely with doctors and medical facilities to sell our shoes.
What do you love about your job?
I love the industry and the people, all of the relationships I’ve made over the years. We are all in it together. It’s like a family.
How long have you been coming to TRU Show?
I’ve been with TRU Show since the beginning. It’s a great location. The set up is comfortable for everyone, buyers and exhibitors. And, it’s a great place to reunite with friends.


Bare Your Soul

What are you wearing on your feet?

New Balance

What book are you currently reading?

Things that Matter, by Charles Krauthammer and Killing Jesus, by Bill O’Reilly

What is your least favorite word?

“NO”

What do you like to do on your day off?

I’d go hiking.

What is your favorite city to travel to?

New Orleans

If you had a super power, what would it be?

I’d like to read minds.

Who would play you in a film about your life?

Patrick Stewart

What was your first job?

I mowed lawns for $10.

Follow Kip on Twitter and Linked In or meet up with him at our next TRU Show event.

 

Welcome to TRU Souls

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At TRU Show we love our family of sales professionals, buyers, and retailers that make our shoe and accessory trade show a success. It’s a pleasure to work with these men and women and we look forward to meeting up with them at our shows in San Francisco, Denver, Honolulu, and on the road. So, join us as we get to know the TRU Souls of this business, how they got their start, what inspires them, their first job and more…
XOXO, Kendra and Melissa

 

Just for fun, we thought we’d interview each other to give you an idea of what TRU Souls is all about.

Kendra, tell us about TRU Show and what makes it different from other trade shows.

TRU Show provides an intimate, relaxed setting that is unequaled in the industry.  We provide a distraction-free zone so buyers and reps can focus on the business at hand.
Every attendee is special to us and we work hard to make them feel that way.  We take every suggestion seriously and do our best to accommodate.

 How long have you been managing TRU Show?

Since I joined TRU Show in January 2010, we’ve done a  lot of behind the scenes upgrading to our database, which allows us better tools to communicate with each rep and buyer and to streamline the registration process.
With a friendly, efficient staff, we’ve made onsite registration easier so reps have everything they need to set up and buyers know exactly where they are going.  We’ve also done a lot to change the look of TRU Show, always striving to keep it fresh and modern.

What do you love about your job?

That’s easy,  the relationships I’ve made in this industry.  TRU Show gathers a wonderful network of professionals.  It’s a family that I look forward to seeing each season.

Melissa, what is your role at TRU Show?
My job is to promote and build on the unique qualities that make TRU Show ‘the shoe and accessory trade show’ our family of retailers, buyers, and reps look forward to attending each season. Working with our website and social media outlets, I want to tell the story of TRU Show…Where we’ve been, where we are going, and who is going with us.
I am also part of Team TRU, a professional administrative sales support service we offer to busy sales reps.  These services help free up their time to be where they want to be – in front of their customers.


Bare Your Soul
Here’s just a sample of questions we might ask.

What inspires you?
Kendra (KT): Hard work and people that do for others
Melissa (MM): Acts of Kindness

 
What is your favorite time of day?
KT: Dusk
MM: Happy Hour

What are you currently reading?
KT: I can’t tell you…
MM: Fall of Giants by Ken Follett

What is your least favorite word?
 KT: Goodbye
MM: Hate

What is your favorite city to travel to?
KT: Paris, France
MM: Florence, Italy

Who would play you in a film about your life?
KT: Stacy Keibler #smackdown
MM: Sandra Bullock

What is your guilty pleasure?
KT: Hashtagging
MM: Chocolate

What was your first job?
KT: Wiping down the tanning beds in a tanning salon #disgusting
MM: Washing dishes in my parents’ coffee shop diner

What sound do you love? 
KT: Music…all kinds…all day
MM: Belly Laughs

What was your worst job?
KT: A newspaper route. I hate mornings. #walkingdead
MM: Working in a wholesale nursery, I really struggled with the Latin names for all the plants.

What is something that might surprise us to know about you?
KT: I won the bike rodeo in the 5th grade.
MM: I’m obsessed with Formula1 racing. #maclaren #teambutton

If you had a superpower, what would it be?
KT: Teleporting
MM: Making time slow down and speed up

What is your favorite pair of shoes? 
KT: My Vince Camuto Effel Sandal
MM: This season… My Mia Huarache Flats

Now read below one of our first TRU Soul interviews with Kip Odermatt (road warrior and retail guru). Enjoy!