Job Title: Salesman
Type of Company: My company is a privately held shoe company that is 118 years old. It started manufacturing slippers in New Jersey and now imports shoes and slippers mainly from China.
Education: Massachusetts College of Pharmacy
Previous Experience: I worked in a shoe store, moved to the company's home office where I worked in distribution and eventually shifted to buying and selling.
Job Tasks: I am responsible for the design of baby shoes. I find the factories in China to make them and then I sell them to the major discounters in the USA: Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Target, etc.
I work with three designers and graphic artists. I have many license and character brands to work with (Sesame Street and Gerber are examples). First we shop domestic markets for trends and attempt to ascertain what styles and colors are going to be important for the coming year. I shop domestically in Miami and Los Angeles but I also shop in Europe for ideas. Once we've decided on the styles and colors, I sit with my team and merchandise the line for each brand and character license. The teams then put CAD drawings of the shoes together and we present them to the owners of the brands or character licenses.
Once they approve the styles, we go overseas to our office in China and work with the factories to produce and price out our shoes. Then I go out to see my accounts and sell the product to them. This involves presentations on trends and what our license or brand means to them and why they should buy. Then we talk about where to place the shoes, what packaging they need, and when they should be in the stores. We talk about what prices the shoes should be sold at and what promotions we need to run.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: I enjoy traveling from city to city and I love going to China. I love to sell the product I design and love to see my shoes on kids feet.
The part of the job I dislike is all the paperwork for testing results from labs to make sure we have no lead or other chemicals in the footwear. I dislike buyers who do not return phone calls but they need an answer right away when they call.
Job Tips: If you want to be in sales you must have a thick skin as rejection is part of the job. You must be able to travel and eat meals by yourself. You must be a self-starter and always looking for the next item. You must be OK to leave your family for 2 weeks or more.
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