Bill Snowden Makes Return to the Shoe Industry – Footwear News

Bill Snowden is making a return to the industry he loves.

The longtime footwear executive, who was born into the family business (Topline and Report) and later ran Snowden Brothers, has joined Designer Brands as VP of product development and sourcing.

The role is under the Designer Brands Sourcing (DBS) umbrella, shared service that focuses on the flagship Camuto labels and the licensed brands of Jessica Simpson, Lucky Brand, JLO as well as DSW’s “owned brand portfolio,” which includes Crown Vintage, Mix No. 6 and Kelly & Katie.

Here, Snowden talks more about his new role.

Why was now the right time to join Designer Brands?
Bill Snowden: “They’ve always had a clear vision of who they are as a company and passionate and knowledgeable about the customer they service. What’s unique about the company now is how they want to blend a world-class wholesale business (Camuto Group) with a world-class retailer (DSW) and continually innovate new business models (Hush Puppies, Le Tigre) to become a fully integrated business and continue to be great partners with the national brands. Blending that together is an exciting opportunity that I’m fortunate enough to be a part of.”

How does this role mesh with your past experiences? 
BS: “It capitalizes on my passion for footwear and the industry but also the people, product and the process.  I engage at the start of the design process to see where trends are headed, then interact with the designers and product development teams to help execute that brand/product vision. While products are being selected by our retail partners and buyers, we’re strategizing country and factory sourcing based on product execution and costing guidelines.  This will leverage the breadth of my network and the depth of my experience and contribute to my continued personal and professional growth.”

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In such a complicated sourcing climate, what is the key to thriving?
BS: “The key is keeping it simple.  Using continuous conversation, open and honest communication, being over-prepared and most importantly being great partners for everyone we come in contact with are big keys to our success.”

How has the industry changed since you stepped away?
BS: “The biggest changes are obvious – for example, we’ve learned to work remotely, but that’s come at a sacrifice of professional community and the emotional loss of touching the product consistently – whether that’s trend shopping, in a retail store, at a sample room or overseas factory.  On a positive note, we’ve had to communicate more clearly and consistently, and overseas suppliers have had to develop new skills in executing the product.”

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