From Cinderella to Carrie Bradshaw, we women have always loved shoes. But not all of us are fortunate enough to have shoes be the focus of our jobs! Leslie Gallin, however, is just that lucky. As President of Footwear at Advanstar Communications, Inc, she runs the shoe industry trade shows for MAGIC, a forum for footwear fashion buyers and brands. And while we really just wanted to poke around her personal shoe collection, we sat down and talked with Gallin to talk success and style in the world of shoes.
WSA @ MAGIC and FN PLATFORM @ MAGIC take shows place in Las Vegas starting next Monday, so this is the busiest time of year for Gallin, as she prepares to host the largest global marketplace for contemporary men’s and women’s apparel, footwear, accessories and sourcing resources. MAGIC does have apparel, accessories, etc. in addition to footwear, but Leslie is in charge of the shoes (lucky lady!)
HOW DID YOU FIRST ENTER THE SHOE BUSINESS?
I actually started in the fashion industry running apparel divisions for Geoffrey Beene, Louis Feraud, Escada and ABS. A friend of mine introduced me to someone who was taking over a “Shoe Trade Show” called WSA….this is where it all began. It was love at first try on and I quickly realized footwear was my passion. The footwear industry has changed tremendously and it’s been really amazing to see the growth of this industry through the years.
WHAT DO YOU THINK HAS BEEN THE KEY TO YOUR SUCCES?
When I first started out in the fashion industry, I had a great boss at Escada – Gloria Gelfand. She was the first woman to become President of General Mills Apparel Corporation. She always said “keep learning.” I believe that and have held onto that through the years. Learning and experience is power, so from day one, I made the choice to never stop learning.
HOW IS MARKETING AND SELLING SHOES DIFFERENT THAN CLOTHING?
It’s really all the same. Women shop to satisfy “an orchid for the sole”. New stuff makes us feel good! Messaging to the primary senses of something new, beautiful and fun will always be a hit. Whether it is shoes or apparel brands at MAGIC, the foundation is the same.
HOW MANY PAIRS OF SHOES DO YOU OWN?
Funny you should ask! I am actually working on a home remodel with of course, my closet being the focal point. The architect and I counted over 200 pairs!
WHAT’S ONE PAIR OF SHOES WE SHOULD BUY THIS SUMMER?
Sneakers. You can’t go wrong with a classic, white pair.
AND FOR THE FALL?
Boots. Low, high, distressed and of course decadent.
WHAT ARE THREE PAIRS OF SHOES EVERY WOMAN SHOULD HAVE IN HER CLOSET?
Black pumps, a good walking shoe and short boots.
HOW (PLEASE TELL US!) CAN WE MAKE HEELS MORE COMFORTABLE?
Heel height and platforms are the key. As are the use of a little product called foot petals – they are miracle workers!