Big Footwear and Retail Layoffs in 2023

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Not a surprise on any of these. People are broke and no one is building what they want to buy. It’s not about price entirely, just that the shoe has to be exactly right or people won’t buy it. No one has money to waste on just OK shoes.

I knew of KEEN and Wolverine personally due to friends and family that worked there and now have been laid off. No love lost for the upper levels at Allbirds though I feel bad for the employees who are out of work. I had the most perplexing interview experience of my life with them a few years back. I have a combination of experience that literally no one else has and had the on-site interview of my life, answering every question easily and building a plan for growing the area I was being considered for. Then they tried to ghost me and not even reimburse me for some of the travel expenses they agreed to—and those expenses were minimal compared to what footwear companies normally do when they fly in candidates for the final round of interviews. I’m also fairly certain they stole the work I did for them as part of the hiring process. And I could sense this prejudice against those previously in the footwear industry. They were so busy congratulating themselves for being disrupters that their overblown egos couldn’t handle someone who actually had experience and knew how to run a footwear company.

I actually had a not great experience with Nike too, though that interview wasn’t good. It was like they were waiting for me to say certain exact phrases in a certain format and when I didn’t exactly parrot those things, they didn’t know how to move forward. It was so bizarre. Plus Nike just has tons of systemic problems that they’re still not really addressing. So again, no surprises whatsoever. All these companies have major problems and no one is being honest enough to really change so they can grow again.