Following yesterday’s news that industry veteran Bob Rief was joining OTZShoes as its new CEO, we caught up with him to learn more about his decision and goals for the brand moving forward.
How did this new position come about and what attracted you to OTZShoes? Have you worked with Ludovic and Skip in the past?
I knew about Ludo’s work at Royal Elastic. It was one of those brands that everyone looked at for trends and inspiration. Ludo also was active in the launch of the Salomon's running shoe category. “Creative” is not a big enough word for Ludo!
The short answer is the OTZ shoes are very contemporary. The Comfort market is dominated by brown shoes and orthopedic shoes. OTZ shines like a bright light, uh, in a sea of brown!
What are your short and long term goals coming into the role of CEO?
CEO responsibilities in a small company are blended. My goal is to liberate Ludo from his tasks in operations so that he can spend more time with design and product creation. Skip and I will work behind the scenes to build on the structure in order to keep up with the demand curve. Of course we will be working with the capitalization of the company and other related topics as we go along.
OTZ retail base actually spans aacross the Outdoor, Comfort and boutique channels. This a new challenge for me. I am used to product appealing to a specific channel, say Outdoor; but in this case its basically retailers who support and seek innovative brands. They are “everywhere.” We go to a variety of shows in many cases to intersect with retailers we would not see in our normal course of selling.