A Day In Her Shoes: An Insider Look At Footwear Fashion x Trend Forecasting
We love that moment when someone asks us, ‘Where’d you get that top?’ For those of us in the business of scouting new x noteworthy finds, it’s music to our ears to share the source of a swoon-worthy staple. Even better? When it doesn’t break the bank. One of our priorities at Aisle 9 is helping you live a life you can afford to love, sharing products that fit into both your lifestyle + your pocketbook. You may have caught us recently sharing our favourite budget-friendly finds, like these summer slide-ons and even this little black bag. Lucky for us, retailers are making it easier than ever, stepping up their game and releasing curated lines, thoughtful collaborations, and noteworthy products we just can’t pass up.
Because we keep finding ourselves on the virtual shoe aisle at Walmart [we’re “just gonna browse!”], we recently connected with Nevada Efird, Merchant Director of Women’s Footwear at Walmart in Bentonville, Arkansas. In our latest installment of Small Talk, we go toe-to-toe with Nevada about all things life + style, career, wearing many hats, and of course the down-low on next season’s footwear. As we’ve seen first-hand, buyers like Nevada are challenging themselves to bring both affordability, taste, and even sustainability, to the forefront when making decisions that end up on the aisle. Tune in to hear from Nevada below. . .
Aisle 9: Tell us about your role as Merchant Director in Women’s Footwear at Walmart?
Nevada Efird: Merchandising at Walmart is a dream job for me! Our focus is always on the customer — they are at the heart of everything we do. There are more than over 4,700 Walmart stores across the country + the majority of the U.S. population lives within 10 miles of a Walmart, so we pretty much serve America. Using data, analytics, and trend forecasting, we build x cultivate an assortment 6-12 months before the product actually arrives in store. It takes a village, but it’s incredibly rewarding to be able to help our customers save money + live better no matter how they want to shop – in stores or online.
A9: We are always looking at women we admire for tips on cultivating a successful daily routine. What are some ways you set yourself up for success every day?
NE: My primary concern in the morning right now is remembering to brush my toddler’s teeth! For myself, I take a hearty handful of vitamins + collagen with my coffee before I start the day. During quarantine I traded in my bland coffee pods for a Moka pot x coffee grinder — talk about an upgrade!
A9: Real talk: How do you help women feel sexy, powerful, and confident on a [literal] shoestring budget?
NE: Fashion should be available x affordable to all. At Walmart, we like to help out by offering quality, on-trend, accessible fashion. Everyone should be able to feel beautiful x confident no matter their personal style or budget.
A9: What are some shoe trends you’re seeing? Are there any upcoming styles x products that you’re excited about for fall?
NE: I’m sure you are aware that 2020 was the year of slippers and house shoes – you only needed to look polished from the waist up for those zoom calls! Now that we’ve had a taste of normalcy from the pandemic, the customer is optimistic, longing to dress up, and ready for color, and we’re ready with fantastic options for daytime, evening or anything in between.
A9: How do you stay up on trends or where do you find inspiration? Who are some of your personal style icons?
NE: As you can imagine from the world’s largest retailer, we have the best resources at our finger tips, from trend-forecasting to our knowledgeable supplier community. However, nothing can replace shopping + scouring the market for great ideas. My favorite shoe store that I have visited is Le Bon Marche in Paris. As far as personal style icons, I have a personal affinity for the Olsen grunge.
A9: Our team values ethical fashion + sustainability. We’ve read about Walmart’s goal of reducing its carbon footprint by 2040, which puts the company a big step ahead of its competitors. Is this an important issue to you? How is this initiative implemented in your department?
NE: This mission is imperative! In footwear specifically, we are transitioning more to organic cotton + recycled polyester. We are laser focused on improving quality x partnering with suppliers who will help us deliver on this mission.
A9: Working for a corporation like Walmart x being in a leadership role, tell us about that journey as a woman x how you have felt supported?
NE: I have been fortunate enough to have incredible mentors throughout my time at Walmart. A great piece of advice I received early in my career was that, “feedback is imperative for growth,” and to, “always seek + give unvarnished truth.”
A9: What tips do you have for women in their career who desire to grow in the industry x their influence?
NE: Work hard, get results, and find sponsors who will advocate for you to get a seat at the table.
A9: We’d love the inside scoop — any product or line launches we should have on our radar from Walmart this fall?
NE: Time and Tru Sherpa Hiker Boot that just landed! It’s our private brand, so you can only find it at Walmart. I can’t decide if I want pink or white for myself.