Zappos is born July 15 1999 #183

Zappos is born July 15 1999 #183

Zappos.com is born July 15 1999

Blog #182 I talked first about a little Zappos history. In this blog I want to talk about when Zappos.com is born July 15 1999.


After the meeting with Nick, Fred takes his “Leap of Faith” and joins Shoesite.com. Nick  mentioned to Tony in his pitch that “footwear in the US is a $40 billion market, and 5% of that was already being sold by paper mail order catalogs,” Tony and Alfred decided to invest through Venture Frogs since Nick now had a “Shoe guy” on board. Two months later, Tony joined Zappos as the CEO


The first office was closed on 9th street to move the company to Emeryville. Tony suggests that the name “Shoesite” be changed to Zappos so the company could sell anything and everything eventually.


Dr. Vik


Dr. David Vik, a Chiropractor, who eventually came on board in 2005 as our Life Coach, had a part in the name. He is someone who is super friendly and very motivating. There used to be a framed document of the different ways they spelled Zappos until they came to the final “Zappos”. One of the ways was with only one “P”. 

Zapos just doesn’t seem right so I’m glad they landed on the one they did. Dr. Vik was also an early seed investor in the company. They got the name from the Spanish word for shoes “Zapatos.”


The model was to feature items on the site and enlist retailers to dropship to the customers. So far they had two retailers, Freidman’s and Footwear etc. that would provide this leg of the business. Fred’s mission was to go to the WSA shoe show and enlist brands to do the dropship model directly. Sales the first week of August were about $330 per day. The customer aquisition costs were high. 32 sales for a total of $2,311 and spent $9,000 in advertising. New customers for the month totaled 113.




Fred was at Nordstrom for over 8 years and worked in Hawaii, Sacramento and San Francisco. He developed quite a few relationships within the footwear industry in that time. At the show he spoke to 4 brands that took their “Leap of Faith” on Fred’s reputation and became Suppliers for Zappos.


These first 4 brands were Bostonian, Sudini, Tommy Bahama and Rochester. Reps Tom Austin and Steve Reinhart were integral parts to this happening.


The site was re-designed and other bra44nds like Reiker and L.B Evans eventually came on board that year. Tony was famous for taking an idea from Fred and making the changes on the site the very first day.


The first shoe of record to be sold was from Bostonian. “Shop Sports” joined the other two retailers to provide more selection on the site.


Sales for the end of the year were almost nothing but there was optimism this could be the start of something big.

…just sharing my story and tips from my footwear career. 

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