Mike Wallenfels - What does an Intergalactic Sales Manager do?

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Yea...so there were really only a few of us in the office, a handful, only 6 people, job duties at that time encompassed almost everything.

The core part of what I had to do was put together our plan of who were are going to sell and our reason for being. We already had our own internal manifesto about Mountain Hardwear and what we are going to be about. We are going to be embodying the true authentic companies that came out of Berkeley. What we are going to stand for as far as servicing our customers.

I had to somehow put that together a plan that our retailers would react to. There were a lot of brands that they were buying from. There were some brands that were still not financially working within the market so there was no guarantee that they would still be successful.  I created the list of who we would sell. There were 99 retailers that we put on our first key hitlist and we opened up 98 of those first 99 retailers. The only one who did not open us up is Nat's in Bowling Green, Kentucky. And so we had an incredibly successful opportunity to do that.

First was retailer plan but I also needed sales reps. So the small task in front was to develop a retailer distribution plant but also find sales reps that could do it. The first sales reps that came on board with Mountain Hardwear were actually Sierra Design sales reps. There was not a single principal rep within the Sierra Design group that we reached out and invited to come to Mountain Hardwear that did that but there were associate reps, there were sub reps within those groups that decided to come over and work with us, Barry Schrimscher and Chris Lathrop. And so New England and the Northwest were covered, and the rest of the middle of the country was my region to cover myself personally.

My first days were making a lot of phone calls. it was, finding ways to communicate with all these dealers cause I didn’t have their contact information. I was actually ripping retailer lists out of Patagonia catalogs and North Face catalogs and cold calling people, telling people what had happened and what we are going to be doing and finding our own ways on planes actually. I was spending a lot of time on those airplane phones racking up expenses, calling and making appointments for when I landed in a city I was going to see them with my bag of samples and tell them about who Mountain Hardwear was. 

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This Story is part of a Series...

Transcript: This is an Outdoor Industry story. I’m here with Mike Wallenfels. My name is Jack... Read Story
Q: Did this company (Mountain Hardwear) have a name yet? Transcript: Jack Gilbert: I am not sure... Read Story
Jack talks about employee ownership, seeking out financing, and meeting John Cumming and then Ian.... Read Story
Mike Wallenfels asks Jack about trying to buy Sierra Designs and why that didn't succeed. "Didn't... Read Story
Transcript: I’m Paul Kramer and I was Vice President of Sierra Designs. I started out there, well... Read Story
Transcipt: Paul: Jack, I was in Hong Kong as you said and I had written a letter because of course... Read Story
Transcript: Paul: Yeah, it was a scary thing to start Mountain Hardware for me. I’d been at Sierra... Read Story
Helen Li is absolutely the best QC, QA person in the industry bar none! Absolutely! [See the... Read Story
The founding act of this website was to get the Mountain Hardwear founders that lived in the San... Read Story
Transcript: Mike: My name is Mike Wallenfels. At the time at Sierra Designs when just before... Read Story
The question: How long had you worked at Sierra Designs prior to the beginning of MHW? Transcript... Read Story
Transcript: Mike: Halloween day; so I was incredibly nervous that day. I knew what was going on in... Read Story
Transcript: Yea...so there were really only a few of us in the office, a handful, only 6 people,... Read Story
Transcript: So I am Christina Clark, mostly called Chris and my original position at Mountain... Read Story
l asks Chris about how she heard about Jack deciding to start a new company and how she decided to... Read Story
Chris tells about leaving The North Face for Mountain Hardwear Read Story
Transcript: I’m Roberta Hernandez and at the time that we left Sierra Designs I was the strategic... Read Story
Transcript: Roberta: It was very kind of nerve-wracking that day with a lot of anticipation what... Read Story
Transcript: Roberta: The first couple of weeks at Mountain Hardwear I think for me were –... Read Story
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