Thank God for Grandmas and Zappos! A Tour of Zappos.com

My group at the Zappos tour. Treat others like royalty, feel like family. I could live with that.

After reading Gary Vaynerchuk’s, The Thank You Economy, I was inspired to read Tony Hsieh’s, Delivering Happiness…  After learning about Tony and how his extraordinary company, Zappos.com, offered friendly tours of the corporate headquarters in Las Vegas, Nevada, I knew a field trip was on the horizon.

As a result of some logistical good fortune, I was in Vegas last month with a group of dear friends from the special events, entertainment and production industry who also wanted to see this Zappos Culture that we heard and read so much about, in person.    Zappos turned out be the real deal and left our many of our heads spinning with traces of wonderment and unequivocal WOW.

Zappos Culture Book

In the Culture book that each guest receives at the end the tour, Thich Nhat Hanh writes, “The amount of happiness you have depends of the amount of freedom you have in your heart.”  To me, this quote encapsulates the Zappos.com mojo that fuels its uncharacteristically happy employees, appreciative customers and ridiculous numbers.  The Zappos team is given the freedom to make their workplace as comfortable as their living room, to be a little weird, to obsess over the customer- in a healthy way, to be inspired- not intimidated by the success of others, and to contribute beyond self through philanthropy and mentorship.  All of these core values, among many others, translate into daily WOW on a scale that was tough for a few of us to wrap our aspirational minds around.

Did you know it was possible to generate 12 million dollars in sales in one day?  Me neither.  Did you know that there’s a company out there that intentionally makes less profit each year so they can make the lives of their employees better instead?  Me neither.    And did you know that you can get paid to train for a job at Zappos and then get paid even more to quit if you don’t gel with the positive culture DNA that their looking for?  I did, because I read the book… but it was still impressive to hear it again nonetheless.

I'm not kidding, most of the employees looked this happy. It was so strange and beautiful at the same time.

I’ve learned a lot about branding over the past few years.  Zappos used to be known as a shoe company. Now, even though they still sell a gazillion shoes, they are known for their exemplary company culture and their laudable level customer service.  How does this happen?  When your employees feel like this… Here’s a Culture book excerpt from Stacy H., a six year Zappos veteran;

“Coming to work at Zappos is like going to visit Grandma’s house as a kid.  You are spoiled, you have fun and get fed.  At Zappos, we get fed so much that I am convinced that I will not lose any serious weight until the day I leave.  It makes me think about the letters people write when they have to leave.  Usually it is due to moving out of state, because, well, why else would you leave Zappos?  The e-mails are sent out to the entire floor to say goodbye to their work-family.  We typically throw a mini-happy hour for the person who is leaving and demand to see them back for visits.

This can't be right.

Our Zappos culture is more than just 10 ideas to live by, or a fun environment, or even happy customersIt’s looking at those around you, those you will never see but hear their voice on the phone, or read their words in an e-mail, as family.  When you can see the world in this caring light, you become a better person and the joy spreads.  The Zappos culture is paying it forward to everyone that comes in contact with us.  Our vendors, our employees, our customers, and even our tours get joy out of the experience that is Zappos.  Thank God for Grandmas and Zappos!”

If you have a trip planned to Vegas and like the idea of going home with more than you came with-  do yourself, your team and your organization a favor and set up a tour.

Special thanks to Jodi Harris and Andy Ebon for setting up a day filled with joyful experiences.

As Tony likes to say, “Live in The WOW!”

 

 

Encore Gallery:

Grace Ormonde Brings Luxury, Beauty and Passion to New Jersey Wedding Professionals at The Crystal Plaza

The Grace Ormonde Weddings Collection

Above and beyond the inspirational artistry displayed on the pages of her new book, Grace Ormonde Weddings- “being in love never goes out of style,” it’s easy to see why people were lining up to pay $125 for her gorgeous coffee table collection piece last night when it also contains personal quotes like this…

“Ultimately, our ability to dream is what motivates us, and our ability to love is what sustains us.” – Grace Ormonde

After 10 years of documenting extraordinary weddings, producing bridal expositions and being the Editor-in-Chief of Wedding Style, (a seasonal magazine that features the luxurious sources for fashion, jewelry, lifestyle etc.), Ormonde designed a comprehensive work of art that includes her greatest hits and personal favorites within its pages.

From our little chat, Grace struck me as a kind soul who truly appreciates limitless possibilities with regard to aesthetics and the entrepreneurial spirit.  It didn’t surprise me when I learned later on that Grace’s family grew up in a modest home on the island of Terceria where the nearby ocean view supplied her with a lifetime of inspiration to draw from.

Grace Ormonde and Marcello Pedalino

People with a genuine love and appreciation for the positive energy and therapeutic qualities that the ocean offers seem to be kindred spirits.    Add a  little international, Latin or European flair to the mix and life is really good.  🙂 Order the book  .Follow Grace on Twitter

It was great to see some of New Jersey’s wedding and special event glitterati last night and  meet a few new rising stars who also came out for Grace’s signing;  Wedding Cinematographer Rob Adams,  Photographer Vanessa Joy, the owners of Bride Live- Jay Thomson & Mike Hernadez,  Photographer Ellen Marc, the design team for CW&I Andrea Daly & Kristin Badolato, Wedding Photo Journalist Jessica Lark, & Matthew & Kim Findlay from Crest Florist (the father and daughter team who had my favorite table design of the night.)

Special thanks to Allan Janoff, Nella, Jason & Marco from The Crystal Plaza for their continued support and gracious hospitality.  I’m delighted that MMP’s 2012  event calender has us returning for another exceptional collaboration.

 

 

Encore Gallery:

 

 

 

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