Authentic: A Memoir by the Founder of Vans (MP3 CD)
In the tradition of best sellers such as Shoedog, Authentic is a surprisingly candid, compelling memoir by a high school dropout who went on to establish one of the world's most iconic brands
Paul Van Doren is the founder of Vans - the shoe company beloved by skateboarders, creatives, and fans everywhere for its laid-back, colorful SoCal vibe, and famous for its people-oriented company culture. How did Van Doren, who started as a 16-year-old service boy at a local rubber factory, establish a family shoe business that evolved into a globally recognized brand with annual revenue of more than four billion dollars?
A blue-collar kid with no higher education and zero retail experience, Van Doren leveraged a knack for numbers, a genius for efficiency, and the know-how to make a great canvas tennis shoe into an all-American success story. In 1966, when the first House of Vans store opened, there were no stand-alone retail stores just for sneakers. Paul's bold experiments in product design, distribution, and marketing (Why not sell custom shoes? Single shoes?), aided by legions of fans - skateboarders, surfers, even Sean Penn wearing Vans' famous checkerboard slip on shoe in the film Fast Times at Ridgemont High - made Vans a household name.
But there was also back-breaking work, a shocking bankruptcy, family turmoil, and a profound shift in how customers think about athletic shoes. Authentic details Van Doren's personal life, but also hard-won business lessons learned over six turbulent decades in the shoe trade: the importance of deep-rooted values, of improvisation, of vision (and revision), and above all, of valuing people over profits. Refreshingly forthright and totally entertaining, Authentic is a business memoir by an American original.