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Founder & creative director, Foot Petals Inc.
“I met Sonny at an FN CEO Summit six years ago. During an after-party where everyone was making up rap songs, he sat next to me and belted out a song about me. Once he decides he’s your friend, he treats you like family. He introduced me to people I never would have met, [such as] Sam and Tarek Hassan and Diane Sullivan. Doors have been opened for me by Sonny. At the end of the day, I can count on him for good, sound advice. I was very nervous when selling Foot Petals to [R.G. Barry Corp.]. I relied heavily on him for advice both personally and in business.”
Chairman & CEO, BBC International
“I first met Sonny [in 1980] through a bank [dealing] before [he joined] Pentland. I was in business about five years, expanding, and needed someone in finance to help set [BBC] up properly. I looked for a consultant and found one in Sonny. He’s a financial genius and has a real understanding of running a business. [He’s] a friend [who’s] helped me personally [and] businesswise. I have a great respect for what he’s done in the industry, including with Two Ten Footwear Foundation. He’s one of the stalwart people who’s loved by many.”
Co-owner, Sportie LA
“At an FN CEO Summit, a group got together after dinner to [toast] each other. Sonny taught us a few things about toasting, as well as the business. I’ve watched him work with industry [members]. You can’t help but learn from him. Along with my father, I call him my mentor. He understands the industry so well. He’s personable, pleasant and fair with everybody. He has a magical [way of being] kind, yet successful — an uncommon trait. He’s [also] told stories of how [at times] he’s had to kick [things] up a bit, but even then, it was done in a polite way.”
Co-owner, The Tannery & Concepts
“He’s a superman and a great guy to know. After his shoulder operation, he was available the next day. He’s a mentor and a passionate person. He comes to [retailers] not as a supplier but as a [friend]. If he promises something, he keeps his promise. He returns all calls, texts and emails. He’ll go the extra mile to make things happen, just be honest with him. He’s always available — it’s the old way of doing business. He’ll gladly show you the road to success. He’s also very charitable with [causes] such as FFANY Shoes on Sale and the Two Ten Footwear Foundation.”
VP of merchandising, Zappos.com
“Sonny’s a true friend. We always look forward to spending time with him. He’s entertained the whole Zappos team at his house and made us feel part of his family. He’s a great example of how we [all] want to conduct business throughout our careers. He’s been a mentor, role model and will always remain a friend.”
“Sonny has always focused on personal relationships. He’s a handshake guy and always true to his word. He believes in building relationships before businesses and has touched people in all areas of the industry. We all count on Sonny’s integrity, charm, humor and honesty to see us through the best and worst of times.”
Head of merchandising, Zappos
“Sonny’s [foresight] has always stood out. In the early years of Zappos, he had the vision to work with us as a partner and friend. He was ahead of his time in realizing the Internet and e-commerce would be important to the industry.”
President & CEO, Brown Shoe Co.
“It’s hard for me to put into words how terrific Sonny is. He’s a steadfast friend and loyal partner. His unique blend of charm, charisma and intelligence allows him to build lasting relationships with those around him, and he gets it done right every time.”
President, Shane & Shawn Shoes
“I met Sonny at a Shoes on Sale event two years ago. When [my brother] Shane and I got into talks with Kangaroos’ U.S. licensing company to do a collaboration, Sonny was a big part of making sure it happened. He has incredible energy. Businesswise, he’s one of those people who, although he has a powerful presence in meetings, engages everyone and makes them feel comfortable. He doesn’t put himself on a pedestal. He likes [to have] everyone’s input and bring everything together. He thinks positive all the time. He’s taught me and Shane to appreciate the good people in the business and to stay close to them.”
CEO, Tip Top Shoes
“Sonny has a knack for putting people and [projects] together. He understands people and has earned the trust of all. He’s always there when you need advice or counsel. He’s ready to listen, make introductions and connect the dots.”