VP of Sales, Fiesta Toy
What is your professional background?
I’ve worked at Fiesta now for nine years. I (previously) managed restaurants for about seven years. Then I went to work for Enterprise Rent-A-Car for a brief stint and decided that was definitely not what I wanted to do and then came to Fiesta. … My father has always been in this industry, so I knew a little bit about it. I didn’t know from A to Z how everything got made or the exact logistics, but I knew enough. Coming into it, I had a very small background but it did help.
What do you find most gratifying about your work?
One of the things that I find the most satisfying from my job is that I get to answer all the emails from people where their kids have a stuffed animal from they were 2 and now they’re 12 and they can’t find it anymore. … To just see the kids’ connections with things that not only have I sold but I’ve helped design, it’s a very humbling and satisfying experience.
What question do you hear most from your customers?
What I hear most is “What is Fiesta going to come up with next? When are you going to bring something new to us?” We’ve been known for a pattern line or something new for every year, so this year we’ve come up with two different lines that are really something different than what’s on the market. Our buyers will be pleasantly surprised with that. The first we did was Cutie Beans, which is actually going to be a blind box. But it’s a blind box geared for zoos and aquariums from the way it’s designed and the animals. It’s something that they’ve never really had. There have been blind boxes out that and they’re obviously growing more and more every year. But this one is really targeting our market. We also have Lil’ Huggies, which we actually produced last year, but they’ve come off so much, we’re now expanding the line and really going into different characters and materials. The design is definitely different than what’s out there.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re away from the plush?
I’m not away from the plush very often; I need to get better about turning off my cell phone when I am away. My husband and I do a lot of backpacking and hiking. My husband … considers himself more on the ultra-light, so I don’t get a lot of frills when I go backpacking but just going and seeing the country. Every spring break, we try to go to a different city or a different state – our goal to see all of the United States and do backpacking in one part or another. Last year, we rented an RV and did all the way from California up to Washington and back down in an RV with five children. So, we like to get out there and see anything we can see. Family is definitely the most important for me. Anytime I can spend time with my family, we’re there.
Do you have a favorite hike?
One of the coolest hikes that I’ve done thus far, we did the Narrows in Zion (National Park). It wasn’t the best time to do the Narrows, so it was one of the scariest things I’ve done. I was pretty much on edge the whole time, but after we got through it – and it was about 18 miles over two days – it was one of the most fulfilling, satisfying things I’ve done.