Westfront Sales’ owner Jay Woon is TransWorld Business’ Canadian Rep of the Year 2012. Woon, who represents NOMIS, CandyGrind, Rip Curl and Osiris, among others, took the time to give us the skinny on how he and his wife, Erin, run Westfront to keep their retailers happy. Check out what he had to say below.
What’s the name of your sales agency and what brands do you represent?
Westernfront Sales is the name and we represent NOMIS, Stepchild, Technine, Rip Curl, Osiris, DYE Snow, Uranium, CandyGrind, Depalma So Cal and Les Loups MC (LLMC).
How long have you been repping and how did you get into it?
I have been repping for 17 years, and started in between my college years by helping out local reps in Alberta. I grew up in the industry and wanted to stay in the world that makes me happy.
What’s the most rewarding thing about working with your brands and retailers?
The most rewarding thing is seeing product go from inception, to the sell into the retailer’s floor, and then out the door to the end consumer, and the retailer happy and looking for more. The friendships we build along the way are another rewarding aspect, a lot of our accounts are close friends. Some attended my wife and I’s wedding in the Bahamas; others stay at our house when in they are in town.
What’s your philosophy on your role?
Basically, our job is to assist the retailers in understanding what we can do to help their business, and to work together with them in a partnership to create the positive vibe of each brand for each shop in any given area. We treat our accounts how we would want to be treated, call them back when they hit us up, respond to emails within a very short time frame and, if we can answer the phone when it rings, we answer it. Days off are few and far between; it is a lifestyle that we have chosen, and we communicate with accounts in any format: phone, email, text, just not fax, as that went out with cassette tapes and the D3. Whether someone hits us up late or on a weekend, we do our best to get an answer as quickly as we can, as generally the question is being asked by our accounts for one of their customers. Customer service and communication are key to our role.
Why do you think your retailers nominated you for this?
I believe our retailers appreciate the effort we put forth to help them whenever and wherever we can. We are always available for them in one way or another.
What do you think makes you excel in this role?
Passion and the want to see success for all involved, not just myself. I love seeing the shops, brands and people we are involved with succeeding. We choose to partner with brands that we believe in and have a passion for similar things we do; this creates mainly positive outcomes for all.
What have been the biggest highlights and lowlights of 2012?
The biggest highlights of 2012 have been the growth we are seeing through supporting our accounts, as well as seeing the economy rebounding even the little bit it has. The biggest lows of 2012 have been seeing some iconic industry brands disappear and how this affected people close to us in numerous ways.
This year was another tough one for core retailers. How do you support your core accounts specifically?
With our core account base, which is 95 percent of our business, we really focus on giving them the service that they deserve, as much as the bigger chain retailers. We help them manage their business with pre-books and evaluating what they have been selling based on feedback and visits, as well as helping out with the core events that they take part in, and showing them that no matter your size, all accounts are important to us.
What are your predictions for 2013?
With 2013, we see the market trending back to the smaller core brands that we support and work with. Sales are becoming very diverse as the general consumer in all levels of the industry is widening. The economy in most regions is rebounding and we all need to stay on course and keep it simple to be successful.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you to all of our accounts in Western Canada; we are here to be partners in this together. Thanks to my wife Erin for making our agency better each day. Thanks to E-Stone and Cole at Technine; Steve Day, Brad Richmond and Keating at Stepchild; Francis, Simon and Tracy at NOMIS; Brad Morgan, John Brabbins and Mark Coulter at No Limits (Osiris); Nick Russell, Myrosha Daley and all of the Rip Curl Canada crew; Jessika at Uranium; Kaleo Alo at DYE Snow; Brandi, Austin, Nick and Aaron at CandyGrind; Steph Groulx at Les Loups, holding it down like friends do for each other; and the DePalma Crew, An and Kristopher. Thanks to all the Westernfront Sales supporters: Brock Heartwell, Jordan Phillips, Guillaume Fortin, Steve-O Callen, Adam Laurin, Carter Jarvis, Mikey Seguin, Chevy Daly, Jeff Muirhead, Scott “Lizard” Johnson, Evan Tajiri, Jordan Krasman, Adam Balon, Eldon Sebastian, Steve Hruby, Flynn, Joel Hersey, Mikey Walker, Nick Walters, Sean Kato and all my rep colleagues that make this career path a fun one. Last but not least, thanks to my daughter Hailey, who at only 11, understands more about our industry than I had hoped she would. Keep killing it kiddo, love ya!