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Zappos.com Flying High Over the Kentucky Derby Festival

The Kentucky Derby Festival: A two week celebration leading up to the greatest two minutes in sports – Thunder FunderThe Kentucky Derby!   How does a state, known for bourbon, horse racing, and “The Turtle Man” ring in the first race of the Triple Crown?  By lighting up the Ohio River, flying high in the sky, sampling the best food and drink that Kentucky has to offer, and so much more!

 

The Kentucky Derby Festival, attended annually by an estimated 1.5 million people, had an extra-special participant this year as Zappos.com joined the sponsorship team for the first time!  The Zappos.com hot air balloon delighted morning commuters in the Rush Hour Race, placing second with veteran pilot Charlie H.  The race preceded the breathtaking Balloon Glow that occurred on Friday, April 28th, lighting up the Kentucky night sky to the delight of at least 180,000 people.

But the balloon wasn’t the only way Zappos’ presence was felt at the 57th annual Festival.  Zappos employees and guests had the best seats in the house for the kick-off airshow and fireworks display, Thunder Over Louisville.  Spectators watched the largest fireworks presentation in the nation from the Second Street Bridge, with a vantage point that not only gave them an up-close perspective of the pyrotechnics, but allowed for a view of the Indiana and Kentucky shows, synced up as they blasted on both sides of the bridge.  The presentation of the Zappos.com Balloon was scheduled for the Fest-i-Ville Balloon Glimmer, that, despite weather cancellations, allowed for a fantastic time at the large, catered Zappos tent closest to the main stage action!  In addition, over 250,000 people lined the streets to see the floats of the Pegasus Parade, the Zappos Zone filled up with 3 sections of fans, both employees (who donated to Relay for Life in exchange for coveted bleacher seats), and members of the community who were randomly selected to join in the family fun!

 

Zappos.com Balloon Glows at BalloonfestMore entertainment was slathered on the two week celebration as Bed and Steamboat Races took off, free music concerts, including Eddie Money, George Clinton, and AWOLNATION, rocked the river, and nearly 18,000 pairs of feet and wheels pounded the pavement of the Derby Festival Marathon and Mini Marathon.  Some familiar faces could be seen among the runners bounding towards the finish line.  Zappos employee Kari H called the 13.1 miles “a lot of fun”,” running with her father who had come from Atlanta, GA to participate in his first half-marathon.  The 8th mile was the highlight for many runners, when the course rounded the infield in Churchill Downs -- an area that would look dramatically different the following weekend, when the crowd descended on the 138th Kentucky Derby.

The Kentucky Derby Festival has come to represent the spirit that enlivens the city of Louisville.  Hopefully Zappos.com can continue to add its own energy to the celebration for years to come!

 

Fast Facts:Crew on the Second Street Bridge - Zappos Style

Attendance Numbers

Thunder Over Louisville- 400,000

Balloon Fest-i-Ville and Glimmer (with Zappos Zone catered tent) - 55,000

BalloonFest Balloon Glow - 180,000

Derby Festival Marathon/Mini/Expo - 19,733

Derby Festival Marathon/Mini Finishers - 16,500

Pegasus Parade - 250,000 ticket holders (more without tickets)

Pegasus Parade Viewership - Televised to over 140,000 viewers on NBC affiliate Wave3 ALONE!

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Behind the Scenes: Derby Style 2012

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The fabulous hats, all those Lilly Pulitzer dresses and Vineyard Vines, the mint julep-induced rowdiness in the stands…derby style was definitely in full force this past week at the Oaks and Derby in Louisville!

We got to check out the festivities first hand and we have to say, it was everything we imagined and more. These were just a few of the well-dressed Derby attendees that we met at both Oaks and Derby. It was so refreshing to see such dapper guys and put-together ladies showing off Derby style in all its Southern glory.

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Zappos.com stylist Kaya strikes a pose in his '70s-inspired Derby outfit.

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Zappos.com trend manager Alison struts in her one-of-a-kind pink ensemble for the Oaks.

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From Vegas glitzy to preppy-chic, Derby style definitely runs the gamut!

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Zapponian Spotlight: Jason Z.

Jason Z. Packs for KidsJason is an extraordinary leader in the Zappos Kentucky Family on the floor, as a Lead in the Picking Department, and after hours. While volunteering for the Zappos Packs for Kids: Backpack Buddy program February 27th – March 2nd, Jason not only gave his time, he also packed 100 bags of food and wrote 100 notes for children in need. The Backpack Buddy program was started by Dare to Care in 2004 as an effort to bring nutritious food to children on the weekends, when free and reduced-priced breakfasts and lunches are not available.  This year, the Zappos Kentucky Family teamed up to pack over 2,000 bags of food and draft over 2,000 notes to the children in our area.  These will be distributed in new, sturdy backpacks.

We asked Jason a couple of questions about this project that is near and dear to his heart:

What drew you most to helping out with the Zappos Packs for Kids Backpack Buddy program?

J:   It’s for the KIDS!  How can you not?!

What brought you to Zappos?

J: The culture!

 If you won $1,000,000 to be donated to charity, what organization would you donate to and why?

J: Any charity [that assists] kids. They can’t help themselves.

What is one thing you had as a child that you still have or use today?

J:  A baseball.

What are three words you would use to describe yourself?

J: Spontaneous, Humble, Motivated.

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Holiday Recap from the ZFC Family

TZFC Santa and his Helpershe Holiday Season signifies countless things to different people.  For some, it is time with family and friends.  For others, it’s the chance to give back to their community.  There are individuals that thrive on the celebrations and songs, and still more live for the gifts they give and receive.  At the Zappos Fulfillment Center, the holiday season means all of these things and more. 

Whether taking time out of a hectic year to enjoy a meal together, or simply utilizing dress-up days to honor team unity and personal creativity, the Zappos Kentucky Family has always had a knack for closing out the year in style.  This season was no different, including potluck lunches, charity outings, and even a genuine Santa’s Sleigh parading through the warehouse. Welcoming the winter months has never been as warm as in 2011.  

With a busy Peak Season in full swing, and long hours away from family at home, the Zappos spirit truly ZFC Holiday Hatscame out. Several groups brought joy by caroling through the Fulfillment Center with original jingles, creating a little fun and weirdness and serenading with a whole lot of cheer.  Santa, along with his elves and reindeer, delivered candy canes, smiles, and delight.  From a ZFC-wide gift drive, to serving hot meals, to fixing up a home in need, the family circle enveloped not only the walls of the FC, but encompassed the community as well.  And for those dedicated to WOW-ing customers through the holidays, parties, celebrations, thumb wars, and theme days allowed team members to join together to ring in a great end to 2011. 

Now, with both peak and the holiday season in the rearview mirror, there is one more event around the corner.  Tonight, the Zappos Kentucky Family, along with some very special guests, will put the exclamation point on a fantastic year with our annual holiday party!

Happy 2012 from the Zappos Kentucky Family!  May this year be merry and full of possibility!

ZFC Season's Greetings

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Vivienne Westwood Stylist Visits Zappos KY!

Here at Zappos, we love our vendors!Jose and Gar-yee

The KY Content team was especially lucky when Jose Andrade, Visual Coordinator-America for Vivienne Westwood, stopped by to share some knowledge with the team.  Check out what Zappos Stylist Gar-Ye had to say about her day of Pursuing Growth and Learning with Jose!
 
Z: What was the most fun part about working with the Jose from Vivienne?
G: Typically when shooting inventory I will pair the new item with a non-inventory piece (basics that we have in the bays all the time).  In anticipation of Jose’s visit, we pulled all of our Vivienne Westwood inventory, new and old, to have a special shoot where he demonstrated how he styles the items with other pieces in the collection.  His best advice:  Always pair the pieces with the unexpected.  A top may look really dressy, but it’s meant to be worn with jeans; or, try wearing two different plaids together!


Z: What was your favorite piece he highlighted?

G: I’m partial to dresses, so I really love Vivienne’s Temperance dress.  It is so simple in color, and is simple in design, but the construction/draping of the dress is extremely complicated.  There are so many ways to interpret where the fabric should be tied in a knot or loose and flowing.

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Z: What was the most interesting tip he gave you about styling/presentation?
G: Vivienne Westwood pieces tend to have a lot of folds and tucks in them, so often times when pieces come in, it looks like it has flaps all over it.  He showed us a simple way to figure these flaps out.


Z: If you dressed Vivienne Westwood for Halloween, what costume would you put her in?
G: I would dress her up as the Queen of Hearts from Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland!  Vivienne Westwood has that awesome red hair and attitude (in terms of spunk) to match.  Or go completely in the opposite direction and make her the quintessential Stepford wife just because it's not her at all.

Z: Where did you take Jose while he was here in Kentucky?
G: We took him to Ramsi’s Café on the World for dinner and drinks.  He had duck mole and a glass of wine!  YUM YUM YUM!

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Making Strides Against Breast Cancer with Zappos Kentucky Family

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The Zappos Kentucky Family rocked it out in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 5K walk this past Sunday, October 23rd in Louisville, Kentucky. Our Heroes for Hope and a Cure team had an amazing time strolling next to the mighty Ohio River, and we raised a total of $3317.48!

We ranked #8 among all companies in Louisville and had the MOST participation of any registered company with 65 superhero participants! Heather B. was our top fundraiser this year, having brought in $220 for the fight against Breast Cancer.

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Winning Big with Zappos Vendors

Winning on the Zappos.com Race!In typical zashion, members of both the Zappos Kentucky and Las Vegas families were on hand on May 12th to applaud our amazing vendors. In the morning, the visitors had the opportunity to tour the one-of-a-kind Fulfillment Center in Shepherdsville, KY, observing how the Zappos machine works from the inside, out.  Then, just as the sun rose to its peak in the afternoon sky, Zappos turned up the heat!

No trip to Kentucky is complete without a journey to historic Churchill Downs. After loading up the buses, our favorite shoe, apparel, and houseware reps headed to the site of the “best two minutes in sports”.  Never missing a chance to show why Zappos is one of Fortune 100’s Best Places to Work, 10 tables were also reserved for employees who assisted with the 2011 Vendor Fair in the high-class Skye Terrace, complete with a full buffet and open bar.  Tony Heish and company sponsored the sixth race of the day and celebrated up on Millionaires Row and in the Winner’s Circle.

With the Delivering Happiness bus parked out front, the mood in Suite 5 was elated and excited, enjoying time away from packaging and prepping in style. While not everyone won money at the races, the entire afternoon received an awesome review.

The night continued on to Fourth Street Live in Downtown Louisville, where the pubs weren’t the only thing crawling…


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A Big Thank You to Our Zappos KY Family!

If you’ve ever ordered anything from Zappos.com, you know that we have one of the fastest, most hassle-free shipping around. None of this magic would be possible without our amazing team out in the Zappos Fulfillment Center (ZFC for short) in Shepherdsville, KY.

Our incredible Zappos KY family works day in and day out, 24/7, to deliver WOW to thousands of customers daily, and what they do is definitely no small feat. Many customers ask us if we do it all through magic. Some even ask if we use Santa’s magical elves to make all this possible. Well, who needs magic when we have such amazing people working tirelessly in our warehouse?

One step into the Zappos Fulfillment Center, and you’re instantly in awe of the well-oiled machine that is our over 1 million-square-foot warehouse. The Zappos Family here in Las Vegas would like to give a huge, well-deserved THANK YOU to ZFC for all the hard work that they do to keep the entire business running smoothly and for keeping our customers happy every day. High fives all around guys!