Careers at Famous Footwear

MISSION Inc (“Famous Footwear”) is a retailer of footwear products that aims to offer high quality casual and athletic footwear products for the whole family from a range of brands.


Famous Footwear traces its roots back to 1960, when Neil Moldenhauer established Neil’s Factory Shoe Outlet, a single shoe store located in Madison, Wisconsin. 

The store was one of the first factory outlets in the Midwest of the US.  The Company quickly found success and quickly expanded its operations, putting a number of smaller shoe retailers out or business.

By 1974, the Company, now operating under the Famous Footwear brand, operated a network of 15 stores. 

That same year, the bulk of the Company’s stores were purchased as part of a management buyout led by long-serving employees Dave Orfan and Brian Cook, alongside a number of external investors. 

Following the buyout, Orfan and Cook initially served respectively as the Company’s President and Executive Vice President.  The chain continued to expand, and by 1980 comprised 36 stores across the Midwest.

In the 1980s, Famous Footwear was acquired by Brown Shoe Company, which invested further in the Company’s expansion, growing the Famous Food network to 230 stores by 1986, and to 722 stores in 44 states by 1993. 

The Company remains a subsidiary of Brown Shoe Company, which now operates under the name Caleres Inc.

Famous Footwear is a prominent retailer of footwear products in the US, operating a network of 992 outlets in strip centres, outlet malls, and regional malls across the US and Canada.      

Business model of Famous Footwear

Customer Segments

Famous Footwear serves a broad customer base comprising members of the general consumer population. 

It primarily serves customers in one or more of the following segments:

  • Families, comprising younger families who require a range of shoe sizes and types that can all be found at Famous Footwear’s stores;
  • Sports Enthusiasts, comprising general consumers who enjoy participating in sports such as running, football, basketball, and going to the gym who take advantage of Famous Footwear’s broad range of athletic footwear; and
  • Budget Consumers, comprising consumers from middle income and lower income households who want to purchase branded footwear products at lower prices.

Famous Footwear is based in the US, which is its core market.  The Company serves customers across 44 US states, as well as in parts of Canada.  Famous Footwear also serves a larger international customer base via its online stores.

Value Propositions

Famous Footwear provides value to its customers in the following ways:

  • Reputation and Standing – Famous Footwear is an established name in the footwear retail sector and a pioneer of the outlet store model, with a reputation for providing high quality products that dates back to the 1960s;
  • Broad Product Range – Famous Footwear carries a broad selection of footwear products, including casual and athletic shoes for men, women, and children, ensuring that has products to suit a large variety if needs;
  • Branded Products – Famous Footwear offers products from a wide range of brands – including Adidas, Vans, Nike, Converse, Crocs, Birkenstock, and New Balance – ensuring that it is able to cater to a wide range of tastes and styles;
  • Sales Reach – Famous Footwear operates an extensive network of close 1,000 stores across the US and Canada, through which it makes its products and services available to a large customer base; and
  • Affordability – Famous Footwear’s business model ensures that it is able to offer high quality, branded products to customers at affordable prices, cheaper than can be found at traditional footwear retailers.


Famous Footwear employs an omni-channel sales network, serving its customers directly via its network of physical retail outlets, as well as online through its own ecommerce portals. 

The Company operates a network of 992 brick and mortar stores across 44 US states and across parts of Canada. 

Famous Footwear additionally operates online stores at and, through which it domestic American and Canadian customers, as well as international customers, are able to browse products, place orders, and schedule deliveries on a self-service basis. 

Famous Footwear’s retail operations are supported by its distribution infrastructure, which includes leased distribution centres in Chino, California and Lebanon, Tennessee and third-party facilities in Vacaville, California and Fontana, California.

Customer Relationships

Famous Footwear serves its customers directly in-store, and on a self-service basis through its online stores. 

The Company’s outlets are staffed by sales personnel who seek to provide excellent customer service to customers, dealing directly with customer requests, queries, complaints, and product returns.

In addition to hosting online stores at and, Buckle also uses its website to provide customers with information on its store locations, its products, its returns policy, and shipping options. 

The Company’s website notably includes an order tracking service and a store-finding service, as well as a dedicated customer portal through which customers can manage their accounts. 

Famous Footwear has an extensive social media presence, operating a number of accounts – including with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube – through which it is able to communicate deals and updates to its customers directly and handle customer feedback. 

Key Activities

Famous Footwear operates a network of footwear stores that sell athletic and casual shoes for men, women, and children in the US and Canada. 

The Company offers a wide range of styles for women, men, and kids from well-known brands such as Nike, Converse, Vans, Sperry, Madden Girl, Skechers, ASICS, and other brands.  It offers boots, slippers, casual shoes, dress shoes, and sandals, as well as a range of athletic shoes for the whole family. 

It additionally offers baby, toddler, preschool, and grade school footwear for girls and boys, as well as accessories, including backpacks, drawstring backpacks, socks, slippers, and shoe care products.  Famous Footwear is based in St. Louis, Missouri and operates as a subsidiary of Caleres Inc.

Key Partners

Famous Footwear works closely with a network of partner companies and organisations that support its core operations. 

These partners can be organised broadly into the following categories:

  • Supplier and Vendor Partners, comprising suppliers of merchandise and equipment either sold or used across the Company’s network of stores, as well as third party providers of services that support the Company’s corporate activities more broadly;
  • Brand and Factory Partners, comprising a range of footwear brands with which the Company has commercial partnerships, selling branded footwear products across its network of physical retail outlets and online stores; 
  • Distribution Partners, comprising a range of distribution and logistics companies that support the Company’s own distribution, delivery, and warehousing operations across the US and Canada;
  • Community Partners, comprising various no-profits and charitable organisations with which the Company collaborates on community and social responsibility projects across its operating markets; and
  • Strategic Partners, comprising various other commercial enterprises and organisations with which the Company collaborates on strategic business development, growth, and marketing projects.

Famous Footwear has a number of key partnerships in place.  The Company’s brand partners include London Rebel, Spoiled, Shucare, Adidas, ASICS, Billabong, and Skechers. 

Key Resources

Famous Footwear’s business model depends on its ability to sell high quality footwear products to customers conveniently and efficiently. 

As such, Famous Footwear’s key resources are its inventory and product portfolio, its brand partnerships, its suppliers and supply chain infrastructure, its distribution and warehousing infrastructure, its network of retail outlets, its online stores and IT infrastructure, its partnerships, and its personnel. 

The Company’s network of around 1,000  brick and mortar retail stores and its online retail channels are its most important assets.

Cost Structure

Famous Footwear incurs costs in relation to the procurement of merchandise and equipment, the procurement of third party services, the operation of its store network – including occupancy and utility costs, the operation and maintenance of its online store and IT infrastructure, the development and implementation of marketing and advertising campaigns, the management of its partnerships, and the payment of salaries and benefits to its workforce.

In 2018, Famous Footwear recorded total cost of sales in the amount of USD 916 million, and general and administrative expenses in the amount of USD 605.1 million.

Revenue Streams

Famous Footwear generates revenue via the sale of branded footwear products and accessories across its network of brick and mortar stores, as well as via its online sales portals. 

The Company derives the bulk of its revenue in the form of sales fees collected directly from customers at point of sale, both online and at its physical retail outlets. 

In 2018, Famous Footwear recorded total net sales of USD 1.61 billion, down slightly on the USD 1.64 billion recorded by the Company in 2017. 

The Company accounted for more than half of Caleres Inc’s total annual sales of USD 2.83 billion. 

Our team

Diane Sullivan,
Chief Executive Officer, President, and Chairman of the Board

info: Diane Sullivan (“Sullivan”) has served as President at Caleres Inc since joining the company in 2004, and has been the company’s Chief Executive Officer in 2011. She has served as Chairman of the company’s board of directors since 2014. In this role, she is responsible for developing and implementing the overall strategic direction of Caleres Inc, and head the company’s board of directors. Sullivan has served in a number of senior leadership roles in the footwear and apparel sectors. She began her career in a number of consumer brand management and sales positions at companies such as M&M/Mars and The Mennen Company. From 1995 to 2001, she served as President and Chief Operating Officer for Stride Rite Corporation, following which she served for several years as Vice Chairman of the Footwear Group at Phillips-Van Heusen.

Molly Adams,
Division President for Famous Footwear

info: Molly Adams (“Adams”) has served as President of the Famous Footwear Division at Caleres Inc since joining the company in 2018. In this position, she is responsible for overseeing strategy, financial planning, product development, merchandise assortment, marketing, consumer engagement, store productivity, and omnichannel initiatives the entire Famous Footwear sales network. Adams previously served in a number of leadership positions in various department stores, entertainment and specialty retail organisations, including Rampage, Pastille (a division of Neiman Marcus) and Federated Department Stores. She went on to join Disney Stores, where she held a number of roles, including spells as Vice President and General Manager of Disney Store North America from 2008, Senior Vice President of Disney Store North America from 2011, and Executive Vice President of Global Product Development at Disney Consumer Products Inc from 2012.

Kenneth H. Hannah,
Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

info: Kenneth H. Hannah (“Hannah”) has served as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Caleres since joining the company in 2015. He is responsible for overseeing the company’s financial management activities, including the accounting, internal audit, and tax activities of the Famous Footwear Division. Hannah began his career in 1997 as a finance executive at General Electric. In 2001, he was appointed Vice President at The Boeing Company, following which he served as Senior Vice President at The Home Depot from 2003. Hannah joined MEMC Electronic Materials in 2006, where he served consecutively as Chief Financial Officer and President of Solar. Prior to joining Caleres, Hannah served for almost two years as Chief Financial Officer at JC Penney.