Stan Burton, Supply Chain

Stan Burton, Supply Chain

We had the chance to catch up with one of our favorite expats in Hong Kong. We discussed juggling the egos of design and marketing with the reality of manufacturing, living around in Asia and the opportunities that exist in the supply chain.


Stan Burton, Supply Chain

Stan Burton is the Managing Director and Sr Sourcing Director of Under Armour Global Sourcing based in Hong Kong. He has done nearly every non-Design job possible in his career journey to be a part of the consumer goods / sporting goods industry. He began his career at Nike where he did everything from delivering boxes to leading teams across multiple countries in the areas of Product Development, Production and Supply Chain Operations. After nearly 20 years at Nike Inc, which included  Stan returned to Asia to setup operations for Oakley and now currently works for Under Armour leading their Hong Kong office. His diverse background in supporting the back end of the Design to Delivery process has allowed him to work with some of the best people & factories in the world and today we will talk about his thoughts and experiences in the area of Product Development.


Full Transcript 

Jeff Henderson (0:00) 
You are Stan Burton, I've known you since I showed up at Nike in 96. And you were there before I got there. And all I know is you were one of the guys who made everything from development to supply chain. So I don't know if you have an introduction for yourself, but please share if you like, who you are, who you are and what you do.

Stan Burton (0:22) 
Yeah, well, Hey, you got the name? Definitely. We've definitely we've definitely we've known each other for a long time. And while while you were always, you know, on that design tip, you were always that that young up and coming designer, I was, I was busy learning how to do everything else because I didn't know those skills. So I think I think my career is one of passionate love of making product, but you know, no, not not having the skills to actually draw anything. So yeah, I had to do it the hard way. You know, I look up to you guys and look up to you.

Jeff Henderson (1:03) 
I tell everybody, I could get somewhere because I have an engineering degree, but I think maybe half the designers feel this way, you might argue, in a different way. But without a developer without production without engineering, like none of that crappy drawing that we do turns into anything. So we always, you know, praise on folks over there on the other side of the drawing, so. So, tell me about because I think we've known each other long enough to where I've forgotten. How did you actually end up in development?

Stan Burton (1:39) 
Wow. So you know, it's been it's been over 25 years, 20, 27 years in the in the biz now. And definitely coming out of college. I didn't know what a developer was. I didn't know what development was at all. I knew that. You know, I knew I loved I loved shoes, I loved products. And I wanted to be a part of getting a made and so, you know, when we ran into each other on the hoop courted Nike, you know, I was I was I was there just like you trying to find my way into, you know, how can I get, you know, be a part of that kind of history of, you know, how do you end up making stuff and so yeah that that journey was really more of a on the job journey. I wish. I wish I could have had some time in vocational school or something somewhere that they actually made something. But yeah, so for me,

Jeff Henderson (2:39) 
Development is very much like on job training, like there's no background for it. No one knows what made you said you didn't know what it was then no one knows what it is now.

Stan Burton (2:47) 
Yeah. So really, really, you know, development when you're talking about it from a product creation point of view really is that is that glue between the designers concept and the factories execution. So you know, you have an idea. Sure, you can put it down on paper. And you might be able to go to a factory and get it get a product made. And that's great. But what happens when you have 10 products, what happens when you have 20 products, what happens when you have the next season, and you've got to, you have to take the products that are working and put new colors on them. But you also have to make some new things. And that's, that's where the developer comes in. And developer really, you know, works hand in hand with the designer, works with the PLM on the marketing side, works with the costing teams if if you're a big enough company to have something like that, and then works with the factory team to get those those concepts over the top because usually the designer's so busy moving on to the next project that, you know, the designer needs to be able to come back and see, see protos (prototypes) execute so they can make further decisions on the next iteration of that proto. But that developer, that development manager has to bring that product all the way to the finish line where the where the designer ultimately says, Yeah, that's what I wanted to make. And the the PLM the marketing guy says, Yeah, that's what we want to put in the market. So the designer fills in all those all the, all the gaps, and there's sometimes many gaps with a lot of these a lot of these design a lot of these design cats, you know, can can, they can draw, they can draw a pretty picture, but they don't know the guts of what's going on. They're not like you may not like a...

Jeff Henderson (4:44) 
I'm not gonna lie. I'm not gonna lie. I was an engineering school. I learned to cross my T's and dot my I's on again, I'll be like, Oh, I forgot to do that. And, but a developer like I'll never forget watching when samples and protos show up. For a season and all the boxes show up, and if there's a shoe that's supposed to have a white midsole and it has a black midsole, that developer catches heat not from anybody else, but the rest of the development team because there's zero mistakes clause like in that world, like the organizational skills are like, prime in your world.

Stan Burton (5:21) 
Exactly. I think that, you know, I think the attributes of somebody who wants to, you know, be a part of that process be in that development type organization needs to be very detail oriented. Right. And there's, you know, there's not, you know, it's, it's, you know, you have you know, ladies and gentlemen, right, you know, you know, you have all different walks of life that do it, but the people who are successful, they're both detail oriented. They can manage egos a little bit. They can, you know, definitely, you know, manage their computer, but they have an attention to detail too. You know, because the best developers are working with the best designers and those designers usually can hand a concept off to their developer and they can run with it for a while. You know, and sometimes bring back some ideas from if you have an experienced developer and maybe you're trying to go one way with a basketball shoe, and they'll execute that what you've asked for but they'll come back and say, Hey, you know, we've you know, we've made a lot of these and this is what works you know, performance wise and this doesn't you know, and push that designer to continue to maybe innovate further to make something you know, work or be more commercial if that's the best

Jeff Henderson (6:35) 
You gotta do that without bruising egos

Stan Burton (6:37) 
Yeah, with again, that's this this this there's a little bit of ego management there. But you know, there's there's a you know, quite quite an interesting career path for people who you know, want to go down this route you know, you have you have developers and all walks of life in this industry, whether it's in footwear, or apparel, or you know, if you want to make a bag or socks are everywhere has the same core type of attributes for a person and, you know, and really, you know, I think, from from leading these organizations for a long time, you know, I don't you know, I don't care what the person, you know, his background is if they've got the, if they've got the ability to communicate well, and manage the details, and they get along with design, and they are consistent. They're they've got a pretty good career ahead of them.

Jeff Henderson (7:26) 
Now, you say, you were at Nike a long time ago, and I think you've gone through a couple other companies since then. But I remember when we landed, and Nike around the same time, I didn't know what I wanted to be. I wasn't sure what I was going to be able to do. And I remember meeting with H White, because he was a family friend. And he was like, well, sounds like you want to do design or development and he immediately calls design, Tracy t Yeah, and develop I guess we call

Stan Burton (8:02) 
I don't know who you called I could... Oh, yeah.

Jeff Henderson (8:07) 
Steve? Yeah. He called Steve Roth. You know Steve Roth. Yeah.

Stan Burton (8:13) 
That that could have ended your desire for development right?

Jeff Henderson (8:16) 
We'll see here's the crazy part. Steve Roth never called me back like he was too busy he did like he just never called me back and I met Tracy T like within two days. So that pretty much drove my path down design because design for lack of a better word just had more time for me. Yeah, and so I know that there were just legends in development that did you feel when you met them with their to intimidation factor? Because I felt that when I got in design, like there was like legends, who'd been doing it for 20 years, when we showed up at 96.

Stan Burton (8:46) 
Oh, boy, you know, I think the you know, the first group I started working with, you know, I actually didn't start off in development. I started off in production planning. So, to come out of an operations role into development was You know, kind of unheard of. But yeah, you have people you know, you mentioned you mentioned, Steve. You know, I think a legend at Nike and I think in some cases, people were afraid of him. I think I think oh, boys, you know, five foot one maybe. Right. I don't know, right. He's not, you know, it's not a get through. Yeah. Yeah. You know, from before but yeah, you know, fighting the ball. Yeah, you know, yeah, he's got them angry teeth. Right. And you know, and I think I think when we were coming up there were there were a lot of New England type old shoe dog type people who were part of that company from its kind of beginning, you know, in the, in the, in the 80s when they all came out of us manufacturing. So, you know, for for, for us who, you know, hadn't really been in a factory scenario, they these guys were the experts. They were the gods of shoes. And so, and already, you know, early 90s they did you know, they'd already made you know, thousands of different styles, right. So sure, sure. A lot of intimidation. You know the style I think was a little bit different than were you know they you know they would talk tough and then you know throw you into the throw you into the fire and you know if they saw you trying hard and they saw you working hard then then they work with you but you know they definitely definitely scared off a lot of people you know from from joining the group because it looked you know, they made it look tougher than maybe it really was. But for you know for I think a company that that's on the rise you know, you need you need people that get it done and that's what they were looking for. They were just looking for the best people so that they could support and work with you know, these these pre Madonna designers and make some money.

Jeff Henderson (10:51) 
I feel I feel triggered by that but I'll just move on. So I want to say like when you're first assignments, at least a story I tell the other people was the conversation about how you came to the answer of minimums for factory requests, because, you know, sometimes design and marketing wants to make 100 of something. And that's not probably the best effective use of a factory's time.

Stan Burton (11:18) 
Yeah, in fact, yeah, you know, I think, you know, understand understanding mass production and understanding what you're trying to get done is key in the biz, and I think, yeah, I think internally we learned pretty fast in terms of, you know, what was what was worth worth time and what what isn't, and I think it's a good lesson for for folks out there, it's, you know, again, it's one it's one thing to make one one piece, you know, if you're a company and you're making 100 pieces, what are you making it for, right, you know, who's gonna see it? You know, that's, that's sort of the basic point of view but on the on the real, it's a you know, you don't you don't buy fabric that way, you're not you're not going down to Joanne Fabrics or your local fabric store right in by buying a one bolt of fabric and making s*** right? So, you know, you know, in a commercial world, you know, you've got to go a little bit bigger than that, you know, if you don't, if you don't have you know, 3000 pair if you don't have 10,000 pair, you know, what, what do you make it for? Right?

Jeff Henderson (12:21) 
Well see, that was my problem when I showed up at Cole Haan. Because I grew up on Nike campus. I grew up on Nike numbers. So I think I like casually asked the question while I was in, what was my interview, like, how many pairs you know, are you making? And they said, I was like, for the shoe that was popular. I was like, you know, is that like, 60, 70? And they were like, No, no, it's bigger than that. And they were like, it's like 2000 pair and I was like, Oh, I meant 60, 70,000 pair, and that was being like, small in my mind. Like it. I was thinking that I was taking it down but that was a whole nother world of numbers that I had only experienced Nike numbers. Yeah. So getting outside of that was sort of helpful.

Stan Burton (13:06) 
Well, you know, definitely the the Nike way is unique compared to a lot of other places where, you know, we would say for color up you needed 30,000 pair, right. You know, and so, you know, just just don't even don't even sit down. Right. And, you know, and, you know, one day one day, it was like, you know, hey, 50,000 pair to make tooling, right, if you wanted to make new bottoms, right? And literally, you know, you know, in my time early on, we kind of made it up, because so many people were asking for product, and we were seeing so much growth that, you know, you had to have some sort of balance, and we were, and if you didn't do it, and you see it a lot of small companies, you know, they'll they'll, they'll waste their time making, you know, 600 bottoms, and they'll blow all their money on that on the bottom tooling, you know, and they won't have enough from the upper and then then they don't have enough to bring to market and so then they've got a bunch of little you know, 1500 pair pieces. And, you know, what, what are you going to do? No one's ever going to see it. And, you know, unless, unless you're, you know, fashion guy, you know, you know, out there that you know, can sell them for $500 a pair, you know, you're not going to make money. And that's also kind of where the developer steps in and tries to bring all the pieces together looking at the cost, right? And so, you know, developers really, that, that link to being commercial, right? And looking out for all of these different things. And so, you know, hey, great, great idea, but your idea costs $100,000, you know, to you know, do how many, how many pair are we going to make? Right? You know, I'm gonna make 1200 pair. Well, okay, so, you know, you've got, you know, nine, nine bucks a pair is what your bottom costs, right? You know, how much you know how much you're gonna sell it for? Well, you know, I want to sell it for you know, 100 bucks. Well, okay, so you've got like, $3 left, right. So, you know, I think, you know, I think it's, you know, though these are the you know, the those aspects are become quite interesting over time, and there's There's definitely a part of the job that is fun.

Jeff Henderson (15:04) 
And I don't want to dissuade people from you know, those folks who want to start their own brand who only want to do 2000 pair, there's just some realities of which factory you end up with which material choices how much you spend on something like tooling, and how much bang for the buck you get, or is there enough juice for the squeeze?

Stan Burton (15:23) 
That's this comment right there, you know, is that is that is the juice worth the squeeze? Right? So, you know, and this is a business and so from, you know, ever, you know, you know, we see a lot of people that have a great idea and make make a shoe, right? Great, you got a cool shoe, it might be the greatest shoe. You know, but there's all the other pieces to having a business plan and, you know, getting people to be able to see it and like it, you know, you can put it on Kickstarter or do whatever the hell you want, right? But, you know, you're going to find out the laws of finance pretty fast. And so you know, all those things are, you know, just part of why, you know, you know, it's great to have the right the right team. And there's things you can do again, you know, I think, you know, a lot of a lot of companies start with this, this designer, and maybe a guy doing marketing or something. And it's usually the marketing guy that's picking up the development work for a while. And then you know, wait, and then wait until you get to, you know, your fifth style, your eighth, right, and then you get into your second season, and your third season, and you still got those five or eight styles that now you got to make for the trendy colors. But you also got to come up with a new stuff. And then you've got meetings. And so that's, that's, you know, so every company, I think ends up morphing into, like, I need somebody in the middle to make sure that all of this stuff gets sample gets executed. And you know, is the person that if there's a problem, I can say, hey, call the factory and then eventually people, you know, will start building a production arm out of out of that after the developer can't handle all of the sampling and production conversations and so you know, so it's just It becomes a natural evolution for almost every every company to to have this type of person.

Jeff Henderson (17:06) 
One of the things I think is one of the things I think is difficult to explain to people how to get into like the role of a developer because we had this conversation not too long ago when I was having it with Jason and Dwayne about, like, there's two handfuls worth of black designers that were at Nike, we had trouble counting like a handful of developers that are Nike, because I think to sum up, like developers that were Nike, but I think to some degree, it's because it's such a difficult job to explain. And then once you get in there, like there's two paths. There's the developer that's organizational. And then there's the developer that is maybe more creative or engineering and you kind of see people going one of those two paths before they move up to be in leadership. But it's a very difficult job to explain for somebody who's coming out of school who wants to go do something in the product world, they end up in marketing design, unless it's to your point by default. Just need someone to do that.

Stan Burton (18:04) 
Yeah, you know, yeah, I can, you know, almost 30 years, I think I can count. I can't even count on two hands. Right. You know, a number of, you know, you know, you know, of black people in development there there are there out there. I know they are, but, but I haven't met em.

Jeff Henderson (18:21) 
Right. And you probably have half of them.

Stan Burton (18:25) 
I actually had a fantastic brother that was working for me. And still, you know, he's out in the West Coast now, you know, making making his way. You know, it's, you know, yeah, generally, you know, you don't see, you know, that the talent going that way. You see folks going into design and marketing. You know, just like you said, it's easier to understand what it is. You don't you don't normally come into a company saying I want to be a developer until you've been a developer somewhere. And you know what that is, and then you find out there's quite a market, right? There's quite a market for people you know, who are sitting there in between. You know, sometimes you get folks that maybe were, you know, okay designers, right? And they kind of shift into development and they're that creative developer, but they're never that happy, right? They're never, that super happy. You know, and a lot of times,

Jeff Henderson (19:15) 
They end up in innovation.

Stan Burton (19:16) 
Yeah they end up in innovation or they end up spinning off and doing their own thing, right. So, you know, I think for somebody if, you know, anybody's going to listen to this, you know, they're coming out of out of school, you know, the, you know, the developer can be anything, you can have an accounting degree, a history degree, you know, engineering degree, it's all about attention to detail and really passion to being able to follow up on on those types of things. And then, but again, you have to have the personality to get along with your counterparts and that's that that's the biggest thing is the synergy. And that's where the best the best things happen. And that's why, you know, it'd be great to have, you know, kind of more of our folks in the industry because as you know, you're getting more and more, you know, black designers, you know, you've got, you know, these academies, you know, your boys, you know, you know, training the next generation. And, you know, those, you know, those folks, you know, again, you know, and you've seen it, you know, Oh, you got a portfolio with 600 shoes in it, you know, now, okay, well go, go make those all commercial, right? Ah, you know, I need I need to do it and, you know, boy, be nice to have somebody from, you know, your same culture, same background there to help you out. And so that's that's where the opportunities are. Right? I think it'll kind of go hand in hand, right? As things come along. You know, but that's, that's the deal, man. You know, there's, there's jobs everywhere.

Jeff Henderson (20:46) 
Now, one of the things I always like, loved about Stan Burton was that as much as we were in this giant corporation, you saw sort of, I was, thought I was king of breaking the rules or not so much. breaking the rules, but understanding what the rules are and then working accordingly. What you did with the bag group when life started to downsize in terms of like reimagining what a business could be, and then bringing in your own communications equipment, like What went through your head as you were sort of building that out? Talk a little bit about that.

Stan Burton (21:24) 
Yeah, so one of my many lives I was yeah, you know, head of bags development and it said, you know, bags development Well, you know, it's several hundred million dollar business so it's not quite a it's not quite it's not

Jeff Henderson (21:40) 
It's a cup of coffee a night gig.

Stan Burton (21:42) 
You know, is I think bigger than almost every other brand right out there. But you know, with

Jeff Henderson (21:49) 
It's all the purple colorways

Stan Burton (21:50) 
Yeah, right. But you know, barely could get me a seat if I if I didn't know the original guys I wouldn't be there right so. You know, but I think, you know, the hard times, you know, create sort of, you know, you have it, you either make it or you don't when, when the chips go down and so, you know, when we ran into a time period there, you know, 1012 years ago, where, you know, the, the, oh, a crisis was coming in, we had to make some huge changes. And, you know, I realized, you know, we were going to have to, you know, lose, we're gonna lose a lot of a lot of our teams, because of the, the economic situation is the same situation we're going to go through now in the industry. And so, you know, you have that you have the choice, you know, to be, you know, how can you creatively manage and get things done. And, you know, at the time we, you know, you couldn't just, you know, your grandma couldn't just call you on zoom. Right.

Stan Burton (22:50)
So, but, but the technology was out there, it was just bad and, and, you know, the company was, you know, trying to find Here's some things but we were using, you know, you remember those video conferences that they were bad, right? Just, you know, they were but it was like, it was like looking at somebody through a black and white dot matrix printer. Right. You know, and, you know, and so, you know, I had the choice I had, I had a pretty good sized team there in Beaverton and, and I had I had a strong team in southern China that I had worked with for a number of years when I was living there in China. And, and so I made the decision that if we could improve our communications there, we could, we could shift some of the some of that some of the development work. You know, so a lot of the heavy lifting of that development work out out in out in the field if we could turn this stuff on. So, you know, for today, where you again, you click a button and you know, FaceTime, you're connected to your homie, they're, you know.

Jeff Henderson (23:53) 
Exactly, exactly.

Stan Burton (23:53) 
There where we couldn't we didn't have any ways to get it over there. So I pulled out my credit card and bought, bought spent a few thousand dollars and bought a unit and it was it was risk. And, you know, I put it put it my suitcase and I flew to China. And I somehow I made it, made it in and walked in and you know, within 20 minutes, I was connected back to the home office and in the IT guys, you know, again I you know, it sounds like I'm a maverick, but you know the truth truth be told, you know, I you know, had built a pretty strong relationship with a lot of the IT folks and I have some people behind the scenes pulling for me to hope you know, I wouldn't go to jail or would get too much trouble. You know, when that thing turned on and we were looking at each other, you know, then then that just kind of became another job and they're like, okay, you know, you get to be part of this. You get to be part of this effort to improve our video communications but it's part of getting it done and it was then then we could sit our designers down and talk straight to the factory, right? So I put it in, I put it in the factory, and I said, Okay, here it is, this is the room, you know, and we learned how to use it. And it became it became quite effective. And then, you know, then smarter guys than me, you know, found better ways to you know, create rooms and now now you know, it's it's all it is what it is now, but you know, fun time, good, good, good risk. But, but but but fun time I learned a lot there.

Jeff Henderson (25:32) 
So speaking of risk, my first, I guess, touch point with Asia was a trip that went from Taiwan to Indonesia. I think I did Hong Kong for a second. And when I landed in Hong Kong for the first time this was back when you leave downtown. I immediately went to the hotel, call my wife and said we are moving to Hong Kong. It was one of the most wild sort of experiences in my life, and to think that you've taken that and going a little further than my short three years in Japan, you've made that a much bigger deal. Talk about that a little bit.

Stan Burton (26:19) 
I think the, I think my passion for wanting to make product and be part of the process got me out here. So I didn't I didn't magically get a development job when, you know, in Portland, so nobody, nobody called me back when I was there. But I didn't let it stop me. And I actually, you know, I was, you know, in, in production planning, I was actually kind of a nerd there, you know, working out things and but it put me in proximity, right, it put me it put me next to development. And so I was I was then I was meeting with the heads of all these different development categories and walking in with the business side of it saying hey, you know, this is where the plan is, you know, the styles are doing too low, your costs are going to be too high, whatever. And so, you know, so what happened was that there was a an opportunity to work in as a production manager out in overseas and that was it right? So I was I, you know, expressed interest in you know, timing worked and that's what got me out. Right. They sent me to Thailand and and, and the rest was the rest was history right, you know.

Jeff Henderson (27:29) 
Where you became basketball.

Stan Burton (27:31) 
I had I had a few good games but that you know, being being you know, being tall in Asis you know, is that there's some challenges and challenges right not everything not everything's built out here for me It definitely definitely being black out in Asia. You know, I think people would think that it's, you know, it's a negative but I you know, I found some some fantastic friendships out here and definitely the black community small, but definitely, definitely pretty, pretty tight. When when you get out when you get out this way, I had had a few countries under my belt, but it wasn't, it wasn't until I was in a, you know, kind of working on the manufacturing side and the factory side for a while that I finally was able to convince people that, you know, I needed to move up to development and that just, that was just more about after I really learn how to make product from the, from the production side of the business that, you know, I needed to get upstream. And so, I mean, my my development experience really didn't really didn't start from the paperwork side of the business that you would have from the from the US it started from the sample room side. You know, and and then you know, moving in from that side to say, okay, you know, we want to be part of building the proto, so that so that we can have a better commercialization and throughput in production. So let's But different, you know, kind of came, I really went backwards through the process. And it was it was it wasn't a, it wasn't a plan. You know, I wish I wish I was that smart. But it was, it was it was more of, you know, just just really a heavy passion to want to be part of the industry and take into taking taking whatever opportunities got me closer and closer to how to make product. And that that that was the whole thing.

Jeff Henderson (29:26) 
And, and I think that's key is that technology is sort of I know for design, you can see the waves of generations, like when I started, right when I started, it was probably the end of going to Asia every season, which was like just the standard. You'd go and work with things and technology got a little better. I remember talking to Mike ovine when he was like yeah, we used to fat Yeah, the drawings over which blows my mind of how you send a fax over. But we went so often that you learned how every Body, in the process in the supply chain did their job. So you made decisions accordingly. But when technology sort of ramped up, the trip started slowing down because became more efficient. The problem was the level of understanding of how things built, also dropped off, because then you'd have designers who would go maybe once every other year. like you'd have developers who would go once every two, three years, and they wouldn't understand how things were being received on the other side, or to question these other companies.

Stan Burton (30:31) 
Exactly. And, and that again, that's where, you know, in today's world, you know, that that developer has more contact with factories and with a product and then really the designer does the designer gets to see the product. You know, but but nowadays, you know, there's some companies that the designer doesn't even travel, right. You know, where the designers full time needing to, you know, update color or, you know, present boards. I guess they don't present boards anymore present, you know, present, you know, their files, right. You know, and constantly, you know, constantly just, you know, re updating things for the for the next season or the next meeting. You know, while that developer's the one that's you know, you know, the the box shows up and that developer's cube first, right, you know that that person opens up the door Right, right. Like it'sis like, Ooh, this came in perfect. You know, this the Oh, this this thing is great.

Jeff Henderson (31:35) 
My best friend when I got there was Jim Gros, like

Stan Burton (31:40) 
He was all of our first best friend, right.

Please Jim, man, give me some 12s, baby. I got some 12s.

Jeff Henderson (31:50) 
Exactly, exactly. On extreme trials. Yeah.

Stan Burton (31:55) 
I can put them on 13th. I can do 14 I could I could put a 14 with two socks. You know,

Jeff Henderson (32:02) 
Peter Lamb dropped off at my desk

Stan Burton (32:05) 
Great days back there, so, no, I think, you know, so definitely, definitely, if you're in one of the more, you know, popular categories in the company, if you're a developer, you also have some a little bit of fun, right? Because you're your fingers on the pulse of whatever's the newest, newest thing. And, you know, but the biggest satisfaction and, you know, you know, I'm thinking about my boy Tree, you know, when, you know, when he was in development there. You know, just just, you know, I was with him the first time, you know, we went into a Footlocker and we saw, you know, his first shoe that, you know, it was a cross training shoe that would like, you know, right. So, just like a designer would be, you know, geeked out, you know, go to go to Dick's or whatever, right? You know, it's like, oh, man, you know, I it's probably the same as like hearing your song on a radio right? Just like, like Hey, wow, like, you know, I'm on Apple Music, right? So, you know, it's, you know, you get that satisfaction because the beautiful thing about that part of the job is that there's a physical and to your to each project, right, you know, and then and then and then from that, you know, you take those iterations, but you know, where some people would be just looking at the aesthetics of a product you're thinking about, you know, everything about it. Right. And so, you know, so I think that's, that's the cool part about development is you truly that creation process of the product, even though you're not the designer you know, you're you're, you know, as vested, or you know, as best as anyone else in the product.

Jeff Henderson (33:47) 
Yeah, wow. Wow. No, this is exactly the kind of conversation that I know you can share with folks about development. I won't hold you up your amazingness 'cause you've got amazing things to do. And you're in Hong Kong right now. Yeah, correct. Yes, you are so big last question I'd like to ask folks, and you said it, like, you sort of didn't plan all of this. But if you could go back and tell your young self, whether this is high school, college, or starting out with a little bit of advice you can offer to you.

Stan Burton (34:23) 
Oh boy, you know, just keep following your instincts. Right? Is the big thing. You know, and especially when you're when you're young, ask a lot of questions, right? You don't, you know, you know, people you know, people really appreciate, you know, sharing their knowledge with people who are hungry and, and humble, right. You know, I think and there's some things that take some time to, to learn, you know, and you know, having, you know, be having the patience to if you really are interested You know, take the time to, to learn and be a part of it. And, you know, just just, you know, immerse yourself and don't, you know, don't get distracted, you know, from, from, what your goals are. And if you don't have a goal, then again, instincts are critical, right? Because, you know, that battle battle guides you, you know, to where you need to go. Because it's not, it's not so simple. And, you know, and and be friendly. Right. You know, the network, the networks you make, from early on, can be, can become.

Jeff Henderson (35:38) 
It's a small world. It's an incredibly small, relatively small.

Stan Burton (35:43) 
You know, because we talked about when I met, you know, you and I were not at the top of the totem pole, right. When when we met. So, you know,

Jeff Henderson (35:56) 
We were just trying to get a run in trying to get a run in.

Stan Burton (36:00) 
Legendary, you know, Jeffrey Henderson, right from the, you know, the head of innovation design, you know, we, we came from humble, we came from some humble beginnings, right? And so, you know, that's, that's the thing and that's, that's what everybody else can do too, right? It's not it's not just, it's not just us, but you know, and you got to take some risks. You know, you know, I got, luckily, you know, you know, my only risk was that video conference thing. You know, but...

Jeff Henderson (36:32) 
I mean, you say that's your only risk but moving to Asia, moving to Asia at all, you know, that most people like, just go what why would I do that? Like, that's a, that's a long plane trip in the first place. Like, that's a huge thing and to go take your family and kid there? Like, that sounds crazy. But the reality is, most people you know, do that, like in your job. You know, a lot of people who do that like it's not foreign in your world. That's That's the part that you kind of have to get into the world to start to realize what things are normal and what things are, yeah. risk.

Stan Burton (37:12) 
And, again, I think anybody who wants to do any kind of career, especially with what we're doing, you know, we make stuff out here and sure you make some stuff in the States. And and, you know, hopefully we make more stuff there at some point, but, you know, whether you're in apparel or anywhere, you know, you know, there's major centers where you make it, you can go to Latin America, but if you're gonna make shoes, you're gonna make footwear. Yeah, if you're gonna make footwear yeah you're coming to Asia, or you're going to Brazil, unless you unless you speak Italian, right? I mean, you know, yeah, you know, you're going to Italy.

Jeff Henderson (37:47) 
There's some products in Portugal. We got some products in Portugal, but there's not a lot, a lot of work. Not a lot of work.

Stan Burton (37:51) 
Think, you know, you've got to be willing to, you know, step out of your comfort zone. Hey, for a lot of people moving to Oregon is you know, outside of the comfort zone, right? So, so baby steps, right? You know, if you if you can't if you can't go somewhere where the radio station isn't what you like, you know then maybe yeah maybe maybe you're not ready for you know, you know what what the business world is going to need from you but if you're if you're open you know to to new things you know I you know I bet we got you know and you know where I'm at now we've got a brother down in Ho Chi Minh that's just you know, just loving it right? Just, you know, got him on the ground and he's just you know, he actually came out before and was developing hands and now he's down developing he got he when they went back to the States got into footwear, and then they sent him as a full ex Pat out here. And you know, so just just fantastic so I hooked him up with the the other brother is down there from Adidas camp you know, put those two together but hey, you know, one day one day there might be like, five? I don't know. Right. So

Jeff Henderson (38:42) 
And everybody thinks they're in the military and or an athlete or a rapper.

Stan Burton (39:16) 
Right. Yeah, you know, because at the end of the day, you know, he's, you know, he's making good money and, you know, he's and he's doing stuff he loves, right. He's out there. He's out there putting you're putting shoes together. And that's, that, that that's his passion and masterminds can do in development. Yeah, yeah.

Jeff Henderson (39:35) 
Yeah. And he's living the expat life.

Stan Burton (39:38) 
For the listeners, right. So I don't know who would listen to this this long. But, you know, but I would, I should mention, you know, none of us knew what an expat was coming out of school, right. And so, you know, you got to look it up. But again, you know, companies, you know, with for the right people, the right talent, will, you know, send people out to their foreign offices, fully paid housing fully paid, you know, the holidays paid, you know, return trips, the whole nine to have you come out and work as an extension of the company and it's an investment because they want you to go out, they want you to become an expert in your field. They want you to become an expert in how your company does business with those groups in the field. And they want you to come back and they want you to come back to then, you know, get to that next level of working with the next level of design. And then, and then hopefully start teaching the next generation, right, how to how to operate. And then you know, and then get that person to have the relationships with the key suppliers, so that you're able to just get them on the phone just like you can call you know, you can call a head of a head of a factory and say, I need this. And they're like, yeah Jeff, gotcha. Right. And so, that's reach out away. And so WeChat away,

Jeff Henderson (41:08)
Yeah, WeChat away.

Stan Burton (41:09) 
You know, and so that's, that's definitely you know, you know, relationship management is a big deal for development. And it's and it's so critical downstream as you get older, that becomes what you start trading, right? It's not that you know, you know, you no longer are making making this this product Black, you know, now you're talking about, you're talking about the entire operation, and how you're making that work. And so it's pretty, right. Yep. That's another just another call for another day.

Jeff Henderson (41:44) 
No doubt, no doubt what Thank you, Stan, for sharing your time with us. Always good to catch up. You be well out there, okay.

Stan Burton (41:53) 
All right. All right. Thank you.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published