As COO of Fluevog Shoes, Adrian Fluevog oversees 175 employees and an operation that includes 20 stores across North America as well as more than 70 wholesale accounts with shoe retailers around the world.
Though only 34 years old, Fluevog first started in the shoe business 20 years ago, when he helped his father, company founder and owner John Fluevog, in the stores.
He did not really apply himself to the business, however, until 2001, after a yearlong trip to Australia. Fluevog Shoes had an opening for a director of wholesale accounts, and the younger Fluevog jumped at the chance.
He doubled the company’s wholesale sales in each of the next five years but still yearned to do more with his life.
“I decided that if I was going to do anything in life, I should get an education,” he said.
He left the company and went back to school for two years, starting in 2007, just before the global economy crashed.
Fresh with a diploma in marketing management and entrepreneurship from the British Columbia Institute of Technology, he joined the marketing company Red Rocket Creative Strategies as head of business development
“I remember the struggles,” he said. “It was hard times.”
Toward the end of 2010, he returned to his father’s company in a move that was a “big deal” given his sometimes rocky relationship with the senior Fluevog, he said.
“I didn’t leave on a 100% positive note, so for him to rehire me was huge,” he said.
Fluevog’s new role was retail development manager for the company, which then comprised 10 stores. He sketched out a business plan to prove that expansion was viable. Two years later, the company had 15 stores and Fluevog was promoted to COO.
Fluevog’s father remains involved in the business and is in charge of shoe design, but the younger Fluevog’s job is to oversee “everything else.”
Outside work, Fluevog spends time with wife Alexis and their two sons.
He also cycles as much as he can and runs triathlons, such as the Mosquitoman Triathlon in Yellowknife this summer, which he won.
“Not too many people take part in that triathlon,” he said to play down the accomplishment. Then, with a laugh, he added, “One good thing was that I beat my brother-in-law.”
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