Inclusive Partnerships – Even During a Pandemic

I’ve been thinking a lot about all of our KIT friends this week and wondering how everyone is managing during this time. In my home, we are tuning out the news and finding that is helping our emotional state. I find I am longing for ways to feel “normal” again.

Here is something I saw this week that had that effect on me.

Back in 2017, the online retailer Zappos created a section of its website to highlight adaptive clothing for people with disabilities. This month, they launched a line of adaptive shoes and sunglasses in partnership with PBS Kids. Children can now enjoy their favorite characters on more than a dozen styles. I’m so happy to see partnerships like this one.

And now for a tangent on Zappos. Back in 2009, I was interviewing candidates for an administrative position at KIT. On one resume was something that stood out to me – “co-founder of Zappos.” It seemed odd that a co-founder of what was by then a pretty big online retailer would be applying for a position at a nonprofit. She had diverse experiences, and I was intrigued. She came to the interview and told me the founding story of Zappos.

It was she and her boyfriend at the time who came up with the idea of selling shoes (initially for people with hard-to-find sizes) online and they raised the initial funding from their close family and friends. They rented warehouse space, bought shoes, and shipped them out themselves. Their relationship struggled and they broke up. He left the business first, and then she did. She said she had some stock, but it was not enough to live on, and that’s why she was job hunting.

She progressed to the next round of interviews, but I did not get a chance to fact check her story or resume. When I called to invite her to a second interview she sounded a little tipsy. “Amazon just bought Zappos and I’m in a limo on the way to Vegas. We’re all rich!” she shouted. That was a random tangent, but it’s what I think of every time I hear something about Zappos. And, also, I need to get out more.

Hang in there, friends! We are going to get through this together!