For many of us, walking into a Payless store is a little like walking into a corner of heaven, with shoes stacked as far as the eye can see! And what began as a small Kansas shoe store has now grown into the largest specialty family footwear retailer in the Western Hemisphere.
The Payless story begins in Topeka, Kansas in 1956. Cousins Louis and Shaol Pozez found that they could keep the costs of their products down by doing away with the idea of employing several fitters for their shoe store, something that went against the common practices of the industry at the time, and allowing customers to fit their own shoes from a large on floor stock. The concept quickly became very popular with customers and thanks to a series of clever acquisitions the Payless empire grew very quickly.
These days, working under the umbrella of parent company Collective Brands, a firm founded by the Pozez cousins in the 1970s the Payless empire has grown to include over 4,000 stores in the US as well as 200 more stores in Puerto Rico, Guam, Saipan, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Canada, Central America, the Caribbean and South America.
Who Can Get a Job at Payless Shoes
Most people begin a career with Payless as a Retail Assistant. Although Payless does not employ shoe fitters, in line with the corporate vision that has been in place for over fifty years, employees are expected to know all about the brands and styles on sale in their stores and are expected to help advise customers in their selections should they ask for help, as well as to run the register and restock the shelves as necessary. In order to apply to become a Retail Assistant the applicant must be over the age of eighteen and have a minimum of a high school diploma or a GED.
As is the case for many large retail corporations Payless does prefer, whenever possible, to source candidates for store management positions from within the organization, meaning that a hardworking, ambitious entry level employee does have a good chance to advance their career relatively quickly.
Retail clerks do also have the chance to advance into the merchandising and buying side of the business. Although these days Payless do have a number of their own exclusive brands they also employ buyers to source shoe and accessory fashions that suit the brand image while still being affordable enough to fir the company’s ‘budget; culture. For those with an interest in a career in fashion this can be a fascinating and challenging opportunity.
Payless also operate a number of distribution centers throughout the country, and positions are available there for pickers and packers, stock clerks and drivers.
Completing the Online Payless Shoes Application the Right Way
For those interested in beginning a career with Payless Shoes the best place to begin a search for a suitable position is the company’s main corporate website. Any and all US based open positions are listed there, however the one unusual thing about the Payless site is that potential applicants are mandated to watch a brief video that details the responsibilities of a person in the position they are considering before they can gain access to the job listings or the Payless online application.
In order to complete the online Payless Shoes application candidates do have to create an applicant account. This means that you will need to provide an email address that is one that you check regularly, as this is the usual method by which candidates will be kept apprised of their application status. It is best that you make sure that you use an address that is a professional one – for example email@example.com – as ‘quirky’ or ‘silly’ email addresses – firstname.lastname@example.org for example – may be fun when you are communicating with friends but will create a poor impression on a hiring manager.
After creating an account the employment application itself will take thirty to forty minutes on average to complete, so you should allow yourself plenty of uninterrupted time to do so. As you work through the Payless Shoes application, ensure that you have completed all the required fields and that all of the information you have provided is truthful and accurate. As is the case for many large retail corporations these days (and indeed companies in general) Payless do conduct a brief background check on candidates they are considering offering a position to and any inconsistencies between the information an applicant provides and information a background check reveals could be a bar to eventual employment.
Intresting Facts about Payless Shoes You May Want to Know
One of the first advertising slogans that the Payless corporation used to promote the fact that they offered budget shoes was a precursor of sorts to the now famous ‘BOGO’ (buy one get one free) tag line that the company uses in current promotions. It however was a little quirkier – ‘two for five – man alive!’ A little old fashioned sounding today of course but at the time it certainly got the point across.
In the 1990s, when the concept of designer sneakers was really taking off, Payless debuted a line called ‘Pro Wings’ that featured velcro straps instead of shoelaces and were promoted as a budget alternative to the growing Nike Air Jordan brand. Their memory (which was not always good for some) was recently revived by rappers Macklemore and Ryan Lewis in their song “Wings” with the line “You’d get clowned for those Pro Wings, with the velcro “Those were not tight”. In interviews Macklemore says he owned several pairs of Pro Wings as a kid growing up in Seattle, so was writing from experience!
These days the Payless ‘own brand’ shoes are considered to be far more acceptable. Project Runway winner Christian Siriano has been designing for the company for several years now and Payless Stores also carry shoe lines from American Eagle, Champion and Disney and have evolved their own casual shoe line, Airwalk.