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In the tradition of bestsellers such as Shoedog, Authentic is a surprisingly candid, compelling memoir by a high school dropout who went on to establish one of the world's most iconic brandsPaul Van Doren is the founder of Vans—the shoe company beloved by skateboarders, creatives, and fans everywhere for its laid-back, colorful SoCal vibe, and famous for its people-oriented company culture. How did Van Doren, who started as a 16-year-old "service boy" at a local rubber factory, establish a family shoe business that evolved into a globally recognized brand with annual revenue of more than four billion dollars? A blue-collar kid with no higher education and zero retail experience, Van Doren leveraged a knack for numbers, a genius for efficiency, and the know-how to make a great canvas tennis shoe into an all-American success story. In 1966, when the first House of Vans store opened, there were no stand-alone retail stores just for sneakers. Paul's bold experiments in product design, distribution, and marketing (Why not sell custom shoes? Single shoes?), aided by legions of fans—skateboarders, surfers, even Sean Penn wearing Vans' famous checkerboard slip on shoe in the film Fast Times at Ridgemont High—made Vans a household name. But there was also back-breaking work, a shocking bankruptcy, family turmoil, and a profound shift in how customers think about athletic shoes. Authentic details Van Doren's personal life, but also hard-won business lessons learned over six turbulent decades in the shoe trade: the importance of deep-rooted values, of improvisation, of vision (and revision), and above all, of valuing people over profits. Refreshingly forthright and totally entertaining, Authentic is a business memoir by an American original.
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About the Author
Founder of Vans, the world’s most groundbreaking brand of shoes, Paul Van Doren is also the inspiration behind the company’s unique corporate culture, which values people over profits. Paul led the company from its inception in 1965 until it was sold in 1988. However, he and his family have remained integral to the world of Vans, and at the age of eighty-nine he is still a valued speaker at Vans events to this day. Paul Van Doren is the founder of Vans, the world's most groundbreaking shoe brand. He led the company from its inception in 1965 until 1988. Two of his children are still Leaders at Vans. At the age of 90, he continues as a valued brand ambassador and the enduring inspiration for the company's unique culture.