With over 15 years industry experience, Kat Cavicchia was a logical choice to lead wholesale for Larroudé. A trusted former colleague, Kat knows the ins and outs of the shoe business like no one else, and has a kindness-first mentality that’s at the core of what we do and who we are. Read on to see how Kat’s navigated the pandemic and her no-holds-barred advice for making it count in the fashion biz.
First of all: how are you doing?
It’s been a hell of a year! But I’m doing and feeling amazing—better than I have in many years.
If you could send a DM to your younger self, what would it be?
Girl, you got this! Take a deep breath, slow down. Believe in yourself. Never forget the power you hold inside. Everything works out as it should and everything happens for a reason. The universe always has your back and the best is yet to come.
What are you most looking forward to doing outdoors this Spring?
Getting dressed again!! LOL! I am an avid golfer and tennis player (thanks to the pandemic) so counting down the days until I can get back out there! Love to jog and hike outside with my boyfriend Dan and dog, Luna. And of course, enjoying time at my beloved Jersey Shore as well as my and Dan’s annual trip to Bar Harbor, Maine.
What are you reading right now?
BECOMING BULLETPROOF by @EvyPoumpouras. Great insight about living fearlessly, protecting yourself, being resilient in the face of adversity and attaining your power—all applicable skills to business and entrepreneurship. Evy and my brother Pete were both in the Secret Service together and 9/11 survivors/Medal of Valor recipients so this book is close to my heart. Also, ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE by Anthony Doerr. It’s an amazing WW2 story from the point of view of two children on opposite sides of the war (France and Germany). It’s so powerful.
What are you watching right now?
I have resorted to throwback TV and it’s been amazing. We started watching ‘Little House on the Prairie’ from the first episode. The show was way ahead of its time with some of the topics broached. Many episodes can apply to our current time—they even had a quarantine episode! I further cultivated my crush on Michael Landon by watching “Highway to Heaven”—Another show where the topics can work in any generation. I cried so many times at the end of the episodes and it’s nice to watch something that makes you feel good and restores your faith in your fellow man, especially after the year we’ve had.
All ancient Egypt shows on the Discovery+ App. Women were revered rulers in Egypt, a system we could learn from. Also, the beliefs and traditions of the entire culture are fascinating.
And finally, if loving the Real Housewives is wrong, I don’t want to be right. I watch almost every franchise.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
“Don’t marry a jerk”—said by my Grandmother, Adeline Cavicchia. LOL, seriously those were her dying words to me and I will never forget them. And, “Always do everything with kindness.”
What’s the biggest takeaway/learning you’ve had from the past year?
’2020 gave me 20/20 vision,’ as the phrase goes. I’ve slowed down my pace and learned to enjoy and cherish every moment we have in this life, because the biggest thing I’ve learned is that life is so precious and our time on earth is very short. We have to make the most of our time here and have a positive impact. Life isn’t about ‘stuff”: jobs, careers, commutes, money. Those things aren’t what makes a person’s character. Love, kindness, loyalty, family, hard work, and strong friendships are what makes your life full. It’s been a year of reflection and reevaluation; a time to get rid of all toxicity, negativity, and anything that is not supportive—and that includes people. I’ve been knocked down many times in my life, some harder than others, but I always manage to pick myself up, dust myself off, and keep going. I’m stronger than I’ve ever been, loved, grateful, and very blessed.
What brings you joy lately?
To name a few…waking up every day next to the true love of my life; spending time with my family and friends; laughing hard; the unconditional love of my dog; redecorating and organizing our beautiful home; gardening; tennis and golf.
Favorite insta accounts?
All my family and friends accounts:
@theshowroommiami—my favorite place to shop
How did you start in your career?
My @maristcollege internship was with Just Cavalli RTW in sales and I was hooked on the wholesale side of the business since then. They gave me a pair of shoes from the sample closet as a parting gift and I was over the moon. I wore them for years and felt like I was the coolest thing on earth. After college I started as a junior account executive with Badgley Mischka Handbags working with small specialty accounts, then went to belts as an Account Executive, then cold weather and soft accessories where I started working with department stores and finally landed a job at Stuart Weitzman, where footwear became part of my heart and sole (no pun intended) of what I do.
I started as an account executive, who worked closely with the director of department store business and I learned all the ins and outs of running those businesses as well as visited every store location for Saks and Bloomingdales in the US twice a year. I eventually was promoted, and ran those accounts myself adding even more major accounts to my portfolio as I grew with the company. At one point I managed the largest US volume for the wholesale division. I even learned the art and engineering of shoemaking from Stuart himself. From there I followed my mentor and former SW President, Wayne Kulkin, to Schutz where we built and expanded a huge US footprint based on what I learned at Stuart Weitzman. We exploded that brand and got them on the map. And that is where I met Marina. When we all lost our jobs at the start of the pandemic, I took time off to recharge and began my own consulting business. Now, I am part of Larroudé working with all my fave Schutz alum creating a foundation for their wholesale division. I am loving building another brand from the ground up and watching our success grow. And you can’t beat working with kind, talented, and fun people!
What is your advice for young adults who want to start in the business?
Buckle UP and get thick skin. You need to start at the way bottom to get to the top and it’s not something that happens overnight. It’s a TON of hard work, jobs that aren’t fun, “grunt work,” long hours, cheap pay to start but you have to do the work if you want to succeed.
So, if you LOVE fashion and get excited every time that box of samples arrives to the showroom, DO NOT GIVE UP! Make sure you learn from every experience and every person in every department that you can at your company. Learn every aspect of the job not just in your area, but in logistics, production, operations, etc. Having 360 degrees of knowledge only makes you better…and smarter.
Do everything with kindness—you earn people’s respect that way. Treat everyone how you would want to be treated. Never forget where you started as you begin to rise and always put yourself in someone else’s shoes. No task is too small to be “not your job.” The greatest gift you can give and the most rewarding experience you can have is mentorship and having someone grow from what you taught them. And always, always remember you will be on top one day and the next it can all get taken away so never get too comfortable or cocky because everyone is replaceable.