For our weekly “In It for the Money” feature, we’ll be introducing you to the kick-ass Knock Knockers who make everything go, from creative to sales to logistics to . . . everything! Note—everybody answers the first five questions. After that, they have about fifteen wild-card questions from which to choose.
1. Name and title? Randy Erlandson, national sales manager (managing Knock Knock sales in two nations).
2. Originally from? The Midwest—the Dakotas and Minnesota.
3. What the hell do you do all day? As a member of Knock Knock’s kick-ass sales and customer service departments, I do anything and everything to ensure my “customers” (Knock Knock’s wholesale accounts, buyers, and sales representatives in the US and Canada) have exemplary experiences. My responsibilities are diverse—and I like that (as I have a relatively short attention span). I work with retailers large and small, from recognized national and regional powerhouses to cool, funky independent gift stores and online boutiques. I serve as “information central” to Knock Knock’s incredible team of professional sales representatives (more than 100 of them!). I coordinate the minutia of the twenty-plus tradeshows we do each year. And I get to travel. A lot. In 2011, I racked up more than 80,000 air miles supporting Knock Knock’s sales efforts. No, I will not share those frequent-flier miles with you. Don’t ask.
4. Favorite thing about working at Knock Knock? The “aha” moments. I have the best job at Knock Knock. I regularly get to witness that instant, that spark, when a buyer/rep/consumer “gets” a new product. It always thrills me to help someone discover a new favorite.
5. Favorite hobbies outside work? “Outside work?” I am not familiar with this concept. Is Los Angeles traffic considered a hobby?
6. Did your professional life exist before Knock Knock? Yep. I’ve sold consumer goods for, well, um, a few years now, from small private ventures to giant international corporations. I’m fortunate; my career has taken me to China, Taiwan, Indonesia, Arkansas, and other exotic destinations. But selling Knock Knock is like nothing else I’ve experienced. Once the buyer starts laughing (at the products, hopefully), the sale almost closes itself. Well, almost.
7. Favorite Knock Knock product? Sales manager answer: the ones our accounts reorder most frequently. Personal answer: I have two favorites. Years ago, we had a wall mirror with “OBJECTS IN MIRROR ARE BETTER THAN THEY APPEAR” printed under your reflection; I’ve always liked that affirmation. My current favorite is (surprise, surprise) our number-one bestseller, the All Out Of Pad. I use mine (classic red, of course) for almost every trip to the grocery store. Without fail, someone always asks, “Where’d you get that?”
8. Favorite TV show? I don’t watch a lot of television, but I allow myself some History Channel, MythBusters, Modern Marvels, or Man v. Food while traveling. And I really like The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.
9. Interesting factoid no one would know about you from first glance? Like some of the coworkers who’ve blogged this space previously, I always have a tune (or two) rambling around in my head. Can’t help it; I was born this way. Dammit! There’s another one . . .
10. What’s in your music rotation right now? Bowling For Soup, Cheap Trick, Dollyrots, Brave Combo, Boozoo Chavis, Chris Rice, James Brown, JP Soars, Monte Montgomery, Little Feat, Asleep At the Wheel, George Harrison, Larry Carlton. And thanks to a recent automobile commercial, I am joyously rediscovering The Pogues.
11. If you were granted one wish, what would it be? For three more wishes, duh.
12. Favorite places to sit back and relax? Poipu (Kauai) Hawaii, Key West, and Austin, Texas.
13. What advice would you give your past self? Lose the mullet. Seriously.