After a decade in retail at larger companies, Jordan Garman decided to take a chance on TravisMathew and manage our third store. Seven years later, she’s a regional manager overseeing eight locations across several states—and helping her team members grow their own careers. Below, Jordan reflects on what drew her to TravisMathew, explains how the whole company pulls together to support store associates, and shares why this is such an exciting time to join the team.
I’m the regional manager for eight stores in Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and Northern California. I spend my days supporting our store managers, helping with everything from personnel development to visuals for their location. At the start of every week, we have an all-store call, then break off to have individual conversations, and then we regional managers have a call with everyone at TravisMathew HQ, to figure out what’s coming up for our teams and what they and we can do to support them.
Regional managers also travel to our stores in-person, though how much depends in part on your personal life—I’m a mom of two, and of course my family is my first priority. I make it my goal to see each of my stores at least once per quarter, and lately I’ve been able to get to them every other month.
Beyond taking care of the stores themselves, I’m working with my managers on their career development. We review the areas where they’ve been successful and where we have opportunities to grow, and I check in on how they’re feeling and what their goals are. Those goals may not necessarily include becoming a multi-unit manager; some people want that and others don’t. But whatever they’re interested in doing next, we’re taking the steps to get them there.
I joined in 2015 as the manager of the third store, so TravisMathew was just getting started at the time—it wasn’t necessarily the brand itself that attracted me. It was the people and the culture and the vision for what the brand could become. You can feel it when you walk into a store—there’s candy and snacks; we have pingpong, Pac-Man, Golden Tee; and we talk to people like they’re humans, rather than transactions. It feels like a family. Whether you’re looking for a whole new wardrobe or you’re not going to spend a dollar that day, we want you to come in and have fun.
I was also intrigued by the idea of helping define what the company itself would look like, being a part of it this early on. So I decided to take a leap of faith. I believed they were going to get me where I believed I could go, and I couldn’t pass that up.
I’ve been fortunate to have leaders who really believed in me, and when I put up my hand to be a multi-location manager, they gave me that chance. In fact, I was handed every new store up to number 19! That got to be too much, so we added more regional managers.
In those early days, a lot of my work was, “Hey, let’s try this.” Now that we have about three dozen stores, we’ve understandably created more policies and procedures. But even today, we still have autonomy, which I really appreciate. Our in-store events are a great example. HQ takes the lead on four of them every year, but for the rest—usually one per quarter—the store teams have ownership. They put together a plan, communicate it, and execute. Of course, not every event is going to be a success, but we adjust, evaluate, and move forward. It’s all about how we can improve.
As the company gets bigger, there are going to be growing pains—inventory is one of those right now. We’re doing volumes we haven’t seen before, and we’re still learning how to navigate that, along with the supply chain issues the whole world is experiencing right now. We talk on our team about being accountable, adaptable, competitive, honest, and humble; I think that was true then and it’s still true today.
This is where adaptability, which is one of our company values, comes in. For example, sometimes adaptability means being proactive and making an executive decision to move inventory from one store to another, because that’s going to be a quicker solution than waiting on the regular shipments.
Another challenge is that it’s an extremely competitive hiring market right now. I think we’re in a relatively good position there, because we understand that it’s not enough to pay well and offer perks. You have to show your employees you care about them as people and they’re more than a number.
I think our support team has also been wonderful about noticing gaps and creating resources to fill them. One of our regional managers just moved into a new recruiting role, which has been very successful, and we’re looking at hiring someone to focus entirely on employee engagement—thinking about what incentives we can offer to make sure our teams are staying excited and constantly feeling our support. We’ve also been working hard on getting a fantastic training and development program in place. We have a whole team working on that now, and it’s been really cool to be part of it and see how dedicated the company is to retaining great people.
Everything we do on training and development is evolving, too—the support team solicits feedback through surveys and calls with store managers, and we have quarterly reviews where we talk about the new initiatives we’ve rolled out and how they were received. Jordan Garman, Regional Manager
A lot of it is getting more structure in place to make sure people are set up for success and there are clear paths for growth. We just updated our launch plan—on day one, all team members have goals for their first month, and know the most important things they need to do and learn. They sit down with their leader at 30, 60, and 90 days to review those objectives, and after that, the leader can start setting stretch assignments. That could be working with a manager to put on an event, or getting your own DOR, which means division of responsibility. You can take the lead on visuals, client relations, employee development, or inventory, and then rotate to a new DOR after six months. It gets people involved and makes sure they stay challenged, and it also helps create a path to their next role.
Everything we do on training and development is evolving, too—the support team solicits feedback through surveys and calls with store managers, and we have quarterly reviews where we talk about the new initiatives we’ve rolled out and how they were received. Buy-in is really important, because if you want something to be successful, you need to make sure everyone understands the “why” behind it.
I think it’s just as exciting now as it was when I joined—we’re still only a few dozen locations! When our leaders visit a store, they know people by name. And your opinion really matters. Design feedback is a great example; if you have an idea or a customer request and you think there’s a need, you can submit it to the design team, and products can and have come from that. Our women’s line is one of those—we were very vocal about that being an opportunity, and now it’s here and it’s beautiful, and people are responding very well.
It’s also an exciting moment because we love to internally promote. The succession conversations are never-ending, and we’re constantly creating new roles—we don’t know yet all the positions we’re going to need as we grow. We didn’t have an inventory manager before this year, and now our inventory manager has an assistant. We also recently created an area manager role, where you oversee 3 to 5 stores, which is great training for being a regional manager, where you have 8 to 10.
It’s not about throwing people in and leaving it to them to figure out. We want to help people become experts in their current position, so they can take the next step with complete confidence. You might have a long-term goal that will take some time to achieve, but let’s keep finding those interim goals that will get you closer and keep you moving forward.
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