In the latest episode of CEO's You Should Know, Steve Van Doren, the CEO (or Chief Entertainment Officer) for Vans, joins KFI's Jane Wells to talk about the unique shoe company that grew from surfers and skaters all over the world know and love.
First started by his father and uncle in 1966, Vans grew from a small family operation into a $3 billion juggernaut and pop culture icon - success that Steve credits to the company's "free spirit."
Now in charge of building Van's brand, Steve travels all over the world to oversee the company's many events, including the famed Vans Warped Tour. But that's just the latest title he's held at a company he's worked at since he was 10-years-old.
"I would pass flyers out at the Swap Meet, because we had no stores except for the factory," Steve told Jane Wells. "Then, we'd get a store, and my dad would get a manager, and a second store and third store, and a fourth store. On the fifth store he didn't have a manager to put in there on Saturday and Sunday so he put me in."
"That time, I was eleven."
When asked why skaters became so associated with Vans, Steve says the group actually adopted them in the mid-70s because they loved the shoe's durable construction.
"[Skaters] gave our company purpose. They gave our company reason to be. Surfers went from the surf in the afternoon to skateboarding and they wore our shoes because it wore better, it gripped better, and the waffle sole is something that grips the sole better," he says. "That's how we kind of started off meeting the skaters."
You can watch the rest of Jane's interview with Steve Van Doren here: