EMPLOYEE SPOTLIGHT: Elizabeth Pendleton
Meet , Quoddy Customer Service Manager
What is your role at Quoddy?
I mostly help customers design and purchase products, offer them advice and ideas, make suggestions based on what their needs are, and update them with changing materials and soling options. And I try to really listen and manage any concerns they may have along the way, so they have a pleasant experience working with Quoddy. We really care about what customers are saying to us, and we take the time to collaborate with people and resolve their issues.
What would people never guess you do in your role?
I spend a great deal of time continually educating myself so I can make solid recommendations and offer meaningful solutions. I learn everything I can about the process, construction, material, customization, sizing, so I can assist our customers. After 12 years, I know almost everything about Quoddy shoes, even though I don’t make them myself! Also, in working for a small manufacturing company, many of our roles overlap as we work together and cover for one another. So, I’m involved in sales, inventory, fulfillment… any and all areas which serve our customer’s needs.
How did you get started with Quoddy?
After being a stay-at-home mom to four girls, I ventured out into the workforce after a divorce. I went to our local college to study early childhood education, which I thought I would like. But then I heard about a job opening at Quoddy. I knew a couple of people who worked there, and I knew the Shoreys from our close-knit community and their family’s gift shop in Perry... I had bought moccasins at the Wigwam when I was in high school. While I knew nothing about shoes, I thought it was cool and I was super eager to learn. It was an interesting opportunity and experience, a career I could enjoy without having to move away.
What do you like most about your job?
The best part about my job is the daily interaction with interesting people. I talk with so many different types of people from all kinds of places, and our customers are amazing. I’m so grateful for their positive attitudes. The pandemic really showed how patient and understanding they are, and how they cared about and understood our challenges. I’m always impressed that people are willing to wait for a product, as long as they know it’s being made just for them. To many people “Made in Maine” and “Made in USA” are very important. I also love it when customers tell me how happy they are that a “real person” answered the phone or that we recognized their name. Loyalty is so important in our business.
What would you do (for a career) if you weren’t doing this?
I would most likely have a career working in the school system, which I would have also enjoyed.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I like taking photographs and documenting the happenings of our large family. I got snowshoes and poles last year, and I enjoy hiking the great trails in Washington County in all seasons, like Shackford Head and the Moosehorn Preserve. We also walk down to the water often, where I go “beaching” and hunting for crabs with my grandson.
What do you like most about living in Maine?
Although I love the water, it’s just one of the many blessings of living in this state. I would say it is more about the spirit of Maine. It’s a place where you see the hardworking perseverance of old and young alike, not working towards an extravagant lifestyle, but one of independence and self-reliance. Where integrity, grit, individuality, compassion (and even a little quirkiness) are intertwined in the character of its people. Where neighbors become family, looking out for each other, and the comfort of knowing you have a community of people you can lean on.
What are your hopes for your industry?
People should know that quality and integrity and care behind handmade shoemaking is the magic of Quoddy. Old-school business ethics, the philosophy of developing good products and standing behind them, is alive and well in Maine. When I hear about someone handing down a pair of Classic Ring Boots to someone, it’s clear that the value of our footwear is more than just the product, it has a greater meaning. Traditions like this are important to preserve for future generations.
Anything else you would like to share with Quoddy Fans?
In the face of a throwaway society, owning something that means something more, or speaks to us in some way, is very special. When you buy our products, you know they are designed to be loved and repaired in the future.