By Kevin Manne
When Matey Erdos, BS ’89, left her marketing job at J. Crew for a gig at Sundance Holdings LLC, a small direct-to-consumer startup in Salt Lake City, she told her parents she would be back in New York City in two years.
That was 25 years ago.
Instead, she stayed at Sundance and climbed the corporate ladder from marketing manager to director, vice president, chief operating officer and now to her current role, leading the company as president and CEO.
“Our industry is fascinating, ever changing and highly competitive,” says Erdos. “Managing a dynamic organization, where every department has a hand in driving customer loyalty, is very gratifying.”
Visionary actor and director Robert Redford founded Sundance Catalog in 1989 to promote the works of artists and craftspeople from across the country and around the world. From a small operation run out of the attic of the old Sundance Village firehouse in Sundance, Utah, the company has grown to become one of the nation’s top multichannel lifestyle retailers.
Under Erdos’s leadership, Sundance has achieved double-digit growth year after year, and now has more than 500 employees, 14 stores and a base of loyal customers across the country.
Erdos has always had a vision for her career, and has stayed true to that path. It began when she served as a student assistant in the Office of the President during her time at UB, and flourished when she landed an internship at J. Crew in her junior year.
After graduating, she carried that internship into a full-time marketing role at the firm. She fell in love with marketing and the catalog business, and decided to pursue a career in the direct-to-consumer industry. She stayed with J. Crew for four years before making the move to Sundance.
“This was before the internet and email—the industry was led by print catalogs,” she says. “I gained an incredible foundation in marketing, merchandising and finance.”
Her time at UB and the School of Management set her up for success, and she still refers to case studies she worked on in classes and with her peers.
“It was a spectacular experience, and I learned firsthand about impeccable professionalism and communication style, even how to manage spreadsheets,” says Erdos.
Throughout her career, Erdos has learned that hands-on experience is invaluable, and says she’s found success by surrounding herself with good mentors and keeping a balance of the qualitative and quantitative.
“While our brand is incredibly creative, we are also grounded by strict analytics and research,” she says. “I enjoy living in both spaces—being guided by the numbers but also leading the customer with my gut instincts.”
Erdos admits that while her career makes leisure time scarce, she does make it a priority to enjoy the mountains in Park City, Utah, with her husband, Morgan, and Labrador retriever, Jupiter.
“I love to hike, mountain bike and Telemark ski in the most beautiful mountains of Utah,” she says. “I also have taken a creative interest in painting and enjoy visiting family back on Long Island and the Adirondacks.”