A R E S U B S C R I P T I O N B OX S E R V I C E S A T H I N G ?
SLIDE RULES Anything Goes: Bling y De tails, Funky Materials, With or Without Socks
HOT TO TROT IN IBIZA
T I TA N â€™ S J O E O U A K N I N E : T H E E T E R N A L O P T I M I ST
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EXPERIENCE THE BÃ˜RN FOOTWEAR
SPRING 2018 COLLECTION
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S E P T E M B E R 2 0 17 Caroline Diaco Publisher Greg Dutter Editorial Director Nancy Campbell Trevett McCandliss Creative Directors
On the cover: Jewelencrusted slide by Patrizia by Spring Step, hat by Brown Hat, Mara Hoffman dress, Asos socks, necklace by Rosena Sammi. Leather slides by Jerusalem Sandals, jacket by Asos, Teddy Ondo Ella button down shirt, top by Scarci, Asos shorts, socks by Happy Socks.
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F EAT UR E S
DEPA RTM EN TS
10 Thinking Inside the Box Subscription box services have become all the rage, but are they a viable option for the footwear industry? By Aleda Johnson
4 Editor’s Note 6 This Just In 8 Scene & Heard
20 Putting the O in Optimism Joe Ouaknine, CEO, Titan Industries offers his take on retail turmoil, endless competition and why the company is still on pace for a record year. By Greg Dutter
18 Note To My Younger Self
26 The Eclectic Slide Designers do the classic silhouette in funky materials, jazzy details and pops of color. By Aleda Johnson and Jashvina Shah
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20 What’s Selling
Xen Zapis Chairman
22 Trend Spotting
Lee Zapis President
36 Shoe Salon
40 Last Word
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E D I TOR ’S NOT E
Who’s Next WHO’S THE NEXT up-and-comer destined to set the shoe world ablaze? The next Crocs, Uggs, Toms, Hunter, Merrell (Jungle Moc), Vibram FiveFingers, Hoka One One, Samuel Hubbard, etc. that’ll burst on the scene like a supernova? If recent history is any indication, the next star won’t be aesthetically pleasing. It’ll be downright ugly. It will also be utilitarian in its design. In fact, if there’s a recipe, those are the first two ingredients I’d use in creating the next big shoe craze. The genre has been dubbed “utilitarian chic” by footwear fashion experts. And the design similarities in recent shoe stars is clear: Consumers love shoes that are versatile, user-friendly, gender neutral, comfortable, relatively affordable and just weird (i.e. ugly) enough to become talking points. Toss in the odd brand name to draw attention and the product falls in step with a macro anti-fashion movement, where aesthetics take a back seat to utilitarian features and, in the case of Toms and Crocs, minimalism. Anti-fashion mirrors the Silicon Valley hardware and software design aesthetic, which is largely minimal, efficient, technology first-driven and versatile. The beauty is in the technology. Weird names are almost de rigueur. Not surprisingly, these elements cross into the tech sector’s fashion preferences. Mark Zuckerberg’s daily uniform (hoodie, gray T-shirt, jeans and sneakers) and Steve Jobs’ black turtleneck, jeans and either New Balance or Birkenstocks ensembles are both very Albert Einstein-esque in showing the world that you’ve got no time to spend on trivial matters like deciding what to wear each morning. Ironically, the titans of technology—many of whom are the richest and most influential people in the world—have a profound influence on fashion. Zuckerberg is arguably the poster boy of anti-fashion and the man who cemented the “no suits at work” trend for millions of Millennials. Given all this, could Allbirds be the next big shoe star? The New Zealand-made knit wool loafers are utilitarian in design. They are also ugly (in a good way). And the name—what explorers to New Zealand commonly said upon arrival—is weird in a catchy way. According to a recent fawning New York Times feature, the shoe, which is made from wool and castor bean oil, has become the style statement of Silicon Valley execs. Google co-founder Larry Page, former Twitter chief Dick Costolo and venture capitalists Ben Horowitz and Mary Meeker are all
members of the Allbirds nest. Execs claim to like the sockless wearability of the shoes as well as the no laces aspect. (Tech titans have no time for such mundane matters.) Another possible sign: Allbirds was co-founded by Tim Brown, a soccer star and clean-technology entrepreneur who happens to be young (36) and good-looking. (Think Blake Mycoskie, the former reality TV star and founder of Toms.) The brand also has a sustainability premise: Wool leaves a much smaller environmental footprint than most traditional shoe materials. Millennials, in particular, love to “feel good” about their purchases, similar to how they embraced Toms’ One for One campaign that donated a pair to a person in need for every pair purchased. The Allbirds story plays well, especially in Silicon Valley. The company is a startup, venture-funded (two Warby Parker founders are reportedly investors) and headquartered in San Francisco. The Times article reports that Allbirds raised close to $10 million over the past year to spread its wings. Part of that effort involves opening a Manhattan flagship this month. Indeed, the stars may be aligning for Allbirds’ turn in the spotlight. Only time will tell if the brand truly takes flight. Anyone who has been in this industry long knows that for every peregrine falcon that zooms across the $100-million sale barrier and, in rare instances, breaks the $1-billion threshold, there’s a flock of dodos that once had the means to fly but loses it over time and eventually becomes extinct. A lot has to go right, season after season, to become a shoe star, and fashion is a cruel and fickle beast. (Just ask Crocs and FiveFingers.) There are no guarantees. A brand can crash and burn just as quickly as it took flight. One thing is for sure. There’s no shortage of brands vying to become the next big shoe star. In fact, Joe Ouaknine, CEO of Titan Industries and subject of this month’s Q&A (p. 12), says there seem to be more vendors than ever, despite fewer retailers and one of the stingiest climates he’s seen in his decades-long career. Ouaknine, however, is an eternal optimist. Current challenges notwithstanding, he sees enormous potential in our industry. And if history is any indication, the world won’t go barefoot any time soon, nor are seven billion people likely to settle on one shoe style purchased at one specific (online) retailer. A world of opportunity awaits established stars and stars in the making, and that’s what makes our industry truly great.
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THIS JUST IN
Breezy in Ibiza Statement sandals and bold kicks are the go-to, off-the-beach styles on this Mediterranean island paradise. Photography by Chiara Marina Grioni 6 footwearplusmagazine.com â€˘ september 2017
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SCENE & HEARD
Standing small: Reyers Vice President Steven Jubelirer and his fiancée pose in front of Reyers’ new mural.
Reyers Gets a (Super-Sized) Mural
LITTLE ASSOCIATED WITH Reyers, known as “the world’s largest shoe store” at 125,000 square feet in Sharon, PA, is ever small. Take its newly minted 180-foot-wide, 30-foot-tall mural located on its north-facing outer wall as the latest example. The massive mural, created by renowned street artist Joel Bergner and local at-risk youth, was recently completed thanks to Park Inn by Radisson’s “Adding Color to Lives” initiative. The program is a global social action art project (first launched in 2015) by the hotel chain to bring together young people in difficult life situations and allow them to express themselves through art and make a positive impact on the community. “Our local Park Inn by Radisson was chosen by its corporate parent
out of all the hotels in its global chain to be the recipient of this year’s philanthropic honor,” says Mark Jubelirer, president of Reyers, noting the store was picked out of a possible five sites in town. He is thrilled Reyers was the chosen site. “It enhances the store’s exterior as opposed to bland bricks,” he says. “It’s oft-commented upon, it’s visually appealing, it’s unique in North America and it was kicked off with a press conference covered by the local press.” As for the mural’s theme, Jubelirer says it centers on a young woman peering into what is an exciting future. “The future presents itself positively to younger generations so that they remain optimistic and hopeful,” he says.
Clarks and Ubiq Debut ‘Original’ Pop-up Shop
The Clarks Originals pop-up shop inside Philadelphia’s Ubiq is showcasing the new Trigenic Evo collection.
SEEKING DESIGN INSPIRATION, Clarks recently looked inward—all the way to 1883, to be exact—when it unearthed its Hygienic concept that adapts the shape of shoes to mirror the foot. Featuring an asymmetrical last and a three-part decoupled outsole to aid natural movement, the concept was successfully resurrected a few seasons ago as Trigenic Flex. The latest installment, the Trigenic Evo, now sports elastic fastenings that mirror the foot tendons for extra support, a triple density footbed for maximum comfort and that same decoupled Vibram outsole, now sporting beveled edges for a smoother ride. “The design takes the same principles and reimagines them for a more modern silhouette,” says Tara McRae, senior vice president, marketing and ecommerce, Clarks Americas. “A genuine moccasin construction is reminiscent of the DNA at the heart of our brand,” she adds. To introduce Trigenic Evo, Clarks unveiled a Clarks Originals pop-up shop inside Ubiq in Philadelphia last month that will stay open through October. “Ubiq is the preeminent lifestyle retailer in Philadelphia, and a true destination,” McRae says. “The team has been a great Clarks Originals
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partner, and the store allows plenty of space for us to tell the breadth of the brand story.” What’s more, McRae believes the Philadelphia market is full of “original thinkers and creatives,” and Clarks Originals seeks to service and celebrate that community through several in-store activations. They include monthly “The World Needs Originals” panel series featuring photographers (August), musicians (September) and artists (October), who will speak to the importance of originality. Guests will also have exclusive access to the first drop in a 12-series collaboration with Ubiq and the lifestyles accessories brand, Pintrill. The collab consists of key Clarks Originals styles incorporating themes/icons of Philadelphia and will drop on a weekly basis over the course of the three months. “The future of retail is all about experience,” McRae says. “The pop-up shop allows us to do some amazing storytelling and showcase some of the best product from our brand while integrating consumer experiences through events, activations and creative projects. We are thrilled with the result to date and will be looking to evolve and expand the concept.”
Hoops Dreamer Relaunches First-Ever Basketball Shoe GARY PIFER, OWNER of Colchester, U.S. Rubber and Black Panther sneaker brands, has been working on three basketball-related dreams since he first stumbled on a pair of very old kicks during an estate sale in December of 2004. These were not just any old sneakers, as the vintage clothing reseller’s extensive market research discovered the Colchester Rubber Co. hi-tops were made in the late 1800s, making them the first-ever basketball sneakers and predating Converse Chuck Taylor All Star’s claim to that distinction by more than 25 years. “At first I thought it was a generic brand, which was common back then for rubber companies to make private label brands for retailers,” Pifer says, adding he paid 50 cents for the sneakers and guessed they might fetch $150 on eBay. In fact, Pifer was much more excited by the 1950s-era motorcycle boots he had come across in that same narrow closet stuffed to the rafters with clothing, papers and family heirlooms. (Pifer later resold those boots for $450.) Following a little Internet sleuthing, however, Pifer’s heart raced when he determined the date of origin of his Colchester sneakers. “I panicked, because everyone assumed that Converse invented the basketball sneaker in 1917,” he says. “But here were these shoes made by a company that closed in 1883.” Pifer knew he was onto something potentially big. “I’ve been a vintage clothing dealer for 30 years, so I know the difference between a 50 cents pair of jeans and a $50,000 pair,” he says. Pifer immediately re-estimated the value of the sneakers at about $50,000 and first contemplated auctioning them on Sotheby’s. But that’s when his hoops dreams kicked in. Rather than a one-off sale, Pifer bought the trademarks to Colchester and U.S. Rubber brands and decided to relaunch them. His first dream: to get the Colchester brand onto an NBA court via a collaboration,
From top: Remakes of Colchester hi-tops, circa the late 1800s, and 1930s-era Black Panther kicks.
possibly with one of the big three (Nike, Adidas or Under Armour). Pifer initially produced several thousand pairs of the style that first went on sale online in 2006. Business did well at the onset but then, Pifer says, recession headwinds kicked in and he was still
recovering from injuries suffered during training while in the U.S. Army. Rather than sit idly, Pifer took merchandising and footwear design classes at a local college because he “understood the vintage world but not the manufacturing and footwear worlds.” He also continued to make a few thousand pairs for sale on Amazon and entered into a licensing agreement with Blue Moon to sell the brand in Japan. “My goal still is to get Colchester on an NBA floor, somehow,” Pifer says, adding, “Business is good. We are launching a Kickstarter campaign to help with production, and we ’re in talks about licensing deals for U.S. and European markets.” Pifer isn’t stopping there, however. His second basketball-related dream is to get Harry Lew, the first African-American professional basketball player, inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame. Part of that effort involves marketing U.S. Rubber’s “Original Baller” sneaker as a Harry Lew signature shoe. “I want to honor Harry Lew by making a signature shoe to compete with the Converse Chuck Taylor All Star,” Pifer says. His third dream is to reintroduce the Black Panther brand, which he says was considered the Air Jordan of its time during the 1930s. Part of that effort, Pifer hopes, is a licensing deal that ties into to next year’s Black Panther film release by Disney and Marvel Comics. “I own the international trademark for the brand,” he says. “The superhero in the film is called Black Panther, and I think it’s a great opportunity.” In the meantime, Pifer continues to work on new designs for his three brands under the parent company, Historix Branding Group. A partner company, Kickstown, manages the selling, promotion and Kickstarter campaigns. It’s all a labor of love and a dream come true for the vintage clothing expert. “We’re remaking three historic brands as accurately as we can,” Pifer says. “They’ll be world firsts in the marketplace.”
Kicks 4 Guns Aims to Reduce Violence ORLANDO, FL, HAS discovered that a little quid pro quo has been an ideal solution to helping solve gun violence. Kicks 4 Guns got its start in 1998, offering sneakers to anyone turning in any unwanted firearms—no questions asked and no ID required. While the concept has since evolved to offering a $50 gift certificate, the original sneaker tie-in remains because the response by local citizens continues to be strong.
Last month’s event collected 46 guns (20 handguns, 10 rifles, 10 shotguns and six pellet guns), one of which was stolen. “We know that every gun that we collect—and we’ve collected thousands of guns in the 19 years we have been doing it—is one more gun that will never land in the hands of a criminal,” says Michelle Guido, public information officer for the city’s police department.
2017 september • footwearplusmagazine.com 9
S P E C I A L R E P O RT
THINKING INSIDE THE BOX Are subscription box services an untapped opportunity? BY A L E DA J O H N S O N
ETAIL IS UNDERGOING a massive disruption and revolutionary change, which just might be the understatement of the year. Many old rules no longer apply, while new concepts are being rolled out—all in an effort to service and entice consumers to shop somewhere other than on Amazon, basically. The fact is, with the mega-retailer’s ability to offer almost anything and everything at any time and (likely) at the lowest price with quickest delivery, if the competition doesn’t come up with alternative ways to shop (think curation, experiential and human contact), what’s left to fight over, really? That’s why pop-up shops have become all the rage of late. They are fresh, timely and pop up in unexpected places. There’s also the added incentive for shoppers to pop in, because it’s unique, entertaining and, likely, offers a limited edition or exclusive selection of merchandise. Of course, this concept is effective for those who actually still get off their sofas to shop. What about the growing horde of hermit shoppers—what’s the best way to entice them to shop differently? Enter subscription box services. The recurring delivery of niche-oriented products allows traditional retailers (as well as manufacturers) to take some of the hassle out of shopping. It’s also an effective way to curate and introduce new items and brands to consumers. Then there’s the “Christmas Effect” that can’t be overlooked. Entire YouTube channels (like Unbox Therapy) are devoted to people opening their boxes, with some videos having more than a million views. Subscription box services are a way to give yourself a present each month, something Millennials—the tier’s largest demographic—love. It’s why Kamaj Silva, founder of the subscription box Sneakertub, themes each package as a way to enhance the overall experience of each shipment. “The mystery aspect of the subscription model is the heart and soul of the experience,” Silva says. And it’s clearly working. Thousands of Sneakertub subscribers get a mix of sneakers, apparel and accessories from 20 brands. The feedback Silva often receives: customers experimenting with “styles they would never have picked up online or at a store.” Such services, in fact, have caught on like wildfire, running the gamut of niche categories like beauty gurus (think Birchbox) and pet lovers to fitness buffs and beer lovers to busy moms. A current guesstimate: there are now an 10 footwearplusmagazine.com • september 2017
estimated 2,000 subscription box services for consumers to choose from—one of which is Amazon’s Prime Wardrobe that’s currently in beta testing. The service, available to Prime members at no charge, allows customers to try on clothes and shoes before they buy them and return any items they don’t like—for free. If the world’s biggest retailer is testing the subscription box service concept (Macy’s and Walmart are reportedly working on versions, too), it’s pretty safe to say the concept has arrived. “Amazon entrance into the channel absolutely establishes the fact that subscription businesses are here to stay,” says Karen Li, from the marketing team of Cratejoy, a platform that allows entrepreneurs to create subscription box businesses from scratch. According to a 2016 study from Hitwise, visits to subscription box service sites in the U.S. have increased by nearly 3,000 percent in the last three years, with more than half the visits coming from mobile devices. Bob Phibbs, the New York-based Retail Doctor, says subscription box services is the biggest trend of 2017, noting that the days when it was an occasion to browse the racks at the mall all afternoon with friends are long gone. Of course, the concept itself is nothing new. Subscription box services have long been in existence. (Remember when Clark Griswold was gifted a Jelly-ofthe-Month club membership for Christmas by his stingy boss in Vacation?) But the concept has come a long way from cheesy novelty items, with Birchbox largely to thank for bringing it into 21st century coolness. Since its debut in 2010, the company rocketed from 20 brand partners and 1,200 subscribers to more than 800 partners and 1 million-plus subscribers. Co-founder Katia Beauchamp says offering four to five personalized beauty samples each month for a $10 fee gives subscribers a taste of a new brand or product, which often leads them to buy more of what they like through its website, brand websites and stores. Call it a win-win-win. Subscription box services feed on time-starved consumers who don’t want to or can’t “shop” in the traditional sense. Taking over the discovery process allows customers to try new products without hunting through a store or endless options online. It’s easier to “discover” new or hard-to-find items when a personal shopper takes your preferences into account while filling each box, says Li. She cites, for example, a person interested in Korean beauty items. “For somebody who either doesn’t know where to start or is looking to >37
BY GREG DUTTER
Joe Ouaknine, CEO of Titan Industries, offers his take on the retail turmoil, the perceived Amazon threat, endless competition a n d w h y, d e s p i t e i t a l l , the company is on pace f o r a r e c o r d y e a r.
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OE OUAKNINE IS a smooth operator. He exudes a sense of confidence and genuine modesty that, in the recent whirlwind of industry turmoil that has many execs at their wits’ end, comes across like a soothing breeze. Speak with the man long enough, and you just might find yourself humming Bob Marley’s classic refrain, “Don’t worry…every little thing gonna be all right.…” The veteran exec of Titan Industries has seen his share of industry highs and lows over the decades and has always managed to find his footing. And despite being a women’s fashion house in the current athleisure boom and great retail shakeout, Titan has been really flexing its muscles of late. In fact, the now streamlined portfolio consisting of Badgley Mischka, Jewel Badgley Mischka, Splendid and newest license Rachel Roy (to debut in Spring ’18) is entering new sales territory. “We are running 40 percent over last year,” Ouaknine says. “If this keeps up, we’ll have a record year.” Ouaknine isn’t just blowing smoke. He’s always been honest when
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O&A Titan’s business was good and when it was not so good. “People around me know when my business is not at its best, because I tell them,” he says. “Right now, however, Badgley Mischka is doing wonderfully and Splendid continues to surprise us all.” Is Ouaknine at all surprised that the recent success comes at a time when many in the industry are struggling? “Not at all,” he says. But don’t take that response to be cocky. It’s just the way it’s always been for him. “All my life in this business, I have done well when things were not good overall,” he says, adding, “When things are good, everybody does well.” It’s just that now, Ouaknine notes, Titan’s business is performing better than well. “We’ve finally found a niche, the business has matured and it’s come to rest at a good place,” he says. Leading the charge is Badgley Mischka, a company Ouaknine acquired about two years ago following a long-running licensing agreement. He knew the label always had enormous potential, which is why he What are you reading? I feels fortunate to have been able to make am not in the reading mood the acquisition—before it was too late. right now. “When it first went up for sale two years ago, we were doing so well that I was afraid What is inspiring you? I am somebody would buy it and then kick me inspired by all my peers who to the curb,” he says. “That’s why I found a are doing well. To be exact, by way to buy it (in March 2016 from Iconix people from Morocco who I Brand Group), and I’m so glad that we respect and admire. Aldo is a did. Mark Badgley and James Mischka perfect example. are the face of the brand and they are magnificent people.” In a word or phrase, the Exactly what have the Badgley Mischka shoe industry is? In turmoil. shoe collections hit upon? Ouaknine says it’s a combination of the right price point What is the best business (in the $250 range) and terrific quality. decision you’ve made of late? “The product is just outstanding, and we Acquiring Badgley Mischka. I now have something that nobody can take thought the opportunity was away from us,” he says. out of reach at first. It’s ended But it wasn’t always this way, and that’s up being a Cinderella story. why Oauknine likens Badgley Mischka’s rise under Titan to a Cinderella story— one that began 11 years ago. “The first three years after we acquired the license, business was awful because we came out with a very expensive, European-made product and sold it exclusively to Neiman’s and Saks, but it just didn’t happen,” he says. A shift to lower prices was made and distribution expanded to include Nordstrom and other major department stores, but the quality and styling still took a few seasons to perfect. “It takes a long time to get that all right,” Ouaknine says. “For the past five or six years, we’ve been doing so well, and this year will be our best year.” Badgley Mischka is doing so well, in fact, that Ouaknine is bucking current industry norms and is in the final stages of preparing to open four brick-andmortar flagships—in malls, no less. Ouaknine is undeterred by the so-called Retail Apocalypse for several reasons. “I feel that Badgley Mischka shoes are doing so well that they need more exposure,” he says, noting the label has great exposure online as well as in Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, etc., but it’s still not enough. “We need more exposure. It will give the consumer the opportunity to shop the whole collection of shoes and accessories—to touch and try on our product.” And, Ouaknine adds, what better place for consumers to do that than in the four revitalized malls he is tar-
geting. “These malls are being transformed into half stores and half food and entertainment,” he says. “All those people coming to eat and who know of our brand from online will now be able to touch and feel the merchandise. At least, that’s my view on the potential of these stores.” Ouaknine’s view, in general, is an optimistic one, and that’s despite the pessimism coursing through the industry’s veins lately. It’s just how a smooth operator operates. “I believe you create your own optimism and pessimism,” he says. “I’m a believer in potential.” Try this analogy of his on for size: “If you went to Africa and saw that nobody had shoes on, would you say, ‘Oh my God, there’s no business because nobody wears shoes?!’ Or would you say, ‘Oh my God, what an opportunity! You can sell a ton of shoes here!’” It’s just one reason Ouaknine believes there’s an opportunity for Badgley Mischka stores. “There are not enough fashion stores in many malls now, and maybe it’s time to give consumers an opportunity to spend What talent would you most some of their money,” he says. like to have? I would love to Opportunity knocks, particularly for be a magician while keeping optimists like Ouaknine. That’s why the my present job. That would be recent industry turmoil is not pushing amazing. I’m an entertainer. him toward retirement any time soon. If I could add that to my bag Ouaknine believes one must find a way to of tricks...wow! adapt and survive—the same way many in the industry have done following the Who is your most coveted Financial Crisis that hit a decade ago. “A dinner guest? Larry David. I lot of people in our industry were limpneed to reach out. One round ing after that, but you get used to it,” he of golf, one dinner, followed by says, adding, “Eventually you don’t feel a cigar. I would give anything the limp, which is now more of a limp, to the charity of his choice if but you get used to that, too.” he accepted. The guy cracks Besides, Ouaknine believes it can’t be me up. too painful, otherwise vendors would be checking out and others wouldn’t keep What is your motto? Be honjumping into the fray. The potential for est, be courteous and keep success is still there, he believes. “People helping the needy. are hanging around,” he says, noting that there are more vendors than ever before. As for the rampant industry pessimism, Ouaknine chalks much of that up to venting. “I don’t believe people really want to get out of this business,” he says. “I mean, if it is so bad then people would get out—you’re supposed to get out if you are complaining so much.” Ouaknine isn’t a complainer. “Things are good,” he says, “and when things are not so good, you just have to be optimistic that things will get better.”
OFF THE CUFF
14 footwearplusmagazine.com • september 2017
Why, exactly, has Splendid been such a surprise? It’s been a surprise to me because when we inherit a license from another company there are usually some problems with those transitions with existing retail customers. But Splendid’s transition went very well, and the brand has been performing tremendously. It’s not exactly the same type of brand, but it reminds me of our old Joe’s Jeans brand, which was California casual. So, for our design and production teams Splendid is a no-brainer. We have been working so well with the Splendid team. The product is outstanding. What will Rachel Roy bring to the table for retailers? Rachel Roy gives us something new: contemporary shoes offered in a large range of sizes and with comfort features. That’s totally new for us. The most
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VIP DINNER & GALA CO-CHAIRS DR. BOBBY CAMPBELL Founder & Chairman, BBC International
Sr. Vice President Business Development, BBC International
How might this celebrity partnership differ from previous ones Titan has done? Any lessons learned from those? Sure. First, we are a smaller and tighter group. We filled a hole in our portfolio, and Rachel is located near us. We’re able to hold many more design meetings. It’s a stronger union. You’ve had your share of licenses as well as owned brands over the years. Are you leaning one way or the other now? I want to own Badgley Mischka forever. But I don’t think I want to own anything else, unless there’s an opportunity that I just can’t pass up. And we are just licensing a few brands—not as many as I used to—and I’m good with that. The portfolio remains decidedly women’s dress fashion and nonsneaker. Are you tempted at all to enter the athleisure market? We do sneakers here and there, and they work well. That said, we’ve always been a dress fashion house. There are times where it’s an advantage and times where it’s not. But to have an all-out sneaker brand now is a little too late. If you recall, we started a luxury sneaker brand, UES, with Seth Campbell a few years back. The styling was amazing, and it was a true luxury sneaker brand. But we came out too early. A year later, brands like Golden Goose and Buscemi were born and have continued what we started. I am not saying they copied us, rather they continued the concept of luxury sneakers and have done very well. Seth Campbell and his designs, unfortunately, were a year or so early. But the shoes were revolutionary and looked so good. Might women tire of sneakers as the go-to style? What must happen to make women want to get out of their yoga pants, basically? The fashion sneaker is here for good. It’s just too convenient. As a result, dress houses like us lose a portion of the overall shoe business, but then how do you explain our success? We must excel at what we do and maintain or garner a larger piece of the pie because another fashion house may not be excelling. Speaking of garnering larger shares of a pie, what’s your take on Amazon? It’s hard for me to criticize Amazon. They are one of our biggest customers, and we have a solid business with them. They are great people to work with. They buy our shoes at full price. I don’t see them as a threat. I see them as a plus. But like most retailers, they want to create their own private label. They are acting like any other department store. What might that mean to the relationship going forward? Nothing, really. People are going to buy my brands, if they want to. If Amazon can duplicate my brands with one of their brands, then maybe they will get rid of me. But I don’t think that will happen. What is the biggest challenge facing retailers right now? Competition. Retailers are all trying to outthink one another. Innovation will come out the winner. What might the traditional shoe store look like in five or 10 years? Will it even exist? Maybe robots will attend to the customers? I see stores carrying very
“IF MY PLAN TO OPEN BADGLEY MISCHKA STORES WORKS, I BELIEVE THAT WILL BE A GAME-CHANGER FOR OUR COMPANY.”
little inventory. Consumers will come in to feel and try on the merchandise and order online from that same store. Just where are we in this shakeout and what might the landscape look like when, and if, the dust settles? To answer that, I need a crystal ball. I don’t have one. That aside, I’m not an analyst, but I can certainly say that no one knows exactly what the landscape will look like in the future. What are your goals for the remainder of this year? Keep doing what we are doing. There can’t be any other goal. All this talk of the so-called retail apocalypse doesn’t bother me that much. We have a specific business, and we have strong brands. The real challenge at this point is to keep the momentum. You can’t be up 40 percent for the year and have something bad in your mix. Badgley Mischka is thriving. Our new brand Jewel is a little less than a year old and is performing way beyond our expectations. Splendid is amazing. We are phasing out of Daya by Zendaya, but I have high expectations for Rachel Roy. We’re clicking on all cylinders right now. So, the business can’t be all that bad. Where do you see Titan in three years? I cannot dream like I used to about the future. If my plan to open Badgley Mischka stores works, I believe that will be a game-changer for our company. In the meantime, we are being pursued by the competition like everyone else. They all want a piece of us. But if we keep delivering product at sublime quality like we have been doing of late then, three years from now, we should be even better than we are today. What keeps you coming in to work each day? Well, I don’t go to the office every day. The world has changed. You can work from anywhere. What keeps me in the game is the success we are having, and I’m driven by challenges and opportunities the world presents. Despite a lot of general industry doom-and-gloom, why might you still be optimistic about your business and the shoe industry overall? I have to remain optimistic. First off, our business is good, but I’m not going to throw away my entire career if things were any different. You have to be resilient and fight. What do you love most about your job and this industry? I love the people I work with here and abroad. They are relationships that I’ve cultivated throughout the years. Most of all, I love thinking what and who I can help on this earth. It’s a big part that motivates me. Give back a little or a lot, but give back. Don’t die with it, please. •
A N OT E T O M Y Y OU N G E R S E L F
CALIFORNIA DREAMER V i c t o r i a S t a t e n , c o - o w n e r o f Z e r o t i e a n d Fa m o l a r e , reflects on an industry journey that spans retail and wholesale, startups and power players. DEAR VICTORIA, You think you know exactly where you want to go in life and probably over prepared for the journey. But over time, you’ll come to embrace serendipity like it’s your best friend. You’ll grow from wanting to control the outcome to opening your mind to the forces of nature and desires of others. You’ll go from focusing on the destination to relishing the journey. You’ve always loved fashion. Remember that day when you were focused on getting a job in a clothing store? Just when you were about to give up, your instincts told you to walk through one more door—the upscale shoe store. The regional manager, in town for the day, hired you on the spot, assuming you were a freshman in college and not the high schooler that you were. I’m sure you never imagined then that you’d be selling shoes the rest of your life, but that’s how life works sometimes. After working as a salesperson there for about a year, you land a job at Nordstrom’s first location outside the Pacific Northwest in the South Coast Plaza. You start as a stockgirl and quickly get promoted to selling on the floor, working alongside experienced male Shoe Dogs. You hold your own—and then some. You soon become the first woman to hold the position of a men’s shoe buyer at Nordstrom, achieving that milestone at age 21. Sometimes you’ll need to listen to your inner voice. It wants to guide you, like when it told you to accept that promotion to become a buyer at Nordstrom’s Los Angeles regional offices instead of that job as a department store manager in Orange County. Betsy Sanders, your first mentor, also advises you to hold out for a dream job, so you pass on other promotions A few years later, a vendor offers you a job selling Frye. It’s a perfect fit, and you do well. You then move to Minnesota for love, but Frye re-hires you as its Midwest rep. A year later, you join Dayton-Hudson as a consultant tasked with improving corporate culture. Your team develops recognition programs, new training methods and pay-for-performance incentives. You then become a Group Selling Manager. It’s a big responsibility for a young woman, but you love what you do. About that time, you start a non-profit, get involved in politics and even think about leaving the industry. But you listen to your inner voice again, which tells you to stay when Susan Hudson, a wonderful person you were fortunate to work for at Frye, taps you to help her get Kenneth Cole’s new men’s footwear division off the ground. After two years of little success, a buyer from Dayton’s becomes your first major account. You pioneer selling ancillary products that turn into licensing opportunities for Kenneth Cole.
18 footwearplusmagazine.com • september 2017
Now dominating shelf space in the men’s dress category, you help develop a casual collection. They’re so different you call it something else—Reaction. It’s not smooth sailing at first. Not having a clue about sourcing, you can’t meet the first production orders. You think fast and call a buyer at a major closeout retailer to see if he’ll make an order to ship at the end of the season. Your company agrees to sit on the inventory for three months and work with blended margins. You convince retailers to allocate buys for each brand under separate budgets. Against the advice of others, you double the sales force, allowing the team members to pick the brand they want to sell, craft their own territories, develop comp packages and even hire friends to take over the brand they didn’t choose. No one resigns. Company moral is enhanced. The team goes on to dominate men’s footwear for many years. Always thinking ahead, you foresee a lifestyle trend for designer athleisure. You launch Reaction Sport, led by the Superstar style that establishes Kenneth Cole in the category. You then add Unlisted to the men’s portfolio. Your first pitch to a national retail group is a huge success. Every division at the company commits to buying one of the brands. That plane ride home is one of the most celebratory feelings you’ll ever experience. You are then asked to turn around the company’s struggling women’s division. Salespeople are upset that orders aren’t being produced. Retailers are mad that they’ve allocated open-to-buy but aren’t receiving goods. Factories are angry that they’ve produced too many samples. The financial team is annoyed that the division isn’t meeting its goals. In one season, however, you begin to turn it around. Your team designs fancy styles in factories with low minimums. Core basics are moved to volume factories. The strategy turns around both women’s divisions. While your career journey takes you around the world, you discover that you can take the girl out of California, but not the California out of the girl. You always crave the sun and want to drive with the top down. Being authentic paves the way for co-workers to be true to themselves. The resulting team spirit is contagious. And while there are times your passion and ideas will be misunderstood by some, know that fighting for something you believe in is worth it. That commitment leads to the launch of Zerotie and Famolare, where you’re surrounded by partners who, like you, speak their minds. You all share an unbridled passion for the brands and together are working to make them tremendously successful.
2018 Collection ISLANDSLIPPER.COM
Platform, Surf Expo, WCTS
W H AT ’S SELLI N G
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EITH BALLARD MAY be new to the entrepreneurial game, having purchased Camire’s Athletic Soles in 2015 (He renamed it Wakefield Running Company), but he’s been in the running game since sixth grade cross country. The progression to owning the 5,000-square-foot store was only natural. Ballard had been buying running shoes at the store since it opened in 1990 and, after earning his master’s in exercise physiology, began working there part-time in 2003 to help owners Mary and Roger Camire while the latter battled cancer. “I was running a metabolic testing lab and working here part-time, and then it morphed into me being here full-time and purchasing the store,” he says. With the store’s low employee turnover (some members have as much as 12 years of experience), meshing with the staff was easy. “People are used to seeing familiar faces every time they come in,” Ballard says, adding that customer service is the most important aspect of the business. He stresses that employees focus on being patient and personable. “Many customers aren’t easy to assist, because they either have a physical problems and need help or they might have a quirky personality,” he says. It requires patience and tolerance to service each customer right. The specialty service extends to every fitting. Runners and nonrunners alike go through a four-step process that starts with listening to the customer’s concerns before assessing their gait. Customers are then given several options to try on to determine the ideal fit. “We want customers to tell us everything—from opinions of previous shoes to small, nagging injuries to doctor diagnosed or corrected injuries,” Ballard says. “All of this information helps us hand select the best shoes for our customers.” Ballard believes the one-on-one experience is a must in the age on online and big box retailers. “People benefit from our service and expertise,” he says. —Aleda Johnson How’s business of late? I think we’ve done Ok. Our customers appreciate the service they can’t get online. I tell them that they’re buying a shoe to work in harmony with their biomechanics to stay injury-free. It’s not like buying a toaster online. An exercise shoe goes far beyond that. Who is your core customer? Our core customer is around 40 years old and is a casual to moderately serious runner. We have a smaller hardcore 20 footwearplusmagazine.com • september 2017
group of runners, and we also see a lot of walkers, people just getting into running and doctor referrals who just want a good shoe to help alleviate their foot problems. What are your top-selling shoe brands this year? Brooks, Asics, New Balance and Saucony. What is the biggest challenge facing your business right now? A personal challenge has been social media marketing, since it’s not an area I have a lot of experience in. So how do you reach potential customers? We do running groups and develop relationships with school teams and local running clubs—all that traditional grassroots outreach marketing. What’s one thing you’ve changed since taking over the business? Having the right balance of product on the floor. I’ve tried to have the store be less cluttered than it used to be. That way it feels more airy and open, but you still have items for people to choose from. What is the key to your store’s longevity? It comes down to three aspects: product, knowledge and the experience with our employees. People see the same faces working here. I’m in store almost every day, as is most of my staff. We offer free advice on relief techniques. What measures have you taken to compete against online dealers? We carry more inventory than most stores our size so when someone comes in, we have plenty of options for them and they can walk out with a pair. I also believe online will never fully compete with us because we’re with customers during the try-on process to offer expert advice. What’s been the best new brand added to your mix in the past year? Hoka One One. Our product mix is constantly evolving, but nothing dramatic. It’s about consistency and the balance of having enough of the right inventory. Where do you see Wakefield Running Company in five years? I don’t see any dramatic differences. When I took over the business, it was already doing well in the community. I’ve just gradually tried to improve upon that, so hopefully we’ll continue fine tune things. The goal is certainly to improve the business, but nothing dramatically different than what we’re already doing.
Walk In Peace. Jerusalem Sandals 4325 Woodman Avenue, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423 Tel: 818-568-8082 Store@JerusalemSandals.com JerusalemSandals.com
DO THE RUFFLE The ’70s-era trimming jazzes up everyday casuals. Clockwise, from top: Restricted, Seven Dials, Bella-Vita, Minnetonka.
22 footwearplusmagazine.com • september 2017
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SOFTSPOTS THE JONE CIAL PIN ANNE KLEIN, CARLOS BY KLEIN JEANS KORK-EASE, SOFFT, CORPORATION: AK FERGIE FOOTWEAR, CALVIN KLEIN, CALVIN H.H. BROWN: BØRN, K BEN NINE WEST FOOTWEAR SCHOLL’S® SHOES, LIFESTRIDE, RYKÄ, NATU RALIZS GROU P: A DIVISION OF LF USA: WORLD WIDE: BRAND // BENEFACTOR: DR. LISA & VICKY / JIMLAR, EFACTO TRANSIT / WOLVERINE BCBGENERATION, LUCKY ER, NAYA 9&CO , ANNE NATURALIZER, NAYA, CAMU CHEN INTERNATIONAL: ANN MARINO, NEW YORK CAMUTO, JESSICA SIMPSON, COCONUTS / COLE HAAN TO UGG AUSTRALIA / GLORY RS: THE DIVA / NEW YORK TRANSIT: / CLARKS / CLIFFS / CAMUTO GROUP: VINCE DECKERS OUTDOOR: H.H. BROWGROU P: VINCE, DR. SCHO KLEIN , BAND BY DEER STAGS CHARLOTTE RUSSE, WILD / CHINESE LAUNDRY DONORS: DANSKO / JONES LL’S SHOE OLINO KORS / RIALTO / ROCKADELIC DOUBLE PLATINUM FOOTWEAR: CELIA COLLECTIONS, DONORS: ADRIENNE VITTADINI / AEROSOLES CAMU N: ISAAC , MICHAEL BY MICHAEL MOUNTREK / LEGEND / FARYLROBIN / JELLYPOP QVC.com // PLATINUM GROUP, FISHER / MATISSE / MIZRA BØRN , ISOLÁ TO, VC SIGNA S ®, LIFES EASY SPIRI COACH FOOTWEAR, FRYE, / CAPE CLOGS / DKNY YALEET: NAOT FOOTWEAR ORIGINALS COLE REACTION / MARC HI / IVANK JIMLA T, ENZO MERRELL, SEBAGO / BROWN , KORK / CAPARROS CORPORATION SHOE / HOUSE OF HARLOW 1960 / J.P. TRIDE TURE, COLE NEW YORK / KENNETH CAT, HUSH PUPPIES, R, STREET / BLOWFISH / IVANKA TRUMP / KENNETH BC FOOTWEAR / BELLA VITA BY EASY BY CORSO COMO / EASTLAND THANKS TO NICOLE RICHIE FOR HER SUPPORT. SHOE NEW YORKA DIVIS ION A TRUM P, -EASE , SOFFT LOUIS E ET , FERG IE FOOTANGIO LINI, / ARCHE / BALLASOX DANIBLACK / GUESS of ER Marks, Inc. DONORS: CIE, // SPECIAL MOOT MARC OF LF registered service marks DONORS: ANDRÉ ASSOUS SHOE OF THE DAY TRANS / POLO RALPH LAUREN CUSHE FISHE R, , SOFTS POTS JESSI CA SIMPSWEAR , CARL SIES TOOTS COMPAN Q Ribbon Logo are WHITE MOUNTAIN // USA: YELLOW BOX // QVC.COM IT: / KORS MICHAEL KORS Inc. QVC, Q and the , Y & CAM DOG / SEYCHELLES / notice. © 2012 QVC, J. RENEÉ / KELSI DAGGER A2 BY HUSH PUPPP ANN MARIN O, CALVI N KLEINTOMM Y HILFIG / MARC FISHE ON, BCBG OS BY CARL IES, NINE MARCHEZ VOUS / ROCKET subject to change without offers and availability IES, KEDS, UTO GRO AERO WEST NEW MAX ER , OS Show dates, times, R COCO NUTS SOLES public service announcement. MERR ELL, YORK TRANS CALVI N KLEIN // DOUB LE FOOTW EAR: AZRIA , BCBG SANT ANA, / BROW N UP made at this price. A / COLE / ADRIE NNE SHOE PLATI IT ENER FRAN BELLE SPORT No sales may have been vived COMP HAAN representations of value. MALO OF PATAG ONIA, / WILL- RICH JEAN S, COAC NUM DONO /STAG BY SIGER ATION , LUCK CO SART *Based upon supplier’s MARC HEZ S / VIONIC / DEER of SHOE O, VIA ANY: FOR CHARL SAUCO NY, H FOOT w surRS: eDANS SON MORR Y BRAN STAGS COMP sm ” WITH SPIGA D // BENE KO / DECK CAPE CLOG VOUS / MUNR l CroWEAR , typ ISON, ORTH AHEEL / DONA LD ES JOURD SPERR Y TOP-S ANYery LLC: FRYE, le. AN ERS OUTD G BY GUESS FACTO R: S/ O J *Based Sh STRIDADRIE of the s on SaMOUN POLO sIDER, upon supplier’ halfTREK seE NNE KIDS / CHOC OLAT BLUAMER ICAN / / WHITE MOUNPLINE R / DONA/ AERO SOLES VITTA DINI OOR: , GUESS son / cau / s represen STUAR d at / WOLV Shoe BOBS NYRITE / YALEE , ERINEMICHA EL BY UGG AUSTR tations AND LISAs be T WEITZ / COBB HILL NINA / ROCKE TAIN // SHOE LD rea sol of value. ce* FROM ALIA T: pri MICHA MAN KIDS NAOT T DOG of the are BY NEW No sales OF THEwa SIGNA EL KORS “FFA FOOT WEARWORL D WIDE: may have TURE esSKECH ERS ail /e SPRIN cer BALAN // se. been made ret / cau CHINE CAT, CHACO G STEP DAY can l sho/ KENNdETH d byDONO RS: // SPECIAL CE /On COLEast at this price. SEing COLE LAUN DRY PLATI NUM HAAN funde/ SUMM ANDR the A public autifu THANKS NEWpp geste E ASSOU DONO RS: bre rchKIDS ER service be ng / YORK / JASM sho CLARK DKNY / s sug INESfiti TOeaJULIA of announc S’ / t / S ement. EASTL ds HOUG NNE res ht of BLOWtha Show dates, FISH / MATIS SE / ROCK/ CLIFF S YELLO be/ne /nig turer’ dsAND W rch times, san GUESS BOX fac H, SOLE u. CAPAR ADELI at KIDS ea and nu Thouoffersma cee SOCIE res/ JULIAe /yoQVC.C OM ROS CORPO RATIO C availabili a gre TY,d of typro QVC subject ir sav NNE HOUG DONO RS: AND VINCE N .com change net the kin Ctofor without H FOR ARCHE eday CAMU h all to QV rt the notice. TO FOR SOLE SOCIE © 2013 wit QVC, Inc. y som po THEIR TY QVC, Q, e in SUPPORT. sup and the d ma Tun Q Ribbon help l. An Logo are registere and Shery d service marks ed of ER sav
SPECIAL PINK BENEFACTORS: NINE WEST FOOTWEAR CORPORATION & BROWN SHOE COMPANY
NINE WEST FOOTWEAR CORPORATION: AK ANNE KLEIN, BANDOLINO, CIRCA JOAN & DAVID, EASY SPIRIT, ENZO ANGIOLINI, NINE WEST, SAM & LIBBY / BROWN SHOE COMPANY: NATURALIZER, DR. SCHOLL’S, VIA SPIGA, FRANCO SARTO, FERGIE, ETIENNE AIGNER, CARLOS BY CARLOS SANTANA, ORIGINAL DR. SCHOLL’S, LIFESTRIDE, NICKELS SOFT // BENEFACTORS: CAMUTO GROUP: BCBGENERATION, JESSICA SIMPSON, VINCE CAMUTO // DOUBLE PLATINUM DONORS: DANSKO / DECKERS OUTDOOR: UGG AUSTRALIA / H.H. BROWN: BØRN, QUARK, SOFFT, SOFTSPOTS / JIMLAR CORPORATION: CALVIN KLEIN, COACH FOOTWEAR, FRYE, MOUNTREK, R.J. COLT / LIZ CLAIBORNE SHOES: LIZ CLAIBORNE / MARC FISHER FOOTWEAR : GUESS, MARC FISHER, UNISA // PLATINUM DONORS: CHINESE LAUNDRY / DANIBLACK / JOHNSTON & MURPHY / KENNETH COLE REACTION / MICHAEL BY MICHAEL KORS / NINA / RIALTO SKECHERS / WHITE MOUNTAIN // SHOE OF THE DAY DONORS: BIRKI’S / BLOWFISH / CAPARROS CORPORATION / CAPE CLOGS / DKNY / JELLYPOP / MUNRO AMERICAN / YELLOW BOX // QVC.COM DONORS: AHHH…ANDRÉ / DEER STAGS SPECIAL THANKS TO FERGIE AND BROWN SHOE COMPANY FOR THEIR SUPPORT
*Based upon supplier’s representations of value. No sales may have been made at this price. A public service announcement. Show dates, times, offer and availability subject to change without notice. © 2010 QVC, Inc. and Q and the Q Ribbon Logo registered service marks of ER Marks, Inc. Visit QVC.com or watch QVC® This are Morning, weekdays, 7-9am ET, throughout October for the featured Shoe of the Day.
E H W
C , O AY
STEP UP AND BE PART OF THE CURE!
With your help, great strides can continue in funding breast cancer research coast-to-coast.
Thursday, October 12th, 6-9pm ET
Tuesday, October 10th ZIEGFELD BALLROOM | NYC
SHOP QVC AND TUNE IN
for more details, visit ffany.org
for more details, visit QVC.com
join us as we honor
FFANY DESIGNER OF THE YEAR
FFANY JODI & JEROME FISHER HUMANITARIAN
FFANY RETAILER 0F THE YEAR
FFANY thanks the following companies for their generous support of the 2017 QVC Presents “FFANY Shoes on Sale” – their donations of shoes brings us closer to a cure: SPECIAL PINK BENEFACTORS ($500,000+)
PLATINUM DONORS ($50,000 - $99,999)
NINE WEST HOLDINGS, INC: ANNE KLEIN, BANDOLINO, NINE WEST CALERES: CARLOS BY CARLOS SANTANA, FERGIE FOOTWEAR, FRANCO SARTO, LIFESTRIDE, RYKÄ, SAM EDELMAN, VIA SPIGA CAMUTO GROUP: 1. STATE, ED BY ELLEN DEGENERES, IMAGE BY VINCE CAMUTO, JESSICA SIMPSON, LUCKY BRAND, VINCE CAMUTO MARC FISHER FOOTWEAR: GUESS, INDIGO RD., KENDALL AND KYLIE, MARC FISHER, MARC FISHER LTD., TOMMY HILFIGER, TRETORN
BLOSSOM / CHINESE LAUNDRY / CLARKS / DANSKO / DEER STAGS / THE FOOTWEAR DIVISION OF GLOBAL BRANDS GROUP: AQUATALIA, CALVIN KLEIN / KENNETH COLE NEW YORK / DONALD J. PLINER / SAN ANTONIO SHOEMAKERS / SEYCHELLES / SKECHERS / TITAN INDUSTRIES: BADGLEY MISCHKA, DAYA BY ZENDAYA COLLECTION / WOLFF SHOE COMPANY / VIDA SHOES: ANDRE ASSOUS, ESPRIT, NANETTE BY NANETTE LEPORE / VIONIC WITH ORTHAHEEL / WHITE MOUNTAIN / WOLVERINE WORLDWIDE
BENEFACTORS ($200,000 - $499,999) CHARLES DAVID LLC: CHARLES BY CHARLES DAVID / H.H. BROWN: BIONICA, BØRN, COMFORTIVA, ISOLÁ, KORKEASE, SÖFFT / NEW YORK TRANSIT INC.: ANN MARINO BY BETTYE MULLER, BETTYE BY BETTYE MULLER, NEW YORK TRANSIT / WILL-RICH SHOE COMPANY LLC: ADRIENNE VITTADINI
DOUBLE PLATINUM DONORS ($100,000 - $199,999) AEROSOLES / MICHAEL MICHAEL KORS / YALEET: NAOT FOOTWEAR
SHOE OF THE DAY DONORS ($25,000 - $49,999) BBC INTL / EARTH ORIGINS / FILA / THE FLEXX USA / G.I.L.I. / JOULES / MIA SHOES / REMAC INC.: J. RENEE / ROCKPORT / ROCKY BRAND: ROCKY / SPRING STEP / YELLOW BOX
QVC.COM ($10,000 - $24,999) CHOCOLAT BLU / COOLWAY / ELIYA: BERNIE MEV / MATISSE / SYNCLAIRE BRANDS: MICHAEL MICHAEL KORS KIDS
SALMON FISHING The mouthwatering spring shade splashes across a school of silhouettes. Clockwise, from top left: Sebago, L’Amour Des Pieds, Johnston & Murphy, Sacha London.
24 footwearplusmagazine.com • september 2017
P H OTO G R A P H Y BY J O S E P H P LU C H I N O
T R E N D S P OT T I N G
The May Event Call or email the USRA office for Membership info or a May Event package * i\Ên£n®ÊÇäÎÈäÈÓÊÊÊUÊ >\Ê`>J1-,i°À}ÊÊUÊÜÜÜ°ÕÃÀ>i°À}
Rockport fisherman slides, jacket, top and jeans by Asos, socks by Happy Socks, Barton Perreira sunglasses. Fuzzy slides by Emu Australia, top by Misguided, Kore Swim bandeau, skirt/dress by Laurence & Chico, Antonello Tedde handbag, Asos socks, jewelry by Rosena Sammi.
Musse & Cloud
Summit White Mountain
BC emoji-themed pool slide, swimsuit by Asos, gloves by Atsuko Kudo.
Studded canvas slide by Seven Dials, scarf by Missoni, Finders Keepers top, shorts by Pull & Bear, Rosena Sammi jewelry. 30
Slides with decorative inlay by Minnetonka, jacket by Stone Row x Georgia May Jagger, Sunco top, Berge belt, Phisique du Role pants, socks by Asos, Barton Perreira sunglasses. Oofos camo-print pool slides, sweater by Matiere, Scarci top, shorts by Asos, Barton Perreira sunglasses.
Ecco leather slides, top by Faithfull the Brand, Asos pants, socks and anklets, headscarf and jewelry by Rosena Sammi. Opposite: Frayed slide by GC Shoes, jacket by Deux A, Smythe top, shorts by Dsquared, sunglasses by Parasite Eyewear, Rosena Sammi jewelry. 32
Naot thong slides, hat by Bailey, Asos tank top and glasses, shirt and pants by Teddy Ondo Ella. Opposite: Slides with painted floral detail by Papillio, blouse and sweater by Asos, PilyQ dress. Hair and makeup: Abraham Sprinkle/Next Artists; stylist assistant: Kiyana Panton; models: Caitlin/Fenton Model Mgmt., Jay/Red Model Mgmt.
Lâ€™Amour Des Pieds
D E S I G N E R C H AT
NEELY & CHLOE FASHION RUNS IN the blood of Chloe and Neely Burch. The offspring of two industry veterans—and the nieces of designer Tory Burch— grew up in a household regularly discussing the business of fashion. After college, Chloe joined J. Crew in merchandising and Neely traveled to college campuses selling women’s shoes and accessories. While working, the sisters learned the market was missing a niche, and the duo did what they were born to do: start a fashion company. The eponymous label, launched in August 2016, features a minimal aesthetic of footwear, handbags and accessories aimed at Millennial women. The Burch sisters focus on goods that embody the intersection of durable, stylish, comfortable and affordable. “We design styles and silhouettes that feel timeless; nothing is so trendy that it only lasts six months,” says Neely. The “clean and classic” look that’s light on logos enables consumers to wear the product with whatever style they choose, she adds. From a footwear perspective, that consists of slides in lizard and linen as well as a linen slipper. The holiday collection will expand to include a velvet smoking slipper and a velvet version of this season’s linen slide. For next Spring, the designers are working on canvas styles as well as customization possibilities of its Brazilian-made shoes. Neely & Chloe are currently looking into wholesale distribution options, focusing on independent boutiques as opposed to department stores, which will help them stay true to brand. “Seeing shoes in person and being able to touch and feel is incredibly valuable,” Neely says. The designers learned that firsthand on their Airstream promotional tour, which was essentially a traveling pop-up shop. While the sisters do take inspiration from their famous aunt, they are their own designers. “Tory, our dad, uncle and cousins are in the business, but we want to create our own name,” Chloe says. “We’re very passionate, and we feel this type of product is missing from the market.” —Jashvina Shah How would you describe your overall aesthetic? Chloe: Very clean, classic and simple. And while I like a lot of black and navy, we’ve made sure to include pops of color. Neely: We also come at it as a customer would, so aspects like an extra half-inch heel that makes walking around New York all day more tolerable. Comfort is hugely important. We are seeking that balance of comfort and wearability with style. Who is the Neely & Chloe woman? Neely: A lot of our customers are just like us. They wish they could buy $500 shoes or a $1,100 36 footwearplusmagazine.com • september 2017
TIE ONE ON Fit to be tried: lace-up sandals.
handbag, but when you’re in your mid20s or early 30s you spend half your salary on rent. We just believe you can have a sophisticated experience without a fourfigure price tag. Our customer is also independent and able to put together an outfit without needing logos all over. Do you have plans on expanding your footwear collection? Chloe: Yes. Right now, we’re very focused on classic styles that women can fold into their lives every day. Neely: We’re going to do a crowdsourcing concept where we’ll ask customers what they want or are having trouble finding. Is social media an effective way to build brand awareness? Chloe: Yes. A big part of our social media involves a behind-thescenes aspect where we show customers the exciting styles as well as the hard work that goes into creating a brand. Neely: There’s this idea that a lot of fashion is glamorous, but there are plenty of days spent in a dark warehouse counting inventory or going to an important meeting and being so nervous that you sweat through your
shirt. I think those are relatable stories to our customers. It allows them to have a connection beyond being just a brand. What’s the most valuable piece of business advice you’ve received? Chloe: To make sure you stay focused on the product and listening to your customers, but understanding what’s best for the brand. Who are designers you admire? Neely: Without hesitation Chloe and I would say Tory Burch. What she’s built is incredibly impressive, and we couldn’t ask for a better role model. We’ve also been inspired by a lot of young designers—women and men—who are doing the same thing we are. And we channel great women of the past—Catherine Deneuve and Audrey Hepburn—for inspiration. What would people be surprised to know about you? Neely: Chloe’s run two marathons and plans to run the New York Marathon this November for the second time. Chloe: Neely loses everything. Once she lost her phone in the underwear drawer at Victoria’s Secret.
E D I TO R ’ S P I C K S P H OTO G R A P H Y BY J O S E P H P LU C H I N O
S P E C I A L R E P O RT continued from page 10 expand their current collection, a subscription box service is an efficient way to both try new products and learn about personal preferences.” Building a level of trust through good recommendations also increases customer loyalty, experts say. Birchbox is particularly adept at this skill: after getting a taste of a new beauty brand, 50 percent of its subscribers go on to purchase full-size versions through its website, according to Beauchamp. The model also capitalizes on convenience, which is particularly appealing to parents. Alicia Werle founded childrenswear subscription box Wee Blessing with that in mind. The service delivers four styled outfits consisting of discounted designer brands and culled from the subscriber’s style profile. It enables parents to spend more time at home and less time at the mall. “Gathering all of the kids in the car and shopping from store to store is so frustrating and time consuming,” Werle says. “By allowing a personal stylist do the shopping for you, so much stress is relieved.” As for the possibilities subscription box services present to the footwear industry, many experts believe there}s potential as well as inherited risks— namely a high rate of returns because of fit issues. Phibbs expresses skepticism about whether a shoe-centric service can be profitable amid the high risks and staunch competition. “People are very specific about their shoe style and fit, and return rates on apparel already sit between 30 and 50 percent,” he says. He cites Nordstrom’s Trunk Club acquisition as an example, which allows subscribers to work with a stylist to curate a monthly box of head-to-toe outfits and send back what they don’t want. Nordstrom purchased the service for $350 million in 2014 and took a $197 million write down two years later. “Zappos lets you buy exactly what you want and return what you don’t for free, so why would I trust a subscription box to deliver something better than that?” Phibbs says. In addition, he notes that male shoppers generally purchase shoes only when they need them, so a monthly or even a seasonal shipment may be too much.
Women, of course, are an entirely different breed of shoe shopper. Perhaps it’s why the sister private label subscription box services Shoedazzle and Justfab have been doing well, according to Kira Cohen, director of public relations. She says most members think of the $39.95 monthly charge as a bill, just like rent, leading to the company’s low skip rate. In an attempt to assist shoppers, the sites feature algorithms that offer suggestions, but customers have final say on what goes into a box. On JustFab, if the subscriber doesn’t pick anything for the month, her account is credited and the money can be used at a later date. Or she can opt to skip the month and not get charged at all. Cohen believes its members like recommendations and shopping on their terms as opposed to being assaulted by advertising and upselling in stores and online. “The ads are practically forced down your throat,” she says. “But our customer tells us she wants to choose and doesn’t need it in front of her face all the time.” Cohen reports 30 percent of its VIP subscribers have upgraded to include the personal styling services. Another perk to running a subscription box service, says Phibbs, is they act similar to gift card programs. Meaning, they are low-risk because they tie up consumers’ money. “With offerings coming, they’re less likely to go to Macy’s, so that is money taken out of their wallet,” he says, adding, “People don’t cancel subscriptions as quickly, which promises fewer returns for the company.” Nevertheless, Silva says many shoe brands have been hesitant to partake in the subscription box model. Securing accounts was difficult when launching Sneakertub because it’s hard to convince sales reps there are other models than a physical location. “Any company who tries to break the traditional mold is seen as a challenge,” he says. That said, Silva believes it’s imperative that retailers reinvent themselves. Brands should embrace new concepts, instead of resisting them. “Stop putting shoes on a rack and calling it a day,” he says. “Provide customers an experience.” •
footwear plus half page.pdf 7/17/2017 4:29:20 PM
9/20/17 4:31 PM
U P C L O S E C O M F O RT
A New Breed Salamander returns to U.S. market.
Dansko Sees the Light The brand partners with The Walking Company on launch of its lightest-ever clog.
DANSKO’S ICONIC PROFESSIONAL clog has gone on a diet. Dubbed the XP 2.0, it’s the company’s lightest-ever stapled clog construction to date, weighing in at a feathery 20 percent lighter than the competition. The company has chosen The Walking Company as the exclusive retail partner for its debut this season. “The Walking Company’s 215-plus stores nationwide, coupled with their trained store associates and a consumer who values the unique benefits of the XP 2.0, provide an excellent environment to launch this innovative new collection,” says Jim Fox, president of Dansko, adding that the brand successfully launched the original XP clog at the chain in 2011. “The Walking Company’s consumer has a great degree of familiarity with Dansko and XP, as well as a high level of appreciation for the many benefits of the XP 2.0, including the lightweight construction and removable footbed,” he adds. The XP 2.0 also features premium leather uppers, a slip-resistant outsole and Dansko Natural Arch technology with dual-density memory foam for cushioning, shock absorption and support. It’s appreciated by wearers who are typically on their feet an average of close to 10 hours per day, according to Sal Agati, Dansko’s senior vice president of global sourcing and design. “The XP 2.0 retains all of the durability and support Dansko is known for in a significantly lighter construction,” he says. “We believe lighter weight will result in less fatigue throughout the work day.” The XP 2.0 collection is currently available in eight colors and patterns. Suggested retail prices range from $140 to $150. The exclusive distribution with The Walking Company runs through March 2018, when it will then be expanded to all authorized Dansko dealers. —Greg Dutter 38 footwearplusmagazine.com • september 2017
ALTHOUGH IT’S BEEN years since German brand Salamander sat on the shelves of North American stores, many retailers on this side of the pond never forgot about the iconic European casual brand that was founded in 1904. In fact, the loyalty is so strong that, during a Fall ’17 test demonstration last February for Salamander’s North American return, Tip Top Shoes’ owner Danny Wasserman proudly showed off his metal Salamander key chain that he still carries some 30 years later. “Retailers remember the good quality, the perfect fit and the European styling, which was good for the American market,” says Andreas Heydt, director of Salamander Germany, a division of Ara Shoes. He adds that retailers and consumers can expect more of the same as the brand makes its Spring ’18 debut. “The fitting, quality and the price should be at least 10 percent better than our competition,” he says, noting that as a traditional footwear manufacturer, the company embraces classic German values like quality, handcrafted perfection and timelessness. “That requires staying ahead of the curve on the latest fashion trends and breakthroughs in shoe design,” Heydt says. “We’re always immersed in mainstream fashion, the newest materials and exciting ways to communicate with our customers.” Salamander is branding itself as directional for its return to North America. Specifically, the brand is focusing on a men’s fashion dress trend as well as targeting active women, regardless of age. “We’re going to provide a lifestyle offering,” says Sam Spears, president of Ara Shoes North America. For Spring ’18, that translates to a col-
lection of casual silhouettes made from soft Napa leathers in trendy colorways from cognacs to white, red, metallic and multi-colors. All styles are leather-lined. Women’s silhouettes include ballets, slip-ons, oxfords, sling-backs, slides and sandals, while men’s silhouettes range from dress lace-ups and slip-ons to dress casuals, athletic court shoes and slides. Spears says the collection targets an overall spirit rather than a particular age. That said, the line skews towards a college-aged demographic—one that appreciates affordable, quality goods. The suggested retail price ranges from $114 to $180 for women’s and $125 to $180 for men’s, which comes at 65 percent margins. Salamander’s distribution strategy is focusing on independent comfort and outdoor specialty retailers, with some select department stores, according to Spears. It’s a customer base he knows well, having previously been national sales manager for Ariat. Spears also believes that adding Salamander to the North American portfolio (includes Ara and Jenny brands) shows the company’s commitment to this market. Spears says the plan is for a steady build that will set the proper foundation for the brand’s return to the North American market. “We want to reignite those warm, fond memories retailers had with Salamander,” he says. That starts with great products and being a reliable partner with retailers. “It’s a serious business, but Salamander is a fun brand,” he says. “The product selection reflects that spirit. Our design team’s energy and enthusiasm for life really shows itself in our collection.” — Jashvina Shah
Designed for walking
Office Upgrade Klogs redefines casual comfort with stylish work shoes.
KLOGS IS EXPANDING further into the lifestyle market with its Atlantic Collection for Spring ’18. This twist on its classic clog is Italian leathers, a sleeker silhouette, a refined toe box and a softer feel overall. The goal, says Matt Dieckhaus, national sales director, is to meet the wants and needs of Klogs’ target audience in the healthcare and hospitality industries as well as tap into a younger, lifestyle customer segment. “We felt we needed to tailor up with those occupational markets, but then it’s also just the trends that we’re seeing in the marketplace overall,” Dieckhaus says. “Our shoes are very comfortable,” he adds. “They’re not just worn in those industries, they’re worn in a lifestyle setting as well, so we wanted to be able to capture the customer that wanted something that complimented a range of outfits that they’re wearing.” Building off last spring’s Pacific Collection, each shoe in the new line features a Meramec polyurethane footbed, a shorter half-inch heel and Italian leathers that provide a finished look that enhances the beauty, shape and elegance, according to Dieckhaus. The line comes in colorways of navy, tan, brown, black and deep reds. “Our polyurethane insole and outsole are key to our customer because they need to be comfortable, even at the end of their shift,” Dieckhaus says, noting the suggested retail price is $109.95. He adds that retailers who preorder the line by Sept. 15 for Mar. 1, 2018, delivery will receive a five percent net discount of those 60 days and the margins are keystone plus 10. Dieckhaus says living up to customer expectations is something Klogs takes to heart. Should a line not meet its high comfort standards, it will not go into production. “From our perspective, comfort has never been a trend, and that’s why we’re so strong in the healthcare and hospitality markets,” he says. “Those particular customers, what they really care about is comfort.” The same goes for consumers who are not on the job. No one is willing to sacrifice comfort for any occasion. “We’ve definitely seen an uptick in our lifestyle business for that very reason,” Dieckhaus says. “Comfort is a trend now, and being on-trend is good for Klogs.” —J.S.
Pebbles 08479 Dolomite
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Rubber Sole City
The (Sneaker)Hub B o s t o n’s u n i q u e a t m o s p h e r e l e n d s i t s e l f t o b e c o m i n g a s n e a k e r m e c c a . BY JASHVINA SHAH
BOSTON HAS BUNKER Hill, Fenway Park, the Freedom Trail and “Some of the folks that designing our footwear have worked for footthat accent Hollywood adores. The city is known for its passionate sports wear brands all over the world and have landed in the Boston area for fans, indie music scene and growing tech sector thanks partly to the quality of life reasons and because there’s employment opportunities.” area’s many institutions of higher learning, which includes Harvard and York adds, “We’ve benefitted from seasoned professionals who might MIT. (Those kids are wicked smaht!) Boston is also home to a growing be retiring from the business and have given young folks like us sage number of athletic footwear companies such as New Balance, Reebok, advice for how to enter the market, accelerate and grow.” Puma and Converse as well as some of the nation’s trend-setting sneaker Industry experts believe the multitude of sneaker companies headboutiques like Bodega, Concepts (Cambridge) and AWOL. quartered in Boston plus the local creative talent has set the city up Reebok picked the city’s rapidly growto be a sneaker mecca for years to come. ing Seaport District for its new global Thanks to social media, its sneaker headquarters, following New Balance scene is also getting more coverage, and Converse, both of which opened new and it’s playing nationally. That, says headquarters in 2015 that are helping Oliver Mak, owner of Bodega, is good turn Beantown into Kickstown. And just for Boston and his business. Having a stone’s throw away from downtown, celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2016, in the suburb of Waltham, Wolverine Bodega is bucking brick-and-mortar Worldwide (parent company of Saucony, woes, experiencing one of its best years Keds, Sperry and other brands), recently to date. Mak credits much of the success opened a new regional center for 370 to its unique shopping experience: The employees. store is tucked behind an actual bodega “One of the things that pushed this through a secret passageway where whole (Boston sneaker) thing off is customers can discover brands and the local boutiques like Concepts and styles not carried in malls or by online Reebok’s new headquarters symbolize the rise of Boston’s sneaker culture. Top: Joggers by Boston-based York Athletics. Bodega, and how quickly they became so behemoths. It doesn’t hurt, Mak adds, globally influential,” says Frank Rivera, that Bodega possesses a rich street cred. senior manager of Brand Activations & Influencer Network for Reebok “We have a deep history with sneaker culture that goes back to the Classics. The company deems its soon-to-be Seaport headquarters OG era—when fanatic brand loyalty meant if you walked down the attractive because of available talent and room for expansion. The wrong street wearing the wrong brand, you’d get your kicks pulled 220,000-square-foot space spans five floors and will house 650 to 700 off your feet and thrown into a tree,” he says. employees. “Boston is faster, it’s creative, it’s a great culture, it’s a great Joamil Rodriguez, owner of Laced Boston, a consignment store, also place for us to continue to recruit some of the best talent in the world,” reports business is benefitting from the city’s sneaker boom. “It’s diverse says John Lynch, vice president of Connect-to-Consumer at Reebok. and colorful. We have running to lifestyle and everything in between It’s why when York Athletics launched its startup athleisure brand, living in harmony in Boston,” he says, adding, “It’s a large market in the company decided there’s no better place to nest than Boston. “We’re terms of quality and lots of sneakers are bought and sold, but it’s not leveraging a lot of the talent in Boston,” says Travis York, co-founder. too big—48 square miles—so you can still do really well here.”
40 footwearplusmagazine.com • september 2017
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Slide Rules - Anything Goes: Blingy Details, Funky Materials, With or Without Socks | Are Subscription Box Services a Thing? | Hot to Trot i...
Published on Sep 6, 2017
Slide Rules - Anything Goes: Blingy Details, Funky Materials, With or Without Socks | Are Subscription Box Services a Thing? | Hot to Trot i...