Footwear Plus | September 2014

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SEPTEMBER 2014 • VOL. 24 • ISSUE 8 • $10

SURF’S UP A beachy-clean vibe flows through sandals, mocs and slip-ons

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Caroline Diaco Publisher

10 Let’s Get Physical Don’t underestimate the sensory shopping advantages brick-andmortar stores possess. By Samantha Sciarrotta SEPTEMBER 2014

12 Hawaiian Topics Island Slipper owner, John Carpenter, recounts his hits, misses, epiphanies and steadfast commitment to the sandal company’s Hawaiian roots. By Greg Dutter 18 The European Report A revamped GDS show whets retailers’ appetites with a retrorich range of spring trends. By Lyndsay McGregor 22 Labor of Love The story of how Heels & Hobos Owner Dee Reid left a successful pharmaceutical career to jump head first into shoe retailing. By Tara Anne Dalbow 30 American Summer Beach-friendly classics receive a fresh update with jute details, mixed media and natural accents. By Tara Anne Dalbow



4 Editor’s Note 6 This Just In 8 Scene & Heard 24 What’s Selling 26 Trend Spotting 28 In The Details 42 Shoe Salon

Wood heel sandals by Naot.

44 Street 46 E-beat 48 Last Word

Photography by Trevett McCandliss; Fashion Editor: Tara Anne Dalbow; stylist: Nancy Campbell; hair and makeup: Briana Mirzo; cover model: Cassandra Martensen. On the cover: espadrilles by Sperry Top-Sider.

Greg Dutter Editorial Director Nancy Campbell Trevett McCandliss Creative Directors EDITORIAL Lyndsay McGregor Senior Editor Social Media Editor Tara Anne Dalbow Fashion Editor Samantha Sciarrotta Assistant Editor Kathy Passero Editor at Large Melodie Jeng Contributing Photographer Judy Leand Contributing Editor ADVERTISING/ PRODUCTION Jennifer Craig Associate Publisher Capri Crescio Advertising Manager Tim Jones Deputy Art Director Production Manager Allison Kastner Operations Manager Bruce Sprague Circulation Director Joel Shupp Circulation Manager Mike Hoff Digital Director OFFICES Advertising/Editorial 36 Cooper Square, 4th fl. New York, NY 10003 Tel: (646) 278-1550 Fax: (646) 278-1553 editorialrequests@ Circulation 26202 Detroit Road, #300 Westlake, OH 44145 Tel: (440) 871-1300 Corporate 9Threads 26202 Detroit Road, #300 Westlake, OH 44145 Tel: (440) 871-1300 Xen Zapis Chairman Lee Zapis President Rich Bongorno Chief Financial Officer Debbie Grim Controller

FOOTWEAR PLUS ™ (ISSN#1054-898X) The fashion magazine of the footwear industry is published monthly (except for bimonthly April/May and October/November editions) by Symphony Publishing NY, LLC, 36 Cooper Square, 4th fl., New York, NY, 10003-7118. The publishers of this magazine do not accept responsibility for statements made by their advertisers in business competition. Periodicals postage is paid in New York, NY, and additional mailing offices. Subscription price for one year: $48.00 in the U.S. Rates oustide the U.S. are available upon request. Single copy price: $10.00. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to FOOTWEAR PLUS, P.O. Box 8548, Lowell, MA 01853-8548. Publisher not responsible for unsolicited articles or photos. Any photographs, artwork, manuscripts, editorial samples or merchandise sent for editorial consideration are sent at the sole risk of the sender. Symphony Publishing NY, LLC, will assume no responsibility for loss or damage. No portion of this issue may be reproduced without the written permission of the publisher. ©2008 by Symphony Publishing NY, LLC. Printed in the United States.

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E D I TO R ’S N OT E Problem Solving

IT COULD BE WORSE There are problems and then there are real problems.

WARS, EBOLA, ACTS of genocide, the tragic suicide of a person who made millions smile, mass forced migrations, riots, floods, fires, famine… the bad news and related human suffering seems particularly acute of late, and much of it Biblical in scale. A plague of locusts would seem like a walk in the park compared to some of the horrific events showcased in various media outlets in all their mind-blowing glory. These days it’s tough to escape the world’s dire straits even on social media feeds. Once bastions of innocuous family and friend updates, they are rapidly becoming bully pulpits for venting about what’s gone terribly wrong and wild accusations of who’s to blame. Sadly, much of this death and destruction has nothing to do with unavoidable acts of God. Rather it’s the result of conscious human decisions. Really bad ones. Choices that didn’t have to be made. The shooting down of a passenger jet that killed 298 innocent civilians over Ukraine. The launching of rockets indiscriminately into a neighboring country’s cities and towns. The belief that one has a green light from God to slaughter thousands of defenseless men, women and children who happen to practice a different faith. The rationale used for such barbarism is laughable, only there’s nothing funny about the crimes against humanity it unleashes. All this mayhem makes any problems in our industry seem downright miniscule in comparison. Missed a sale? Rest assured more shoppers will come into your store, offering plenty more opportunities. At the very least, we can take solace in the fact that consumers are showing no signs of going barefoot en masse any time soon. (That would be the mother of all problems in our trade.) Your re-orders are marooned on a slow boat from China? They will get here eventually, but there must be other in-stock options to offer customers in the meantime and, for those chronically unreliable shipping partners, replacement brands to consider carrying. The point is, retailers have no excuse to let customers leave emptyhanded. Most who enter your store do so with the need or the desire to make a purchase. Sure, a few may be “showrooming.” But if they’ve gone to the trouble of actually leaving the confines of their homes, you must try to close that sale. You’ve got an arsenal of effective weapons at your disposal, including helpful advice, an enticing selection, an inviting ambiance and, perhaps, even a cappuccino to offer.

Online dealers can seem like a mega-problem to brick-and-mortar retailers, but they lack the sensory advantages and human contact that give you a competitive edge. Got a bad review on Yelp? Realize that there are relatively painless steps you can take to try and remedy what caused a disgruntled customer to vent to total strangers. If possible, reach out directly to the writer through the review site. Express concern and encourage him to contact you by phone or e-mail so you can try to fix the situation. Hopefully, you’ll change his mind about your store—and impress other potential customers who read your response in the bargain. Millions of consumers base their buying decisions on what they read online, so take time to find out what people are writing about you on review sites and turn it to your advantage. The weather didn’t cooperate as expected? Well, when has Mother Nature ever behaved the way you wanted? Be prepared for the unexpected and offer a range of merchandise that is not entirely dependent on a seasonal forecast. And why not seize the rainy day with a portable umbrella display near the entrance to your store? It’s an accessory—an ideal add-on purchase. That’s just one product line extension that can enhance your bottom line. Two more that sell themselves are nail polish (especially during sandal season) and hosiery, which is as much of a fashion statement as shoes these days. I don’t have space here to mention every industry-related problem. There are wholesalers increasingly selling direct-to-consumers, MAP pricing concerns, economic uncertainty, markdown demands, rising fixed costs, and finding and retaining reliable employees. The list can seem endless and overwhelming. But it could be worse. All of these industry-related problems pale in comparison to the plights of far too many people struggling just to stay alive. If nothing else, a big picture perspective might encourage you to tackle the challenges you face with renewed confidence and vigor. It’s easy to make mountains out of molehills, but problems, no matter how big or seemingly hopeless, have solutions. In a world that seems beyond repair of late, that’s an important point to remember. We don’t need divine intervention. We just need our own God-given capabilities to work together and solve our problems. Greg Dutter

Editorial Director

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ROMAN HOLIDAY From strappy and simple to knee-high, gladiator sandals are the clear victor in this season’s street style arena. Photography by Melodie Jeng 6 • september 2014

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scene & heard

Think Pink

Timberland Joins the CrowdRise TIMBERLAND HAS TAKEN its volunteerism roots to another level by teaming with CrowdRise, the fundraising social network founded by actor and philanthropist Ed Norton, to launch a new version of its long-running Serv-a-Palooza Challenge. The Stratham, NH, company, which surpassed one million hours of community service in April, wants to get started on its next million—and motivate the public to get out and help, too. By partnering with CrowdRise, the brand can broaden its charitable reach. “If one company can achieve one million hours, imagine what its consumers could do,” says Atlanta McIlwraith, senior manager of community engagement at Timberland. The six-week endeavor, which kicked off on Aug. 11 and runs through Sept. 18, encourages consumers to volunteer for a cause of their choice for chances to win prizes for themselves as well as donations for the non-

profit organizations they choose to support. Anyone wishing to enroll can submit his or her name, location and designated service partner to the Timberland Serv-a-Palooza homepage. Approved volunteers will then be sent a link to create a fundraising page on CrowdRise where they can track their efforts and start earning rewards for the hours they serve, donors they recruit and money they raise. “Our hope is that those who participate will continue to volunteer after the challenge, and feel empowered to encourage others to do the same,” McIlwraith says. At the culmination of the challenge, Timberland will award grand prizes to the Top Recruiter, Top Volunteer and Top Fundraiser. The winners will each receive a $10,000 grant to give to the causes they chose to support, along with a $5,000 Timberland shopping spree (or an all-expenses-paid trip to the Horqin Desert to help plant the company’s two-millionth tree in China), a custom pair of boots and the chance to have their Impact Maker stories shared in an online Timberland campaign. Additionally, the top volunteer will have his volunteer hours matched by Timberland employees in New England.

Perfect FitHub WHEN REEBOK OPENED its first FitHub location in 2012, the athletic brand wanted to present a physical manifestation of its fitness ideals. Six other FitHubs have since opened along the East Coast between Washington, D.C. and Boston, the most recent one opening in New York’s Union Square last month.The concept is simple: Create a one-stop shop for all things fitness, from yoga shoes to CrossFit headbands. “It allows us to represent the brand’s entire collection from head to toe,” says Paul Froio, vice president of FitHubs and concept stores. Décor and gym items like rope, rungs and pull-up bars give the store an industrial feel, and customers can access a 6,000-square-foot gym set in the location’s basement. Apparel is divided into sections based on activity, and while corresponding footwear is scattered throughout,

the bulk of the shoe selection can be found in the back of the store, where styles are set in cubbies lining the walls. “It represents our higher-end tech footwear,” Froio notes about the selection, which spans running and training for men to women’s running, training and studio for classes like yoga, Zumba and dance.

MIA SHOES IS taking steps to help fight breast cancer with two new initiatives. Starting this month and running through Oct. 31, the Miami-based brand’s philanthropic arm, Mia Cares, will donate 10 percent of proceeds from sales of its Amanda style to breast cancer research at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. In addition, 400 pairs of a custom designed Amanda shoe bearing the iconic pink breast cancer ribbon will be donated to QVC. Valued at $20,000, the shoes will be sold during the shopping channel’s FFANY Shoes on Sale event on Oct. 16, with 80 percent of proceeds benefitting the Fashion Footwear Charitable Foundation. “The lives of so many of our employees and extended Mia family members have been touched by this all too common cancer,” says Mia Founder and CEO Richard Strauss. The Mia Cares donation, expected to exceed $5,000, will support a clinical trial studying new therapies in Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC), one of the disease’s deadliest types. “Our goal is to make a difference—to support known causes and give back to the communities where we live and work,” adds Suzanne Leslie, creative director.

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Let’s Get Physical

E-commerce may be where all the excitement and rapid growth is, but don’t underestimate the sensory shopping advantages brick-and-mortar stores possess. By Samantha Sciarrotta

F YOU’RE A brick-and-mortar retailer then you’ve felt the sting of millions of consumers taking their shopping to their computer screens (and tablets and smartphones) over the last several years. The number of shoppers who have crossed over to the online side (often at the expense of shopping in physical stores almost all together) continues to increase. The accountancy firm Deloitte’s September 2013 survey found that more consumers preferred the Internet (47 percent) over in-store holiday shopping (40 percent), which marked the first time in the survey’s 15-year history that the online tier surpassed brick-and-mortar retailers. And for those keeping score, e-commerce retail sales hit the $1 trillion mark in 2012 and have risen steadily since, according to an eMarketer study. No doubt plenty of physical retailers are struggling to keep up with this ongoing seismic shift, not to mention trying to absorb rising fixed costs and training and retaining quality salespeople. It’s a wonder sometimes why anyone would want to play it old school retail these days in the face of such pressures. “The rapid growth and ease of online shopping has changed the future of consumer spending forever,” says Dave Grange, president of Lacoste Footwear North America. But will consumers eventually no longer need or even want to enter a store? At least to a level that makes operating a physical store cost prohibitive? Not so fast, say most industry experts. Plenty of customers are still willing and able to hit the local mall or stroll along Main Street. The reasons are many-fold, starting with the desire for instant gratification. Being able to walk out of the store within minutes with a purchase is still something many consumers crave—overnight free shipping be damned. For some people, it’s just not fast enough. Call it the thrill of the hunt and bagging (literally) the prize. Interacting face to face with customer service is another aspect of brickand-mortar retailing that many consumers prefer over online shopping. Many are even craving it nowadays, having belabored automated phone systems and faceless websites long enough. It’s also clear that many consumers still have a soft spot in their hearts for the traditional concept of “going shopping.” It’s arguably one of America’s greatest past times and considered a social activity as much as a necessity. The more time consumers spend plugged in and cut off from the outside world, the more shopping might be a refreshing alternative. Along these lines, a February 2014 Accenture study revealed 21 percent of consumers surveyed planned on increasing in-store purchases, which may not sound like much until you consider that only 9 percent responded similarly in 2013. Big-name retailers like Macy’s, Nordstrom and DSW are still opening brick-and-mortar locations. They aren’t investing millions of dollars in doing so for nostalgic value, to be sure. Joe Amoruso, vice president of footwear for Lugz, notes that even online retailers are opening physical locations. “Now that the online business is maturing, it’s not just a free-for-all,” he maintains. “A vendor or retailer can-

not just put up a site, say ‘Here I am,’ and expect the consumer to come rushing to buy from you.” The bloom of what made that channel unique is fading. Advantages like a vast selection, 24-7 hours and free overnight shipping are no longer enough to lure shoppers. Internet dealers need to up the ante, and getting physical might be the next move for many. Similarly, what’s old may be somewhat new again as consumers rediscover the joys of shopping in stores that have raised their game with enticing new formats, stepped up selections and sensory experiences and services that just can’t be experienced online. Like touch, for example. Debbie Honore, owner of Shoe Fetagé in Houston, says footwear, especially at a higher price point, presents a touchy-feely experience that just can’t be replicated online. “Shoppers are more prone to go into a store where they can see it and touch it, even if they saw it online first,” she offers. “They want to make sure they’re getting the quality for what they’re paying for.” Moreover, Honore notes shopping online is a game of fit roulette. “If I were to order a shoe online, I’m not sure if it’s really going to accommodate my foot versus going into a store, where I can try it on, see if it’s comfortable, see if it’s going to work with my ankles… It’s a major plus.” Abigail Lignugaris, owner of Atlanta’s Sole Shoes & Accessories, notes the lack of any uniform sizing presents another advantage for traditional retailers. “You can try to give as much information as you can online or over the phone, but you’re really shooting into the air,” she says. “The chances of it fitting perfectly without trying it on are 50-50.” Greg Sullivan, general manager of Crocs Americas, points out that for comfort brands, in particular, feeling the product on one’s feet is often the difference maker when deciding to purchase. “Being able to try on the product >43

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Hawaiian Topics The entrepreneurial tale of John Carpenter, owner of Island Slipper, includes hits, misses, epiphanies and, through it all, an unwavering commitment to family and the sandal company’s deep Hawaiian roots.

JOHN CARPENTER FIRST came to Hawaii more than 40 years ago. He was 19 years old and on vacation. Like so many people who visit this tropical paradise, he fell in love with the culture, climate and laidback lifestyle and decided it would be his new home. “I came to Hawaii in the early ’70s, soon met [and eventually married] a local girl and just never found a reason to leave,” he laughs. “I was on an adventure and thought anything was possible.” And that’s pretty much how Carpenter’s life and footwear career has unfolded. It’s an entrepreneurial journey filled with chance, determination, home runs, leaps of faith, good fortune, brand extensions, talent, acquired skills, obstacles... You name it. Carpenter’s career reads like a classic three-act play complete with drama, intrigue, humor and the strong likelihood of many future acts in the years to come. But let’s start at the beginning. Act I: It involves Carpenter’s by-chance entrance into the shoe business, working as a stock boy for a local Nordstrom lease department on Oahu. He steadily rises through the ranks over the ensuing nine years to assistant manager. “Nordstrom was a great experience and it dovetailed with my interest in the shoe industry,” he says. But continuing on that path meant moving back to the mainland, which Carpenter was not willing to consider. That led to his crossover into wholesale, a move driven by his desire to be more involved in the making of shoes. Living in the Aloha State, that meant making sandals. Carpenter first worked for Scott Hawaii, where, over the next eight years, he learned sales, marketing and design. “I started out as their wholesale rep, but I didn’t like sales,” he confesses. “I loved being in the factory and making stuff. That is where the creative process became evident in me.” That experience eventually led to Carpenter’s purchase of Island Slipper from the Motonaga family, Japanese immigrants who launched the company in 1946. They sought an owner who would retain their strong family values. It also presented the opportunity for what Carpenter sought most: to become more entrepreneurial. “At Scott, I felt like a chained-up entrepreneur. The only way I was going to be able do what I wanted or anything of real value would be to own my own business,” he says, adding, “I think anybody who has that burning desire is never going to be satisfied until they make that change.” The Motonagas called Carpenter with an offer. Years earlier he had mentioned casually that he hoped they would give him a call when 12 • september 2014

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O&A they retired. They remembered. In 1985, “their attorney said, ‘John, you’re the luckiest guy I know,’” Carpenter recalls. His entrepreneurial dream had come true and it was Island Slipper, the second largest (behind Scott Hawaii) of the area’s seven sandal companies at the time. Act II: It opens with the Island Slipper acquisition, where Carpenter goes on to survive numerous challenges in order to, at first, keep the business afloat and, later, to evolve into what is now a thriving, multifaceted company spanning domestic What are you reading? wholesale production and a burgeonWhenever I have the time, I ing retail division. (Island Slipper’s like to read novels by David sales have been growing at a healthy Baldacci. clip of 20 to 30 percent a year over the past five years.) This was the Any vacation plans? Usually, between trade shows, our famperiod where Carpenter also experiily will visit one of the outer enced his first home run as well as islands of Hawaii. After FN some good fortune. The home run Platform, we are heading to came from Carpenter’s decision to New York to meet with some expand the men’s collection with suppliers and we’ll mix in an updated construction designed some vacation there as well. to offer all-day comfort. It featured a one-piece molded rubber outsole Who is inspiring you right with arch support, heel cup and outnow? My (first) grandson and sole contour. The construction was what that entails for his future quite revolutionary compared to the and the future of our comtraditional EVA sandal bottoms that pany. I already have a son and wore unevenly and caused feet to daughter-in-law working in the business, but my grandson slip and slide, and the addition of a is my inspiration to make sure neoprene or EVA insole kept the foot that the company is there for aligned and created a custom fit over him if he so chooses. time. A bonus: it was less expensive

Carpenter believes it’s the best way to show the enormous gratitude he has to everyone who works at Island Slipper. To Carpenter, Island Slipper is like one big extended Hawaiian family that he aims to keep together as long as possible. Island Slipper is the sole meaningful survivor of this indigenous sandal industry. It’s also become the brand’s one-two punch of authenticity and uniqueness in the marketplace. It’s why the company is still called Island Slipper and not Island Sandal, which, arguably, might translate better for mainland consumers. But “slipper” is the terminology Hawaiians use and Carpenter has remained true to it because he is committed to the authenticity of every aspect of the company. “If I changed our name, it would have cut off all that history,” Who would be your most he offers. “It’d be like people who coveted dinner guest? My change their name because they are wife. I’m not one to invite a trying to escape their past.” stranger to dinner. Indeed, Carpenter is comfortable in Island Slipper’s chosen path. He If you could hire anyone, who would it be? To be honmay not know how the story ends, est, I have a great group of but he’s confident that it will continemployees and I don’t have ue to be successful, and he’s groundanyone in mind right now. ed by the prior acts and how it all seemed impossible at times. “Years What is your least favorite ago, I remember my wife Daisy and word? Whatever. I were standing in our little booth in the WSA show across from a huge What sound do you love? white wall of LA Gear’s,” Carpenter Trade winds blowing through recalls. “She looked around and said, the palm trees. It’s natural ‘How do we ever become recognized here, and one of those soothin this marketplace?’ Sometimes, I ing sounds you might use to look back and think we must have fall asleep to at night. survived by the grace of God or sheer What is your favorite homeluck. Or maybe we did some things town memory? Riding horseright that have enabled us to survive back in Waterford, CA, with all these years.” my dad on our family’s ranch. It was one of the simple things Does it seem like Island Slipper to do there, and I have very has entered another phase since fond memories of it. your son and his wife joined? Yes, the business has taken on a new life. It presents a whole new dynamic, and there’s also a certain amount of pride involved when your children take interest in what you do. But, the challenge is to make that generational transition without messing up. First, you need to trust them and they must be capable. Fortunately, my son and daughter-in-law bring business management and technology skills, respectively. The change going forward is for them to take on the basic dayto-day business responsibilities that will allow me to focus more on the creative aspects. Eventually, there will come a time where I will take them under my wing and work with them in these areas. It’s all about what’s best for the brand and the future of our company. That’s why I always try to include anybody in the process that I can. It can be our store manager, someone who works in our office, one of our factory supervisors, whomever. We even open it up to customers. You’d be surprised about what you can learn through such an open ideas process.


to manufacture. What is your motto? Like “That product just took off. We who you work with and love entered the men’s slipper business what you do. with a bang,” Carpenter says. “If you are the first one to market, you can have a great run, and we sure did.” The new construction doubled the company’s sales. “That’s when we turned the corner to being profitable,” he adds. Then, in the early ’90s, came some good fortune via an unsolicited, but greatly appreciated, endorsement by the U.S. synchronized swim team. Soon after, all the U.S. swim teams were wearing Island Slipper sandals at their meets. Carpenter says the teams actually paid the company for the sandals. However, licensing deals soon put an end to the free publicity, but Carpenter says, “it was fun while it lasted and it got us great exposure.” It was during this run that Carpenter made some of his biggest mistakes, like shifting a portion of production offshore beginning in 2000. But that mistake led to his about-face epiphany: becoming a smaller, domesticbased maker of quality sandals that trades primarily on its rich Hawaiian heritage. While brands like Teva blew past Island Slipper, Carpenter decided that wasn’t his style of doing business. He believed bigger isn’t always better, and he preferred to run the business without outside investors or partners. Act III: Much of this current period involves Carpenter’s commitment to one day passing the reins over to his son and daughter-in-law and, perhaps, even to their son. It’s an exit strategy that’s still in the distance, but

Particularly with smaller-sized businesses, succession plans can be difficult and even result in their demise. I agree. That’s why we have built in very strong tenets as to who we are, why we do business the way we do and what our brand represents. My family knows that history well so they hopefully won’t make some of the

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O&A mistakes that I did. Also, I have one child, so in some ways it makes this transitioning process pretty simple. And let me add that he made a great choice in marriage. She is a brilliant woman. It’s been fun to have them come aboard. What do you attribute the company’s recent run of success to most? It’s a combination of factors: improved product development, remaining true to who we are as a brand and a company, and the addition of our retail component. The latter has been extremely successful. (Both stores are located on Oahu; the first opened in 2004 in a Ward Center and the second opened in an upscale shopping center near Waikiki beach a few years later.) Are there any particular reasons as to why the stores have performed so well? First off, as one of the last remaining manufacturers of slippers in Hawaii—an iconic aspect of our culture—it makes our stores truly unique and a destination. People who travel to Hawaii love to experience authentic aspects of the culture. Our product and our brand story fulfill that desire. The locals appreciate it as well. It’s part of the whole ‘shop local’ movement. Another reason has to do with our expanded product offering. We have styles that are suitable in traditional resort shops as well as fashion boutiques in places like New York and Tokyo. It has enabled us to fill an entire store with just our brand and appeal to a wide range of customers, spanning men and women, young and old. Most factory brands are not able to do that. It requires craftsmen who possess many skills with regards to fit, last construction and cutting. Our employees sometimes are working on 20 different styles in a single day. While it makes our jobs difficult, it’s also another point of uniqueness for Island Slipper. Also, the stores serve as incubators for testing new products that feature unique fabrics. On occasion, these styles have sold well, which we then add into the collection for wholesale distribution. The ability to come up with an idea, make it, test it in our store and watch the reaction has been invaluable for us. Might you open concept stores beyond Hawaii? Personally, I don’t see it as one of my endeavors. But for the next generation, it’s an option for growth. In the meantime, it’s unique to Hawaii and we can do plenty of business here. More importantly, I will not change the wholesale distribution focus of our company because, to me, that’s part of being, quote unquote, a real brand. Also, the stores increase the demands on our factory, which presents challenges. It’s not like we would outsource product. We have to make it here. You aren’t in danger of maxing out production capacity any time soon, even at 20 percent-plus annual growth of late? We have room to keep expanding production here for the foreseeable future. Regardless, I’ve already learned the mistake of moving production offshore and making Island Slipper and private label goods for the likes of Macy’s, Costco and West Marine. That led to one of the real turning points for me in our history. It was spurred by a random call I received from a customer in Florida. This fisherman told me how he’d worn our product for years and always loved it but his most recent pair (made in China) wasn’t of the same quality. It made me change our entire business model. I decided I didn’t want us to be an offshore contractor primarily servicing large retailers and the production issues that come along with that approach. While it made our lives very difficult at

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the onset, we made a conscious effort to pull that part of the business off the table. How exactly did that impact your sales? It was a huge loss at first. It was a gutsy, gutsy move. But I have seen time again how the same product from a brand one year to the next year can change dramatically for the worse. I didn’t want that to be the case for Island Slipper. Everyone says you can’t stay in business unless you shift production overseas, and pretty much everybody has done exactly that. But what would be the effect if the auto industry decided to follow suit? How is it we can still make cars, but we can’t make shoes in this country? It’s ridiculous. Well, public companies claim to have valid reasons. Of course, companies grow, they go public, they get investors that demand better returns, production demands and logistics change dramatically, etc. I made a conscious decision not to go down that road. If I did, what would have been the difference between Island Slipper and Reef, Scott, Teva and everyone else manufacturing in China? There would be absolutely no difference. We’d be just another brand name. Plus, we would be up against much bigger companies that would have probably required us to take on investors in order to remain competitive. Instead, we went the opposite route and tied Island Slipper to its rich heritage as a domestic-based maker of quality products. It was a way to market our brand as being unique. It’s one of the reasons why our stores feature pictures of our employees working in our factory. It’s an interesting aspect about our company. You can’t go into too many stores these days

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and see pictures of the people who actually made the products being sold there. Hawaii presents a great branding opportunity. It has tremendous recognition. It evokes a good feeling for millions of consumers. It’s also why plenty of other brands try and connect to those positives. However, few of those brands are actually headquartered in Hawaii and none of them, when it comes to footwear, manufacture here. How does that really make them Hawaiian? They may do a great marketing job, but they’re not genuine. We view those brands more like Astroturf. Consumers today increasingly seek authenticity in their purchases. Yes, especially for discerning people who don’t want to buy just stuff. Their space and budgets may be limited so they are more conscious about what they are buying. They are doing more research about a brand than the person who runs to the local store and buys whatever is on sale. That’s where Island Slipper can shine because we possess that history and make a quality product. There’s an authentic story attached. Did you foresee the “shop local” and “Made in the U.S.A.” trends coming on? Not exactly, but when I got out of importing I realized that was going to define exactly who we were going forward. I had also received a sign (literally) from a locally made swimwear brand that had a billboard in Japan stating, “Last Year Made in Hawaii.” My Japanese distributor said it would probably be the last year Japanese customers will be interested in buying that brand. Basically, if you want to kill your brand in Japan, make it in China. So it was a combination of all these things that made me realize that there’s value to this domestically produced model. And now >47

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THE EUROPEAN REPORT: SPRING ’15 New dates and a new concept, a revamped GDS show whets retailers’ appetites with a smorgasbord of spring trends. By Lyndsay McGregor


GDS Gets a Makeover

HEN KIRSTIN DEUTELMOSER, director of Germany’s international shoe fair GDS, decided it was time to reboot the biannual event’s format, she didn’t have to look too far for inspiration. The show’s host, Düsseldorf, provided the perfect blueprint. Like most thriving metropolises, the city’s shopping districts are clearly segmented into three main zones: a hip area filled with edgy stores and indie upstarts where the future of fashion is incubated; a high-end hub where the well-shod shop big name brands; and main street, home to the ever-ringing registers of fast fashion. With this in mind, along with earlier seasonal dates (The spring edition had traditionally been scheduled at the tail end of the buying season in midSeptember.), organizers unveiled a new concept featuring more than 900 brands on display and visitors from more than 100 countries at the most recent show, held July 30 to Aug. 1. Billed as a kick-off event for shoes and accessories, Deutelmoser says the idea behind the revised format is to whet people’s appetites for new product. “A leading trade show should bring together the whole sector and create enthusiasm for the next season by giving the right information to buyers so they can be prepared,” she says, noting that the old setup was stale because buyers had already seen the collections at other shows. “We wanted to create an environment where exhibitors had the ability to really showcase something new,” she adds. Split into three groupings, exhibitors were spread out across Pop-Up (up-and-comers), High Street (tried-and-true collections presented in storefront-inspired booths) and Studio (boutique brands). Several companies, including Caprice, Porsche Design, Maypol and Bugatti, held product presentations at their booths, while Birkenstock, Highline United, Clarks and Camel Active showcased their spring collections on the catwalk. In addition, the likes of Lacoste, Gant and Marc O’Polo returned to GDS after long absences. “For them, it was always a matter of timing. They were totally clear about that. With the late date that we had before, they said they would never come back because they needed to show earlier,” Deutelmoser shares, adding that these companies also inspired the store-like booths as they didn’t want to preview their collections in closed stands. “We strongly believe that it’s important for the shoe sector to do more storytelling and really do something to inspire the consumer, and to inspire the consumer


we need to first inspire the retailers,” she offers. Also on-site to inspire was Tag It!, a new show for private label shoes and accessories with 370 companies spanning brand names to high-volume bargains. And more than 100 fashion bloggers were invited to attend the final day of the show, getting the chance to check out the Spring ’15 trends at Shoedition, a fashion blogger “cafe” operated in cooperation with German online magazine, Styleranking, and watch a runway show styled by fellow social media stars featuring footwear from Inuovo, Minnetonka, Peter Kaiser, Jeffrey Campbell and Högl. “Bloggers are getting more and more important because they are a direct connection to the consumer,” Deutelmoser says. Consumers got a chance to enjoy the show, too, thanks to the first-ever Out of the Box festival. In an effort to connect Düsseldorf to GDS, lectures, shopping promotions and workshops as well as events in galleries and bars celebrated shoes all over town. Oversize pumps were dotted around the city as part of the “Supersize Me” exhibition by Spanish artists, a walk-in shoe box on Schadowplatz showcased surreal designs by Ohne Titel and recycling bins encouraged consumers to donate their old shoes to charity. So how did the industry take to the revamped show? While a visitor survey revealed that 50 percent of attendees came to GDS with the intention of placing orders, some exhibitors were disappointed with the overall traffic. Kevin Sefton, founder of British brand Govan Originals, would have liked to see more international buyers. “They just didn’t materialize,” he says, “But those visitors who saw our shoes really liked them and saw something fresh and exciting.” Rachael Laine, European distributor for Salt-Water Sandals, told a similar tale. “It was really well organized and we loved the layout but it was quiet,” she says. It’s an issue the GDS team knew it might run into. “We were aware that the early dates would come with special challenges, which is why we expected visitor attendance to drop slightly,” admits Werner Matthias Dornscheidt, president and CEO of Messe Düsseldorf, but he’s confident that attendance at future shows will increase. Along those lines, attendees of the upcoming Fall ’15 edition of GDS (slated for Feb. 4-6, 2015) can expect to see improvements and tweaks to the new format. “There are a lot of little details to be optimized, that’s for sure. And we are really looking for special exhibitors that we’re missing,” says Deutelmoser, adding, “One thing that has become clear after this event: Due to the earlier dates of GDS, many retailers will decide at the trade show which suppliers they will take into consideration for future orders, so it will be key for exhibitors to present themselves perfectly.”

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Sign s o f Spr in g A season rich in retro styling that cruises mainly through the ’70s. Sharper Image

Shine Bright

All signs point to tapered toes next season as designers embrace leglengthening silhouettes. Pointed pumps in sherbet shades add a dash of panache to ladylike ensembles, while slingbacks and pop art prints shake up the demure shape and sultry cutouts lend a hint of peek-a-boo chic.

This ain’t no disco, but mirrorlike metallics and iridescent finishes worthy of a glitzy night at Studio 54 will take center stage next season. Brands like Clarks and Ash put the pedal to the metal with Space Age-inspired slingbacks and sandals, while Ara’s silver toecaps and heels on hot pink flats prompt some serious reflection. Elsewhere, threedimensional holograms add a colorful kick to sneakers and slides, and matte details lend a subdued tone to pointy pumps for a daytime friendly approach to the futuristic trend.


Apepazza Parisian Parc

Mia Jahn

Peter Kaiser

White Out Designers have tacked thick, white rubber soles to the bottom of the season’s most ubiquitous styles, be they slip-on sneakers or footbed sandals. The statement sole adds a pristine underbelly to a bevy of uppers, from juicy patents at Birkenstock and shiny silvers at Clarks to marbled leathers at Ash and chalky suedes at Inuovo.




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Slip Kicks Once the silo of choice for diehard skaters and surfers, the slip-on continues its crossover renaissance for spring. Recent runway shows have seen the likes of Céline and Dior channel their creative energies into the humble sneaker and mainstream brands have fervently followed their lead. The latest take on slip-on plimsolls spans snake and animal prints to bold blossoms and soft suedes.

Marc O’Polo


Snake Bit


Chunky Treats

Ted Baker

Long favored by grannies the world over, the chunky heel has stepped into fashion for next spring, albeit with a few sartorial updates like a thick platform, chic ankle straps and some serious height. The midi style can be found stabilizing everything from summer boots to caged sandals to ladylike Mary Janes done up in a mélange of materials. Metallic rands toughen up sexy snakeskin ankle boots, and lug soles add some downtown flair to ’70s-esque silhouettes.

Next year is the Year of the Sheep according to the Chinese zodiac, but Spring ’15 is undoubtedly the season of the snake as a plethora of python— both real and faux— slithers its way onto silhouettes of all sorts. The untamed pattern turns up in vivid hues on men’s desert boots, oxfords and sneakers, and women’s espadrilles get a glamorous makeover with shimmering thread winding its way through blush toned uppers.


Fred de la Bretoniere

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Fit to Print

Go West Short silhouettes with stacked heels stomp through spring collections as designers head west for inspiration. But if fall’s western revival screamed “Annie Get Your Gun,” the latest reboot skews more California cowgirl, with a corral of Coachella-worthy looks. Camel-colored suede puts a more sedate spin on the trend while lengthy leather fringe accents ankleheight boots and python injects rockinspired appeal. The trend includes Native American- and Aztec-inspired colors, geometric prints and oversized turquoise stones.



On the Run

Camel Active


Retro joggers run wild for men and women alike next season. But while the classic kicks might look like something straight out of Bruce Jenner’s closet circa the ’70s, these trainers will never see a racetrack. Available in a kaleidoscope of color-blocking combos and prints, these updated iterations go for gold with holographic details, mesh accents, double soles and watercolor floral uppers.

CRISS CROSS: Though ankle straps are everywhere for spring, crisscross styles offer a more flattering alternative, with looks ranging from skinny leather ones on lowheeled sandals to a wider version on slides and chunky platform sandals. JUST SLING IT: Designers take a stab at slingbacks next season, presenting the perfect compromise between a pointed pump and a sandal. The ladylike silhouette gets a modern makeover with geometric-printed uppers paired with contrasting heels, while patent wedges, colorful kitten heels and comfy flats convey a contemporary quality. FLAT OUT: Ever the outsider, flatforms make another bid for fame. Part wedge and part flat, these elevated steppers make a more fashion-forward statement than footbed sandals or mules. This time around the thick sole graces the underside of men’s oxfords and women’s double-strap sandals as well as sneakers for both genders. HOW LOW: Shoved aside by smoking slippers and loafers in recent seasons, the classic ballerina flat looks to make a comeback for spring. The French favorite has seeped back into the fashion zeitgeist via Saint Laurent, Isabel Marant and A.P.C., and footwear brands have taken note. Many collections included upgraded takes on the basic ballerina in a wealth of materials and prints. PRETTY UGLY: Since making its high-fashion debut in the Spring ’13 collections of Céline and Giambattista Valli, the humble footbed sandal has been reborn as a fashion do for next spring. Leaving its hippy backpacker roots in the rearview mirror, the slip-on style now comes on a variety of bottoms spanning wedges to platforms, with double-strap and thong uppers made over in denim, patent and suede. COLOR RUN: Every men’s dress brand worth its suede is playing in the paint box next season. Emboldened by the overwhelming popularity of Crayola colored outsoles, designers are stepping things up a notch and injecting the uppers of wingtips and oxfords with shots of cobalt blue, kelly green and raspberry red. 2014 september • 21

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L ABOR OF LOVE Here’s the story of how Dee Reid left a successful pharmaceutical sales career to jump head first into shoe retailing with the opening of Heels & Hobos in Corning, NY, and—a little over a year later—couldn’t be any happier with her life-altering decision. B Y TA R A A N N E DA L B O W

EE REID SPENT eight years in the pharmaceutical business before her “windshield time” led her to believe that she sought a different destination than that of a lifetime in pharmaceutical sales. Having survived the many waves of layoffs prompted by the economic crash in 2008, she watched as her team dwindled down to one: Reid was the last (wo)man standing. It was during that stressful time on long solo drives to industry conferences that she began reassessing what she wanted to be when she grew up. Every time, when Reid answered herself honestly, she arrived at the desire of working with shoes in some capacity. A self-proclaimed footwear fanatic, her passion for shoes happened to align perfectly with Corning, NY, her upstate hometown and its desperate need for a fashionable shoe store. Tired of having to drive for hours to shop for her own needs and wants, Reid’s desire to open a shoe boutique was met with equal fanfare from family, friends and strangers alike. “A niche needed to be filled,” she says. It was the fall of 2012 and Reid set about turning her dream into a real-

ity. Armed with a solid business and sales background, Reid was also smart enough to solicit expert help. She sought someone who could give detailed advice on how to launch a shoe store. Reid reached out to Elizabeth Rounds, owner of Elizabeth’s Shoes in Binghamton, NY, an hour’s drive from Corning, in search of guidance. The pair hit it off and a mentoring relationship quickly developed. “She showed me the ins and outs of opening a business,” says Reid. “She was an integral force in my success, especially when it came to weeding through shoe company after shoe company.” Rounds, who has been in the business for more than 28 years, introduced Reid to vendors as well as taught her the industry lingo. She also helped write the Heels & Hobos business plan. “She made sure that I was going into it with my eyes open,” Reid notes. Heels & Hobos, a name that came to Reid during one of her long drives, opened its doors on Corning’s Market Street in March of 2013—three months after the bank approved her business loan the week before the holidays. A “gift” as Reid now calls it. Market Street, what Reid describes as the perfect location, features an array of independent retail shops that work together to put their best foot forward, including a visual merchandise team to help set up display widows. “I received so much support from the (association) alone,” she says.

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Game On It’s one thing to dream about opening your own shoe store. It’s another thing to spend months planning for it and trying to prepare for all possible scenarios to ensure success. But the day the doors actually open for business is when the real learning takes place. That was surely the case for Reid. “You think you know everything when you open the doors that first day, but you don’t,” she confirms. Reid says that retail is nothing if not a daily challenge. It forces her to think on her feet and adapt quick, or face the consequences. “It’s all the uncontrollable factors,” says Reid of the adversity she faced during her first year in business, citing the long, cold winter and the shaky economy as major obstacles. For example, what began as an exclusively shoe and handbag store quickly expanded into a one-stop shop offering a variety of women’s accessory needs. “We evolved to provide other items that would keep people coming in the door,” she says. Heels & Hobos now features a full selection of jewelry, hosiery and socks. Specifically, the long winter followed by a short summer forced Reid to give customers who weren’t looking to buy a new pair of sandals just yet a reason to shop. “Especially with the absence of a breakout trend that women felt the need to run out and buy,” she adds. Reid lists buying and trend predictions as the most challenging facets of her new career. “It’s all about figuring out what the next big The Heels thing is, and moving within & Hobos selection lies that trend,” she says. “Shoes at a halfway are like clothes in that claspoint sic fashions will always be in between style, but you have to make high-fashion and highsure you have enough new comfort. items that get women excited about buying a new pair of shoes.” Reid says she caters to her customers by adapting and adjusting trends to fit their tastes. Take the sensible comfort sandal trend (think Birkenstock) that has been sweeping the nation of late: Though her customer is interested in enjoying the benefits of a comfortable footbed sandal, she knows they aren’t going to go for the full-on crunchy granola look. Reid’s solution: A Donald Pliner sandal, reminiscent of a Birkenstock, but with a crystal-embellished upper that makes the shoe more fashion forward. “I have to be very careful,” says Reid when deciding how she’s going to toe the line between on-trend and what works for her customer. “Especially in this day and age, when you can wear whatever you want and still look fashionable, buying decisions are difficult.” Reid knows her clients to the letter. She’s done her homework and it doesn’t hurt that she is her own customer, too. “I am always looking for a shoe I would wear myself,” she says. Along those lines, when buying for a season Reid keeps every aspect of her customer in mind, from their professions to the surfaces they walk most on. “I love to be in a sexy pair of shoes, but women have to work,” she explains. “I cater to professional women, and that means nurses and teachers who are on their feet all day.” As such Reid keeps the selection of heel heights under four inches and makes sure that each shoe is walkable on the cobble stone sidewalks surrounding her store. You won’t see her customers sporting “Jesus-style” sandals, but you won’t see them in towering stilettoes either. “A shoe has to add up in equal quantities of comfort, fashion and price,” she says, adding, “If a shoe costs $200 and it looks good and feels good, my customer won’t blink an eye.” Heels & Hobos’ selection is best described as fashionable comfort, a halfway point between high-fashion and high-comfort. Styles run the gamut from professional to cool casual. Reid also includes a few laidback options. Currently, the store carries 10 brands, including Sofft, Eric Michael, Nina Shoes, Chooka and her best seller, Donald Pliner. A majority of the selection is made up of brands most consumers are familiar with, but if the right,

possibly more obscure, brand comes along with something special, Reid will take the risk and introduce her customers to something new. She even goes so far as to solicit customer requests on her website for brands they would like added to the mix. For this fall, Reid is bringing in a selection of shooties, ankle boots, riding boots, wedges and heeled Mary Janes.

At Your Service Beyond the carefully curated selection and the rich interior design that has shoes and handbags displayed in white shadowbox cases amid a décor of crystal chandeliers, plush benches and large hanging mirrors, Reid credits a great deal of her initial success to topnotch customer service. She says it’s been the differentiator. “We offer personalized, one-on-one service,” Reid notes. “We really get to know our customers.” Heels & Hobos utilizes a POS capture system that stores shopper’s details: Everything from shoe size to heel height and color preferences are saved to ensure a more seamless and specialized experience during future visits. “We want the customer to have the best possible experience every time they enter the store, and for us that means going above and beyond to make sure their needs are met,” she adds. Putting the customers’ needs first means nothing is off the table. From opening the store early to accommodate a client’s travel plans to offering a loyalty card that allows for future discounts, Heels & Hobos is at its shoppers’ service. “We really develop our client relationships,” says Reid. “In many cases they become friendships.” That hospitality has translated into a strong client base that not only comes in to shop, but also just to say hello. Heels & Hobos also offers customers a chance to schedule an after hours shoe party for their friends that includes drinks and finger foods. Reid’s commitment to exceptional customer service extends beyond the sales floor. Having fostered close relations with her vendors, she is able to get an out of stock size or style for a customer in as soon as a day in some instances. This is crucial in an age when anyone can order a shoe off the Internet and opt for free overnight shipping. “When I can find a specific style for my customer where they can walk out the door with it that day or tomorrow means I’m doing my job,” Reid notes, adding that servicing her customers is the favorite part of her job. “When they leave happy, I am happy,” she says. To achieve that goal, Reid spends a majority of her time in the store. “It’s a 24-7 job,” she notes. Whether she’s sweeping the floor or counting inventory by hand, there is always something to be done. But on the rare occasion that she isn’t there a highly capable staff fills the void. “It takes a village to run a business,” she offers. “Open communication gives me the opportunity to grow.”

So Far, So Good This past March Heels & Hobos celebrated a successful first year with a visit from New York Senator Kristen Gillibrand. Sales this summer are up 30 percent over last year and Reid is already looking to open a second store. It’s in a community that, like Corning did, has an unmet shoe boutique need. “But it’s like sending a child off to college, we are taking it slow and doing all our homework,” Reid says. In the meantime, Heels & Hobos has already received two awards, including an SBA for Excellence in Small Business, an award that Reid jokes is as pretty as a Grammy. Kidding aside, Reid is proud of her store’s early success but is fully aware there’s lots of work to be done to be able to thrive long-term. “It was a successful first year in the sense that I met wonderful people and learned a lot,” she says. And it’s a labor of love. “If your passion is your career it won’t feel like a job,” she says, adding one must try and maintain a sense of humor even when times get tough. “When I go into the store I think, ‘I am going to have the best day I can possibly have because I love it.’” • 2014 september • 23

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what w hat ’s se lli n g s ur f s pe c i a lt y



FTER A TRIP to Hawaii with his parents at age 13, Kelly Sorensen fell in love with surfing. The lifestyle, the water, the waves—he wanted it all. And he added the selling of surf apparel, accessories and footwear to that list when he met Mike Locatelli, owner of Portola Surf Shop, in Santa Cruz, CA. The pair hit it off, and when Sorensen was 20 years old, they opened up their own store, On the Beach Surf Shop in nearby Carmel, CA. With parents who owned an auto parts store, Sorensen had some retail experience and bloodlines, but the family business didn’t get his motor running. “Working at my parents’ store was not for me,” he recalls, adding that school was also not high on his list of interests. “I finally built up the courage to open my own store,” he adds. Sorensen took over as sole owner of On the Beach in 1989 and opened up the Monterey location four years later, eventually closing the doors on the Carmel store in 1999. Now, Sorensen says the 6,000-square-foot store has become a “legitimate destination.” With beach sand on the floor, bamboo poles and an overall tropical theme, the veteran surf retailer says On the Beach’s “timeless look” attracts tourists and locals alike in search of an authentic California experience. “People want to spend their money in a real-deal, lifestyle surf shop,” he maintains. —Samantha Sciarrotta How’s business of late? Any surprises or disappointments this summer? Business has been kind of flat. The surf industry is going through kind of a hiccup—it’s not as popular as it has been. With chain stores and the Internet, customers don’t need to go to the beach to get beach clothing. You don’t forget the big boys, but we need to put the “special” back into specialty retailing by focusing on some new brands, like Salty Crew and Depactus. How are your footwear sales, in particular? Again, a little down with chain stores like Tilly’s taking a bite. There are just more people selling the same stuff, and our own vendors selling online doesn’t help; we’re competing against the brands we’re trying to support. It’s just a new environment for doing business. What are your top selling shoe brands? Ugg, Reef and Toms, though the latter is definitely on the downswing. OluKai and Freewaters are selling well, too. What is your store’s go-to shoe brand and why? Vans is still hitting it pretty hard, Adidas and even Converse. They’re all casual, but if you throw a pair on with khakis, they give you a cool outfit. And Ugg is a staple just because of where we are located. We’ve been selling the brand since we opened, when they used to only be available in surf shops. Are you looking to expand your footwear assortment? By what category or gender? We’re getting back into women’s shoes. What is the breakdown between male and female shoe customers? Might one be gaining share and why? Women dominate because the Ugg business is so huge, but if you cut that out, it would be 70 percent men. As far as sandals, it’s 50-50.

Do your locals have any unique shoe preferences that differ from other beach communities? It’s kind of the same across the board. Vans sell well. We just brought back Sperry Top-Siders. It’s all beach-driven. How significant is your local clientele to your business? Our local clientele accounts for 80 percent of our business. We’ve been voted the No. 1 surf shop in Monterey for 20 years in a row. We sponsor local events, put on skate competitions and hold snowboarding trips throughout the year. How would you describe the overall mood of your customers right now? Definitely cautious. Everybody wants the best value for their dollar now. Years ago, a lot of people had play money. Now, they live within their means. And it’s the same with us: we’re not buying like we used to, and we’re buying closer to season. The good news is… There’s been a lot of fun surf! Seriously, we’ve cut a lot of inventory, about $150,000 worth, including our entire snowboard selection. We’re trying to get a jump on what’s hot instead of having to sell stock. The bad news is… There’s so much online and chain store competition, and it’s hurting the mom-and-pops. What is the biggest challenge facing your business? The Internet. Customers can find anything at their fingertips, at any time. If you could change one thing about your store this year, what would it be? I wish I had more time to go surfing! Other than that, I don’t think I’d change anything. I’m really happy with where the store is at this year.

24 • september 2014

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Fall 2014 Available Now FOP_Sept2014.indd 23

8/23/14 1:30 PM





On Point Look sharp in pointy toe flats. 1. White Mountain 2. Sperry Top-Sider 3. Reef

26 • september 2014

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High Times Platforms kick these casuals up a notch. Ruthie Davis


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Left to right: Suede espadrille slip-ons by Artola; Hari Mari flip-flops.

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Left to right: Reef canvas sneakers; leather boat shoes by Ruosh.

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Canvas slip-on by Cougar.

Ariat cork wedge.

Very Volatile huarache flat.

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Left to right: Dr. Scholl’s Original Collection slides; OTBT canvas thong sandals; Island Slipper flip-flops; Sperry Top-Sider espadrilles. 35

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Espadrille flat by Tommy Bahama. Opposite: Teva woven leather sandals.

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Cushe flip-flops. 38

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Left to right: Leather tennis shoes by Patrick; A.P.C. leather sneakers with United Legwear socks.

Left to right: MInnetonka moccasins; flipflops by Ocean Minded.


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Dansko platform sandal.

Toms printed chambray lace-up.


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Keds canvas criss-cross slides. Fashion Editor: Tara Anne Dalbow Stylist: Nancy Campbell Hair and Makeup: Briana Mirzo 41

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Wood Shop Chunky wood platforms take sandals to ’70s-inspired heights.



Terhi Pölkki

NORDIC QUEST owners and workers, and I enjoy my development trips to Portugal,” she says. Today, Terhi Pölkki is carried at the likes of Juno & Jove in Sarasota, FL, Need Supply Co. in Richmond, VA, and Rube in Amagansett, NY. For Spring ’15, she has teamed up with Sydney-based illustrator Grant Cowan on a hand-painted print that adds an eccentric flourish to her simple silhouettes. Elsewhere in the collection, sand-toned gladiator sandals and unlined lace-ups in thick vegetal leather conjure the ’70s, and pointed toe pumps appear for the first time. “I am not trying to appeal to any one age group,” Polkki offers. “My target customer is any woman who wants shoes that look cool and stylish and who likes that they’re made from sustainable materials.” —Lyndsay McGregor What is your first shoe memory? I got beautiful red and white patent lace-ups when I was 3 and I didn’t want to take them off—not even when I was going to bed.

Sbicca Vintage

Swedish Hasbeens


Who is your style icon? Phoebe Philo and Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine. Which celebrities would you like to see in one of your designs? Julianne Moore, Sarah Jessica Parker and Duma Miroslava. Where do you like to shop? I like matchesfashion. com. New York is also a great place to shop; Bird [in Brooklyn] is one of my favorite stores. What shoe must every woman have in her closet? One great pair of heels, flats like lace-ups, sneakers for daily wear and wooden clogs for work. What is the best part of your job? I love visiting the factory. That is where all the shoe magic happens. The smell of leather and craftsmanship of the employees is inspiring.



AS A YOUNG girl growing up in Finland, Terhi Pölkki dreamed of one day working in fashion. But it was only after getting a weekend job at a shoe store that she realized she wasn’t only interested in hemlines, but rather what lay south of them. “I began to appreciate that shoes are more fascinating objects than garments,” she recalls. This newfound interest led to her calling a local shoe factory looking for work experience, and the opportunity to see firsthand how shoes are made was all it took to seal her career fate. She completed her B.A. in Finland and shortly after packed off to England to do a Masters in footwear design at the prestigious Cordwainers at London College of Fashion. Upon graduating in 2008, her final collection, made of ecological Finnish reindeer leather, was chosen as a finalist in the renowned International Talent Support competition, and a few months later she was awarded Young Shoe Designer of the Year in her native Finland. Clearly, Pölkki had a knack for shoe design, but rather than strike out on her own, she chose to first spend three years working for high street brands in the U.K. The chance to closely watch mass production in China, India and Brazil was nothing like what she had seen at that small Finnish shoe factory and, in October 2011, she launched her eponymous label. “I felt that if I was doing my own line I could make a difference in production and materials,” says the Helsinki-based designer. That’s why she makes her minimalismmeets-edgy shoes in Portugal using only vegetabletanned leather, cork and wood. “I know the factory 42 • september 2014

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matters,” he says. “It reinforces the comfort aspects.” Retail consultant Bob Grayson cites Ugg as a perfect example. “When you look at the presentation of Ugg in stores, you really get to experience the brand,” he says. “You can’t quite achieve the look and feel of what they’re offering shopping on a website.” And then there are the people you meet in stores. While features like live customer service chats and help accounts on social networks like Twitter are becoming increasingly available, nothing compares to the face-to-face assistance from a polite and qualified sales associate. “What people are missing is that personal experience,” says Sarah Ray, owner of True Love Shoes & Accessories in Denver. “People enjoy the input of a salesperson, certainly a salesperson who knows what they’re talking about.” She adds, “Online businesses try to replicate that, but nothing’s going to replace a person talking to you, asking you what the night’s plans are, figuring out what shoe will go with your outfit.” Ray notes that her staff goes “above and beyond” when it comes to making selections for its customers, and she believes that is what keeps them coming back. “If they’re not asking for something specific, it’s our job to figure out what they really need,” she offers. “We’re always hands-on and helping people. I don’t treat it like ‘whatever happens, happens.’” It’s especially helpful, she notes, compared with the limitless browsing often associated with online shopping. “When you’re in the market for something specific, that can get tedious,“ she says. “A customer doesn’t know the details of every shoe. That’s our job.” Ray adds, “There are all kinds of funnels when you’re searching online, but nothing compares to walking into a store and saying, ‘This is what I’m doing. What do you have for me?’” Other sensory advantages brick-and-mortar retailers can wield to their advantage involve sight, smell and even taste. These are lures an Internet retailer can’t do or cannot do well. Eye-popping décor, plush fitting areas, a dazzling curated selection and added touches like a complimentary cappuccino bar. Or, in the case of New York retailer Olive and Bettes’ recent sum-

mer-themed taste bud-tempting incentive: free hot dogs and s’mores while you shop. The ability to appease and entice all five senses at once remains a distinct and enormous point of differentiation compared to online retailers. Honore uses her sensory advantages with offerings like personal shopping and style consultations, which are often a matter of convenience. “It helps the working woman and the stay-at-home mom look their best,” she notes. “They don’t always have time for extras. Being able to shop for them sets us apart.” Shoe Fetagé also hosts after-hours shopping parties for customers that include wine and cheese, discounts and store credit for the party planner. All of these bonus services, says Honore, work towards a single goal: Encouraging customers to come back into the store. The stronger the bond with the customer, the more likely she is to trust your eye as a retailer—and the more likely she’ll be a frequent buyer, Honore explains. “My (retail) philosophy is retention,” she states. “We have a lot of repeat customers, and it’s all due to offering quality customer service and quality product. If I provide them with the ultimate experience, they’ll not only come back, but they’ll send other people my way, too.” Lignugaris also stresses the importance of building strong customer relationships, crediting her “loyal following” with keeping her in business since 2002. Keeping her store fresh by adding new departments and even small product segments like nail polish has also been key. But she cites the faceto-face interaction with her sales team as her store’s biggest advantage compared to Internet dealers. “I always stress the importance of engaging and getting to know the customer,” she offers. “I want her to be able to come in and quickly tell us what she’s looking for so we can pull the items because we know her style and size.” Though Lignugaris knows online shopping isn’t going anywhere, she remains confident that brick-and-mortar stores will not go the way of the dodo bird. “There are plenty of people who still want to go into a store,” she surmises. •

2014 Annual Gala Tuesday, December 2, 2014 Come together with footwear industry leaders to celebrate 75 years of shoepeople helping shoepeople. Annual Gala Chair: Ken C. Hicks, Foot Locker, Inc. Honoring Timothy O’Donovan with the Bob Campbell Lifetime Achievement Award

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8/28/14 10:53 AM


No Doubter Gwen Stefani debuts her latest footwear collection with Titan Industries.

SINCE LAUNCHING HER first fashion footwear line, L.A.M.B., in 2004, with Titan Industries, Gwen Stefani’s footwear, fashion and accessories collections have seen many a trend come and go—but the No Doubt singer and soon-tobe star of “The Voice” points out that she’s never abandoned her core aesthetic. “You’ll always see some constant sources of inspiration in everything I work on: A little punk, a little tribal, a lot of sexy and a lot of attitude.” In her new collection, GX by Gwen Stefani, it’s especially prevalent, though new materials and styles add a fresh flair. The line, available in stores like Nordstrom for Spring ’15 after launching exclusively on earlier this year, differs from L.A.M.B.’s typical offerings in the materials used, says Stefani. “For L.A.M.B., we use a lot of beautiful but expensive leathers,” she states. “GX tries to bring the same aesthetic at a more affordable price point by using really great vegan PU, while still keeping a luxe look and a very stylish product.” Featuring sporty details like laced-up sandals and baseball-esque stitching, the shoes stay feminine with silhouettes like skinny stilettos, towering gladiator sandals and pretty wedges with winding straps, though Stefani notes that comfort is not sacrificed, citing the “very sexy yet comfortable heels” as one of the collection’s highlights. “They are slightly lower than the old days, but they still look great,” she adds. Neutrals and pops of neon dominate the palette, though yellows and other brights can be seen throughout. “I love the tribal influences, the black and white graphic feeling and the color mash-up,” she says, noting the high-heeled booties as one of her favorites in the collection. GX also includes structured purses in colors that complement the shoes. “The line is super exciting,” Stefani offers. “It’s a luxurious mashup of great colors, textures and materials. The mix is what’s key.” And with a suggested retail price range of $59 to $119, Stefani adds, “We can reach a lot more people and have fun with fashion without breaking the bank.” —Samantha Sciarrotta

Durango’s Darling Country singer Sarah Darling bows a boot collection.

AFTER BEING FEATURED in Durango’s 2013 print campaign, country singer Sarah Darling “fell in love” with the brand’s slouchy boot. So much so, in fact, that she jumped at the chance to design her own pair for Durango’s most recent holiday collection. “The slouchy boot was plain and a little more distressed,” she recalls. “I loved that.” The partnership has since blossomed into a capsule collection for Spring ’15. Along with Durango’s design team, the singer, who recently appeared on “Rising Star,” moved from the ground up, selecting leathers, colors and designs. “Whatever I had in my head, they said, ‘Okay, let’s talk about

it,’” Darling says. Together, they crafted four pairs, two of which made the cut. “It’s a good problem to have. We loved everything we came up with,” she notes. Coming in a sandy brown hue, the Sunflower Slouch boot is made with a vintage, worn-in look in mind. The 2 1/4–inch heel and cushion-flex insole keeps feet comfortable, while hand-drawn sunflowers and stems at the top of the boot’s shaft offer a girly twist to a traditional silhouette. “Details like the flowers around the edge of the boots are a big part of my personality,” Darling offers. “I think that turned out beautifully. Girls are going to love that one.” Bedecked with neon coral piping, the 14-inch Darling Coral boot lives up to its name. The accents, leather and style are more reminiscent of a standard cowboy boot, but the colors give way to a more modern flair. “I love that it’s bright, colorful and feminine,” Darling offers. “They’re different from Durango’s other boots.” She adds both boots, which wholesale from $88 to $102 and will be available on Durango’s website and in retailers nationwide, are “what I would love to see in a cowboy boot” and has also become an added labor of love. “It’s fun to see a piece of me attached to such an awesome brand,” she notes. “It’s much more fun when it’s your own design. They’ve really given me freedom to express myself.” The creative boost, Darling adds, crosses over into her performances: “Onstage, the boots make me feel amazing. Wearing a pair brings out that Iowa farm girl in me, and they make me feel beautiful.” —S.S.

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Mellow Out

IN AN INDUSTRY where feeling is believing, we make a big deal about a shoe that feels different the moment we slip it on. And Cushe, a division of Wolverine Worldwide, intends to make a shoe that does just that. “There is that wow factor from the moment you try them on,” Creative Director Martin Dean says of shoes fitted with the company’s latest comfort technology, Cushe Mellow. “In the past we were reliant on great design with basic foam technology. Now we are creating the designs based off the new advanced foam,’’ adds Dean. Cushe Mellow is a super light yet durable compound made up of a slow response foam footbed and a rubber-less foam outsole. The technology promises added cushioning and comfort without losing anything in the way of support and wear. It will be filtered into a range of Cushe’s spring offerings, including the new Kicks Collection. Inspired by the brand’s benchmark laidback style, the Cushe Slipper, the Kicks Collection features two styles, one for men (Getaway) and the women’s Shakra. The lace-up sneaker-slipper hybrid will be available in 10 different color and material

Cushe puts its most comfortable foot forward for Spring ’15.

combinations. “The style is a great vehicle for colors, prints and materials,” says Dean. For women, colors range from mauve to classic black and include a variety of printed patterns such as camo, while men’s styles lean more toward casual athletic with the inclusion of canvas and suede details. Both styles will wholesale for $37.50. Also new for spring is an expanded collection of sandals. Styles receive a rustic update with unlined leather uppers, jute molding and heat-embossed designs that give the sandals a handcrafted feel. Women’s silos also receive a little lift with a sculpted heel. Dean says the former U.K. brand has gone through a consolidation period since becoming a part of Wolverine Worldwide in 2009. “We wanted to offer a holistic package across the brand,” he notes. It’s a strategy that has led to increased growth in the U.S. as well as internationally. “It’s amazing to see the diversity of people wearing our shoes,” Dean adds. “I was blown away at Outdoor Retailer to see how widely appreciated our shoes have become.” —Tara Anne Dalbow

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8/22/14 3:50 PM


One-Click Wonder

Facebook tests out a “buy” button in its latest effort to help businesses boost sales through social media.

FACEBOOK: IT’S WHERE 1.2 billion users go to share vacation snaps, post TV spoilers and announce all sorts of life events. And soon the popular social network could be where consumers go to shop, too. In July, the Menlo Park, CA-based behemoth began piloting a “buy” button that lets users purchase products in ads or other posts from several e-tailers without leaving the site. “Much like its previous efforts with Facebook Stores, Facebook is attempting to insert itself as a premier middleman in the retail experience,” says Bola Awoniyi, research analyst at Econsultancy, referring to the social network’s first (failed) foray into e-commerce. He adds that the latest venture gives Facebook another way to monetize its vast user base while providing value for business owners, many of whom desperately want to move beyond “likes” and followers and begin making real money from their social media efforts. So how does it work? Rather than clicking away to a merchant’s site when an item piques their interest in their news feed, the buy button lets consumers complete the purchase entirely within Facebook’s walled garden in one click by using on-file payment details. As Linda Bustos, director of e-commerce research at Get Elastic, points out, this call-to-action button may be a preferred user experience, especially for mobile users, which could boost conversion rates and endear retailers to the social network and, in turn, encourage marketers to spend more on advertising. But, she adds, while retailers will likely welcome the enhanced feature, they may be less open to it depending on Facebook’s terms for inhouse transactions. The site isn’t taking a cut of sales during the beta stage, but it could eventually earn money on the feature by charging a fee or revenue share. Whether consumers will be comfortable using Facebook as a retail outlet remains to be seen. Despite the fact that users spend plenty of their time on the site already, the recent wave of cyber security breaches at companies like Target, Michaels and eBay have reduced consumer confidence. Shoppers could be wary of storing their credit card details on what is essentially a sharing platform, notes Awoniyi. Ina Steiner, editor of ecommercebytes. com, furthers this sentiment: “There’s a reason why Google doesn’t have a buy button in its ads—shoppers want to visit a detailed product listing page and see photos and reviews.” It may take time, but Awoniyi sees no reason why Facebook can’t eventually navigate its way into every crevice of consumer life. “Using data to understand where users are in the purchasing journey will be key to successfully implementing the buy button,” he says. —Lyndsay McGregor


Angela Gonzalez

main responsibility is to ensure we have the right product in the right amount at the right time for our customer,” she states. “I get to dive deeper into the business while analyzing trends—and still get to enjoy the customer interaction during our Holiday Helper program at the end of the year when we get to work the phones and help customers with their orders.” —L.M.

NOT MANY PEOPLE would admit to liking 100-plus degree weather, but for Zappos Assistant Buyer Angela Gonzalez, the scorching temperatures of the company’s Las Vegas home feel just fine. “I genuinely enjoy it!” laughs the former East Coaster, who moved to Sin City 10 years ago and has been with the e-commerce titan for almost three. A retail veteran, her career kicked off way back when as a sales associate on various shop floors and she gradually worked her way up to a leather goods management role at LVMH. But while she loved the daily customer interaction, over time she fell in love with the numbers side to the business; “the sales goals, margins, conversion, etc.,” she recalls. A segue into buying was inevitable and now Gonzalez is the special occasion and juniors footwear buyer for the fashion team at Zappos, working closely with vendors to make sure she is covering the items and trends that the brands feel are going to be hot in the upcoming season, as well as shopping the market to make sure she is staying in step with the latest trends and up-and-coming brands. “My

What is your buying philosophy? At Zappos, a coworker and I teach a class called the Art of Buying & Assortment Planning. Within the class we teach what metrics, reports and trend research to consider when putting together a buy. We also teach that being a buyer is an art. Not only are we taking into account the black and white of the numbers, but that it’s important to trust your natural instincts, too. I do as I teach. What are some of your key colors for Spring ’15? Blues, pastels, neutrals and a splash of red. What trend are you sick of seeing? Peplum anything: dresses, shirts, skirts, etc. I own my fair share but I will be retiring them until the trend decides to circle back. What do you love most about your job? Without question, the people! We truly are like a family here. I love coming to work and having the opportunity to bounce ideas off of my teammates, review strategies with people that have been here since the beginning of Zappos, or just grab a cup of coffee with my mentor and chat about how our day is going. If you weren’t a footwear buyer, what would you be doing? Hands down I would be an ice cream taste tester.

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O&A continued from page 17 there are entire retail concepts consisting strictly of made-in-the-U.S.A. product popping up in the mainland, too.

Footwear Plus is Turning 25!

Island Slipper is going against the grain in terms of sourcing, distribution, design, growth strategy, etc. Is it an anomaly? Well, I’m sure there are others. But I will say we are able to pick and choose how we want to do business, and that’s the way we like to do it. In the past, we’ve struggled dealing with large department stores where you work with a buyer and six months later you get an e-mail that he’s moved on to lingerie and the new footwear buyer is from men’s clothing. It says he’ll contact you, but he doesn’t. You try to follow up but you never hear from him. I don’t miss that inconsistency. The fact is that most of those types of retailers don’t take a strong interest in what your brand story is all about. They want their markdown money at the end of the season and that’s about it. They say they know our pricing but still ask, “What’s my price?” I just prefer to steer clear of all that. I’d rather gain distribution in upscale boutiques in New York. The bulk of your distribution is through independents, correct? Yes, with the exception of J. Crew. About six years ago we discovered that one of their buyers had been buying a ton of sandals off our site. So we called and asked if the interest was personal or business? He said it was business-related and that he really liked our product. He had discovered us while attending a men’s show in Italy, having come across our Japanese distributors who are very selective. He later shopped Japan and saw how Island Slipper is often featured in their leading fashion magazines and sold in trendy stores. He also said he liked the fact that we were made in Hawaii. I was upfront and said we’re not interested in being a contractor for J. Crew, but I would be willing to make exclusive product for them. Our first collaboration featured a slipper collection made out of denim that did very well. Another season, they shipped us recycled army tents and we made another successful collection. It’s been a fun and very creative process. It’s always something different and exclusive. Is it fair to say you may have one of the coolest footwear jobs? You answer to no one, you’re involved in all aspects of the business, it’s a family affair, you’re based in Hawaii... While the job is very demanding at times, if you are truly a footwear person—if it’s in your blood—and you really like to make stuff and be hands-on and control your own destiny, then you would love my job. For me, this is a perfect fit. Lastly, just to clarify, is the correct term slipper, flip-flop, sandal, thong or, as Hawaiians pronounce it, slippah? I’ll answer it by saying the store that we converted into our first Island Slipper location was named Thongs & Things. Before we transitioned the name to Island Slipper, we would get some of the most unusual phone calls from people asking about the different types of thongs that might be for sale. Only they weren’t referring to footwear. It got a little weird at times. So thongs is incorrect. Here, the term is slipper, and dropping the “r” is an affectionate reference. And calling them flip-flops in Hawaii is just wrong. Flip-flops is an F word? Well, I wouldn’t go that far. But why would you ever want to wear something that a politician does? •

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Celebrate with us as we look back on a quarter century of: • Standout Styles • Industry Stars • Notable Trends ...the milestones and memories we’ve all shared. Anniversary Issue:

April/May 2015 Special advertising opportunities available.

contact: Caroline Diaco, Publisher (917) 450-7584

8/25/14 11:09 AM

Foot in Mouth?

TALK OF THE TOWN Nine West has triggered a firestorm with its tongue-in-cheek ad campaign that many say crosses the line of decency. By Lyndsay McGregor

Nine West’s latest ad campaign goes a suggestive step further, and many women have taken to social media to accuse the company of spreading “outdated” stereotypes.

OFFENSIVE. OUTDATED. RIDICULOUS. Those are just a few of the adjectives used by insulted consumers on Twitter and Facebook in response to Nine West’s latest fall ad campaign, launched Aug. 1, in the company’s 600 stores, online and in the September issues of leading glossies like Glamour and InStyle. It’s not the shoes featured that have sent consumers into a tizzy. (In fact, many say the latest collection from Nine West has never looked better.) Rather, it’s the “occasions” for which the ads suggest the featured styles are best suited. Instead of benign recommendations for weekend, work or evening wear, Nine West takes it a step further by suggesting which styles to wear home following a one-night stand (“Anticipatory Walk of Shame”), a drunken brunch (“Drunch”) and for finding a mate (“Starter Husband Hunting”). There’s truth to the old marketing adage that any publicity is good publicity, and Nine West’s campaign, the first for the brand by Minneapolis advertising firm Peterson Milla Hooks, is generating its fair share in both the traditional and social media spheres. But much of what is being said isn’t very positive. Many women have taken to Twitter to accuse the company of spreading “outdated” stereotypes, and and labeled the campaign “bizarre” and “sexist.” Nine West declined to comment for this article, but Erika Szychowski, the brand’s senior vice president of marketing, spoke to The New York Times ahead of the campaign’s launch: “I’m comfortable that it will make noise and it will get attention, and my gut tells me that it’s not offensive.” She also insisted the campaign’s brassier tone should be taken lightly. Fair enough. All advertising is left to the interpretation of the viewer. It’s just that it appears a lot of women, including many in the campaign’s targeted audience of 25 to 49 year olds, aren’t taking advertisements that depict women as one-night-stands, husband hunters and bad mothers all that lightly. With regards to the latter, the “First Day of Kindergarten” ad, while not racy, portrays a woman wearing black peep toe booties surrounded by the used tissues that mopped up her tears of joy because, according to the

copy, “Mommy now has the weeks off.” Dark humor, for sure. And, one might add, not your mother’s Nine West brand anymore, which many media experts say was the goal all along. Matthew Hudson, president at Rick Segel & Associates, a Kissimmee, FL-based retail consulting firm, says that Nine West knew exactly what it was doing. “Do I think it was intended to be controversial? Absolutely!” he exclaims. “Nine West wanted to get a rise out of the consumer base, and it has. All of this churn and conversation and publicity it’s getting because everybody is talking about the campaign is good for the company.” Jen Drexler, women’s marketing expert, senior vice president at Insight Strategy Group and coauthor of What She’s Not Telling You, agrees. “Nine West is trying to achieve disruption, and it’s been successful because it’s never had this many people talking about its brand,” she says, but adds that creatively the campaign is a miss. “It’s turned off the audience it most wanted to reach.” To a generation that grew up to the tune of such female empowerment anthems as Destiny’s Child’s “Independent Women” and No Doubt’s “Just A Girl,” the campaign can seem belittling. “The language feels like what men say about women, not what women say about women,” Drexler says. Nicole Larrauri, managing partner at Melville, NY, marketing agency EGC Group, believes the campaign is “off-brand.” “It doesn’t reflect who Nine West’s customer is and what its products are,” she says. “The ads are trying too hard and patronizing what Nine West believes is an edgy young female. They’re trying to fit into a conversation that’s not actually happening.” She cites Under Armour’s recent campaign starring American Ballet Theater soloist Misty Copeland, which speaks to the necessity of overcoming the naysayers, as more effective. “Nine West should be talking about the empowerment of your first job, a whole different tone that celebrates professional women versus celebrating what they call husband hunting,” she offers. But, as Hudson suggests, if Nine West had chosen more PC scenarios, few would have probably noticed. “The marketing team picked two very controversial topics, and now they’ve got everyone’s attention. We’ll soon see more occasions that will soften the effect of the first two,” Hudson predicts. In the meantime, the jury is still out as to whether this campaign will deliver on its bottom line: increased sales of Nine West shoes. Drexler is of the belief that the campaign is not on a level that will make or break the brand, while Larrauri feels, at the very least, the initial goal of the campaign has been achieved. “Nine West had certainly fallen off the radar prior so this campaign has definitely got a buzz going,” she says. As to whether it’s an overall good or bad buzz for Nine West remains up for what looks to be an ongoing feisty debate, which circles back to the old saw: There’s no such thing as bad publicity.



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Fashion Inspires Us Value Drives Us

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